Wednesday, June 13, 2018

It’s About To Get Real Up In Here!

By the time you read this we will be less than one week away from Vacation Bible School: Game ON! Our VBS leadership team has done an outstanding job in recruiting leaders and workers. I believe they are ready for a great year of Bible Study, Worship and Fun. Please keep this year’s VBS in your prayers. Pray for precious souls to come to know Jesus Christ; for disciples to be grown even more; for workers to stay energized; and for safety for all involved. Game On!

Today, 21 Youth and 6 Adults went to summer camp. I am blessed with mixed emotions. First, my Grandson, Noah is going to youth camp. I am excited about that. Second, my grandson, Noah is going to camp. I can’t believe Janie is old enough to have a grandchild going to camp. Mixed emotions. In all seriousness, I want to thank our JIBC family for so generously supporting sending children and youth to camp. It really does make a difference. Join me in praying for their safety as they travel to Ridgecrest, North Carolina and back. Praying for a mighty movement of God among them all.

Monday, July 16 is the projected start date for the Fellowship Hall renovations. If we do everything that is planned you are going to be amazed. Make sure you go by to see it one more time before July 16. Once the plans are finalized and approved, we will start letting the proverbial cat out of the bag concerning the renovation plans. For those who are new to the church family, we recently completed a church wide discipleship ministry called “Daring Faith: Renovating Hears and Buildings”. It was a wonderful success. If you would like to participate, it is not too late. We have asked our church family to pray about three ways to give. First, would you consider making a sacrificial one time gift. As much as possible, we are trying to pay as we go so we do not have to borrow money. Second, some will give on a monthly basis, working it into your regular budget as God blessed. Third, some have committed to giving additional gifts that they don’t currently have. Now that is Daring Faith. Trusting that God will provide is the key no matter how you give or how much you give.

The next renovations on our list are the new entrance on the Plymouth Avenue side of the church and the installation of an elevator! Wow, has that ever been a long time coming. As stated above, then we will start the Fellowship Hall renovations on July 16. HEADS UP…that will be a very messy process. It will most likely impact Rose Haselden’s Class and Fred Roark’s class. When it is time to begin these projects, we will have times of prayer and dedication. Keep looking for information coming your way.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


Vacation Bible School is almost an institution for many southern communities. It has been a way of life and a part of life for many of us throughout the years. Our parents attended VBS, we attended, our kids attended and now our grandkids attend. Here are some interesting things about VBS you might enjoy reading.

Mrs. Walter Aylette Hawes gets credit for starting what we know call Vacation Bible School. In 1898 she rented a beer hall in the Eastside of New York to conduct an “Everyday Bible School”. Her goal was to get kids off the streets. Her pastor convinced her to move the school to the church campus. She tried but found out the kids were not coming so she went back to the beer hall!

In 1922 Southern Baptists more formally adopted this idea and it became known as Vacation Bible School. It began as a 4 week Bible School…oh my. In 1924 VBS had grown so much it moved from under the Sunday School Division and became its own division in the Southern Baptist Convention.

It is one of the most strategic outreach tools using age appropriate evangelism messages and methods. Each year in the Southern Baptist Convention, 25% of all baptisms come from decisions made during Vacation Bible School. Each year, there are over 2.7 million people enrolled in VBS and 10% of those enrolled in VBS are unchurched. This makes for a wonderful opportunity to share the Gospel. Every year almost 79,000 precious souls come to know Jesus as Savior by the mission and ministry of Vacation Bible School. My guess is Mrs. Hawes would love the development of what she started back in 1898 in that local beer hall.

This years VBS theme is GAME ON!. The motto is “Gear Up! Get Ready! Game On!” We will have 4 great Bible studies, great worship and lots of fun. VBS will start Monday evening, June 18 and will conclude with family night on Friday, June 22. If you have not been to a VBS in a while…check it out one night. We have all our classes and teams filled, but you can always come as a spectator…or a last minute volunteer. Pray for this years VBS. Pray that boys and girls will open their hearts and lives to the work of God’s Holy Spirit. Pray that they will be reached before they have to be rescued.

