Wednesday, September 20, 2017


This Sunday is the introduction to the Church Wide Daring Faith campaign. We are undertaking quite a bit over the next two months. First, we are continuing all the missions and ministries that reflect the values of James Island Baptist. That is a very full schedule of making our community a better place to live by being salt and light. Second, we are attempting to raise faith and funds, over the next three years, to complete some much needed and long overdue renovations. I compare this to my daughter getting ready to sell her house. In order to sell your house, to make the best impression and to attract potential buyers, you want to make your home looks as attractive and appealing as possible. So, you focus on your curb appeal; you repair your roof; you fix any soft spots in the floor; add some fresh paint. You do whatever you need to do to make the house seem like a home.

Church renovations are kind of like that. We must care about curb appeal. Landscaping and signage are not that big of a deal to us, but to the newcomer, first impressions are lasting impressions. The roof is repaired because we had serious leaks that could be seen in the ceiling tiles. Our main hallway bathrooms have not been updated in over 40 years. The need for an elevator is becoming greater as these baby boomers start aging out! You get the picture. If I want my house and home to look good, why would I not want the House of the Lord to also look good. Some of the renovations we are hoping to make may not be of direct concern to many of us who are already active committed members. It may make all the difference in the world to potential members. We want the first impression to be a positive one…from signage, to fresh looking parking lots; from safe floors to elevators to the top!

That is one of the things that sets healthy churches apart. Why do you do what you do? Who are you doing it for? We are growing to believe that the most important member of the church is not even a member yet. When we reach them and invite them and they honor us by coming…we want to put our best foot forward. May they see our good works…our discipleship, our generous giving and our stewardship of the building and grounds…and give glory to our Father in Heaven.

See you Sunday,

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

If I Had It To Do All Over Again

Most of the time in life we do not get a chance to do it over. I have found it to be a helpful exercise in personal growth to ask the question anyway: If I could have a do over, what would I do differently. In reference to Irma, I think it is particularly helpful to ask. While Irma will not be back, we are very likely to face one of her siblings. So what, if anything, would I do differently?

First, I think we were amazingly blessed by the company and crew that put the shingles on the roof. I know the question was out there about putting this on before a hurricane. Just remember, we had multiple leaks in multiple places. We have no way of knowing how much more damage could have been done with the torrential rains. As far as I can tell, the timing of replacing the shingles was just in time. The roofing crew completely finished the Worship Center and almost all the rest of the buildings before last Sunday morning. Wow. To God be the glory and to all who made that call…thanks.

Tuesday morning, Neale and I walked our entire building and every room and only found leaks in two places. One was through a window and one is related to the metal roof in the atrium. When rain comes sideways and from the ground it will find a way inside. The Transition House also made it with no leaks or roof damage. Now, we do have a lot of limbs and debris to be cleaned up. Again, to God be the glory.

Second, the storm reminded us of the need for a Connection Group/Church Family contact plan. We will work on a more reliable way to keep everyone quickly informed and a way to find out everyone’s status. The best plan seems to be the Connection Groups. We will work on that sooner rather than later. Remember, a chain is only as good as its weakest link. Let’s stay connected.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing and the other creek don’t rise!

Pastor Tom

Thursday, September 7, 2017


I am always enamored by Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s love poem “How Do I Love Thee”. It is a good read anytime. When I think of the blessings of JIBC, I usually start with her opening line: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” So, let me share some of the reasons…not so much the ways…that I love JIBC.

First, as soon as the news about Harvey and Houston broke, we had church leaders and members asking what JIBC could do. We have some already committed to going. So, if you cannot go or cannot go just yet, what can we do? Pray. You can imagine the strain and pain of life after a hurricane. Many of us lived through Hugo and several lesser storms. So pray. Give. You can give through South Carolina Disaster Relief or you can give directly to churches on the ground just outside of the Houston area. Ron and Jill Cipriano live outside of Houston and have helped us get in contact with churches actively involved. As we know information, you will know it. Susan Warren is our contact person. By the way, we are waiting to see what Irma is doing. We might have urgent needs closer to home.

Second, I love that our JIBC family voted unanimously to move forward with Phase II of our renovations. I am glad to see the renovations but not near as glad about the way we arrive at the decisions. We had unanimous agreement among the staff, the Elders, The Finance Team, the Ministry Management Team and the Deacons. Then, with a wonderful family meeting attendance, we had unanimous support again. That is not unheard of but it is wonderful! It is one of the things I love!

I just did an interview with a student from one of our universities about community health. It was wonderful to just be able to talk almost non-stop about the way you bless our community and make it a better place to live. I love you…let me count the ways.

BTW, the roofing work has started today, Tuesday, September 5. Our belief is that it is going on in just the nick of time. Hammer on!

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Everyone is invited to join us this Sunday for a church-wide family meeting. Whether you are in a Connection Group or just interested, you are invited to join us. We will start with coffee and some lite breakfast snacks. Marty will lead us in a time of worship. Then at 10:00 we will present to the church family the projected scope and cost of the Phase II renovations. This renovation will involve some things that are absolutely necessary as well as needed projects we have been putting off. We will ask the church family to vote to approve the Phase II renovations.

