By Kenneth Jenkins
On November 13, 2016, I was installed as the tenth pastor of First Missionary Baptist Church (FMBC), Parkton, North Carolina. The former pastor retired in October 2015 after 34 years of pastoral ministry.
My parishioners live in a rural farming community and are mostly seniors. One of my first steps was to share my vision (Live for Christ – Witness for Christ – Outreach for Christ) with church leadership. Also, I began with a sermon series on that vision. I am excited to say the membership of FMBC has caught hold of the vision. In January, we started having the youth lead the worship service monthly, to include Scripture reading, welcoming visitors and praying. Since November, we have had six community outreach programs to include volunteer service at the Salvation Army and Second Harvest Food Bank. For Mother’s Day, the membership donated 176 pounds of clothing and hygiene products for mothers living in shelters with young children and to Head Start. Some of the mothers are in shelters due to domestic violence issues and losing their homes due to Hurricane Matthew. Our most recent community outreach was Robeson County’s first-ever Blessing of the Badges ceremony, which gave acknowledgement and thanks to the Lord for the service and commitment of first responders. The ceremony also included area pastors from various Christian denominations. One of the highlights of the ceremony was the pastors joining together in prayer for the first responders. As another means of outreach, we now have a website and post our weekly worship services on YouTube. Our nearly dormant missionary ministry has new life.
I solicit prayers that I continue to faithfully shepherd God’s people, that the church’s youth ministry strengthens and more parishioners see the importance and become involved in the church’s prayer ministry, Bible study and Sunday school. Also, pray that the area churches see the need and become active in outreach to the community and helping the poor.
My advice to future students: Have a mentor you trust that will pray, guide and encourage you on your journey through SEBTS. Read Paul David Tripp’s “Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry.” This is a powerful book that I believe should be a must-read for all pastors and ministers. Understand and be responsible for your calling. Lead with love and serve with integrity.