Game on!

Pastor Tom

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Church Health and Church Growth

I recently read an article about Church Health and Church Growth. The title of the article: Church Growth is okay, but Church Health is What Matters. By the way, this was written by a pastor who has both church growth and amazing church health.

Paul says in Ephesians 4:16 “As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow so that the whole body is healthy and growing.” (NLT) Notice it is Gods will for the Body to grow and to be healthy, not one or the other. Healthy bodies grow. You don’t have to force a healthy child to grow. Just put them in a stable environment and feed them properly and they will grow and grow. Churches, connection groups and individual Christians will grow spiritually if they are spiritually healthy. That is God’s will and plan.

At JIBC, we believe it is God’s will for every church, every Connection Group and every follower of Jesus to grow spiritually and to be spiritually healthy. How do we do that? We grow warmer through fellowship; we grow deeper through discipleship; we grown broader though ministry; we grow larger through outreach and evangelism and we grow stronger through worship. We strive to keep the five purposes of the church in balance: Fellowship, Discipleship, Service, Outreach and Worship. Which one is most important? They all are! The reality is that every Church and every Connection Group is driven by something: personalities, traditions, leaders, money, fear, etc. The goal is to be driven by the purposes of God as revealed over and over in His Holy Word. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40) give a clear picture of Gods desire for His people. I am praying that JIBC will forever seek to be balanced in what drives us. It is not Church Growth or Church Health…it is both!

See you Sunday, good Lord willing, as we resume our teaching series in 1 John: That They May Know.

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


This Monday, May 28 is Memorial Day. That means this weekend is Memorial Day Weekend. Memorial Day, a Federal Holiday held the last Monday of May, is a day to remember the men and women who died while serving in the armed forces. To some it is associated with the beginning of summer and Labor Day marks the end of summer. Let us hope that Memorial Day is much more than a day off. Since before the Civil War, people were observing some form of Memorial Day. In some parts of the country it is called Decoration Day. We still have friends who will go to the family cemetery to pay respects to their loved ones, particularly those who died while serving the country. They use the day to clean the grave site, to decorate with flags and flowers and to gather for family reunions. In this type of setting it is easy to see how traditions and gratitude are passed down from generation to generation. On Veterans Day we give a well deserved thank you to all who have served and are currently serving. On Memorial Day, we recognize those who gave all in service. Make sure you and your families take time to reflect and remember: Freedom is not free.

This Sunday we will have another type of “Memorial Day” recognition as we observe the Lord’s Supper. We do this, after all, in remembrance of Him. Every time we observe the Lords Supper, we are remembering that our spiritual freedom was not free. It cost the Father His only begotten Son. It cost Jesus his life and His life blood. It cost Mother Mary her son. It is indeed a day to remember. It is a very appropriate time to combine these two “Memorial” events. Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for another. Jesus not only said these words, He lived them. The Bread and the Wine are taken in remembrance of the Good News of What God has done for us in Christ Jesus.

This Sunday we will also recognize those who are graduating. If your favorite graduate is not present Sunday, please know that we still rejoice with you and your family. Well done. Our prayers are with you all as you enter the next stage of your spiritual journeys.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, May 9, 2018


I wanted to give our church family the wonderful update on the James Island Outreach. Very soon JIO will be moving from the current site at our sister church, Bethany United Methodist. The Outreach will be in the new location on 1872-C Camp Road at St James Church. Construction and preparation work is still ongoing but they are coming close to the end! The new location will make it possible to serve many more people is a more spacious environment. Our community gives thanks to Bethany United Methodist Church for the many years they housed this ministry. Well done. James Island Outreach has been given the designation of a “Wellness Pantry”. This is kind of a big deal. There are thousands of food pantries across the nation but only 23 have received this designation so far. The goal is not just to give them food but to give them choices in healthy food and healthy eating ideas. Another wonderful expansion for the ministry.