We started off with a leak in the front outside porch of the worship center. We patched that believing the day would not be too far off when we needed to replace the entire roof of the sanctuary. That day is here. The last roof was put on after Hurricane Hugo. We were able to make that one last 27 years. Not bad! But now we have multiple leaks over the sanctuary, fellowship hall and several places around the rest of the building. By the way…did you know we had two chimneys on our buildings? I did not. They will be removed and will no longer be a source of leaks or potential leaks. Once we started looking at the roofing project, it made sense to start looking at all the repairs and renovations we have been putting off. So, all together, our leadership team put together around 10 projects that need attention. We do not have a time table on most of the projects. Some of them will depend on how the church family responds with special offerings.

Starting on Sunday, October 1, our Sunday Connection Groups will be studying a 6 week Bible focus on faith. This Bible study is called “Daring Faith” and is about taking bold risks, developing a daring faith and learning to trust God’s will. For 6 weeks we will study together the call of God for us to leave our comfort zones and to bravely move to where God is calling you.

I think this comes at just the right time in our church history. We are ready for the next step and by God’s grace are ready to exercise a “Daring Faith”. My daughter and son-in-law have put their home on the market to sell. That means they have repaired, replaced and renovated. They have de-cluttered and freshened up their house and their yard. Of course they do this to present their home in the best light possible. They want to make good first impressions. The house must be sound and secure. Now, what does that say about God’s House? We also want to make good first impressions; put our best foot forward; have the church campus safe and sound for all who would gather here. We can do this.

This Phase II renovation comes to you with the support and approval of our entire leadership team: Pastors, Staff, Elders, Finance Team, Ministry Management and Deacons. We had unanimous agreement on leading the church to exercise daring faith in taking on Phase II of the renovations.

Hope to see you this Sunday at 9:45,

Pastor Tom

Friday, August 25, 2017

Church Family Meeting

In two weeks we are inviting the church family to join us in the Fellowship Hall at 9:45-10:45 for a called church family meeting. It hardly seems like it was two years ago when we completed the total renovation of the Worship Center/Sanctuary. It was fabulous and the Lord provided all we needed to make it happen. To God be the glory.

Now it is time to address a list of needs for the rest of our church campus. About 6 months ago we developed some leaks in the porch over the front doors of the Worship Center. We patched them knowing sooner or later we were going to have to replace all the shingles on all of the buildings. We have developed dozens of leaks in the main roof over the Worship Center. We have, thank you Jesus, gotten all the wear and tear we could expect out of our current roof. It was replaced after Hugo in 1989.

Once we started looking at the roofing needs, we put together a list of renovations, repairs and replacements needed around our church buildings. Things that we have patched and repaired but now need to be replaced. So, on Sunday, September 3 we will present to our church family the scope and projected cost of this phase of our renovations. We will have for you a printed brochure highlighting the scope and projected cost. Then we will ask the church family to vote together on proceeding with these necessary and exciting renovations.

This project comes to our church family with the unanimous recommendations from the following group: Church Pastors, Staff, Elders, Finance Team, Ministry Management Team and Deacons. Some of these renovations and repairs are absolutely necessary. Replacing the church roof is an item that cannot wait. That will need to begin right away. Other items are much needed and have been a long time coming. Just like our homes, every now and again, we have to invest in the investment. I really believe you will be pleased to hear the particulars of these renovations. I hope you will see them as an extension of our vision, values and mission. I trust they will have your full commitment and support.

To God be the glory,

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

JOY...For the Rest of Your Life

Current Sermon Series on the Book of Philippians

Pastor Tom’s sermons are available on our website at

Key verses to memorize 

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” 
Philippians 1:6

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” 
Philippians 1:21

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 
 Philippians 2:5-11

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” 
Philippians 4:4

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” 
Philippians 4:13

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” 
Philippians 4:19

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


James Island Baptist is hosting a NAMI presentation. The by-line asks “Did you know that 1 in 4 people are affected by severe mental illness?” As a matter of fact, I did not know that. That is the point for hosting this presentation. There is a lot about mental health issues that I do not know…and I have read quite a bit.

So what is the goal of this meeting. First, they will address the stigma associated with having a mental illness. They presenters will share personal stories of living with and overcoming the challenges posed by mental illness. By broadening peoples knowledge of mental illness, we replace misunderstanding, fear and judgment with insight, awareness and acceptance.

Imagine if we as followers of Christ can help reduce the stigma associated with being mentally ill. Imagine if JIBC continued to be a safe place for people who struggle with a variety of hurts habits and hang-ups. What a help to know there is a place where you can find support and acceptance. I believe JIBC is such a place. We are just adding a mental health initiative to our ministries.

In Our Own Voice is a 60 minute presentation geared to community audiences. It will help us better understand 58 Million Americans contending with mental illness. It will help us understand ourselves, our families, our friends and neighbors.

Join us Wednesday night, August 23, at 6 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.

See you there, good Lord willing.

Pastor Tom