So, how can we help now? Four ways I would like to suggest. First, keep buying and bringing the jelly. Whenever you see it on sale, buy, buy, and buy. We have been designated as the jelly church. Of course you could bring any non-perishable food item. Any food that is donated saves money that can be used to meet other needs. Second, do you have any of the reusable, woven grocery tote bags you could donate? This is a bigger need now since the clients will be able to “go shopping” at the food bank and select food items. I just love this creative idea. If you want to hit a homerun, bring your jelly donations in a reusable bag! Third, consider volunteering with your Connection Group. Susan Warren will be delighted to help your Connection Group find a way to get involved with any of the ministries we support: James Island Outreach, Lowcountry Orphan Relief, Lowcountry Pregnancy, Florence Crittenton, etc. Whatever mission we are doing, we can do it better together. BTW, I think they still have some construction and cleanup needs for those with that particular skill set. Fourth, pray for JIO as they search for the new Director. This will be an important decision that can affect the future in a wonderfully positive way. Add them to your prayer list.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing. This Sunday’s teaching will be from 1 John 1:5-2:2. The Joy of knowing you are forgiven. Our memory verse is 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Pastor Tom

Thursday, April 26, 2018


I know it seems like yesterday that we announced Daring Faith: Renovating Believers and Renovating Buildings. Phase I was the roofing of the entire building. We had not replaced the shingles since 1990, after Hugo. Completed! Let me here you say amen. Phase II was the protection of the buildings, property and people. For most of us, the curve at Maybank and Wappoo just does not seem that difficult. If you add speed, night time and alcohol/drugs then it can be a horrific curve. We cannot do anything about the speed and D.U.I., but we could do something about the lighting and the protection. Each of the “boxes” has a concrete post planted into the ground designed to slow a vehicle down considerably before it gets very far on JIBC property. The lighting is necessary because almost 100% of the wrecks have been after midnight and before daybreak. The landscaping and signage were much needed. Our teams worked hard to make sure we had almost everything in place before Resurrection Sunday (Easter). We are grateful for their extra hard work. So, let’s celebrate that the first part of Phase II is completed…and paid for. Yes, we have put shingles on all the buildings and completed the extensive protection and landscaping project and have paid for it all. God is good and our church family and friends have been faithful and generous.

Now, the second part of Phase II is in the planning. We are applying for permits, ordering the elevator (doesn’t it sound cool to say that?) and working on the next timeline. At this point, here is the next order of events. First, we will have a ribbon cutting/prayer of dedication for the beginning of the new entrance. The new entrance will be on the Plymouth Avenue side of the building. That is also where the Elevator will be installed. We will most likely have the new entrance finished and in use before we start on the elevator. The elevators are made in China and apparently there is only one elevator inspector for the entire state of South Carolina. We will plan on ribbon cuttings when we start and dedication services when we finish. As soon as we know starting dates, we will warn you…I mean let you know…construction is about to begin.

I do not want us to miss the wonderful blessing of God. By His grace He has led our church family and friends to give generously above their tithes and offerings that we may be good stewards of His buildings. And because so many are giving on the front end of Daring Faith, we do not have to borrow money or pay interest. The blessing is doubled. To God be the glory.

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


For the past year and a half Frankie Gilmore has been serving as our Youth Ministry Intern/Student Campus Ministry Director. During this time Pastor Sean trained and mentored Frankie as an intern. Under Sean’s supervision, much of the youth ministry had been turned over to Frankie’s leadership. Frankie has also been serving as Pastor Marty’s assistant in the Worship ministry. Therefore, it was easy to fully recommend Frankie to take on the new position as full time Youth Pastor. It worked out as if it was the perfect timing of God: we already had in place a qualified servant ready to step in.

Let me tell you a little about Frankie. He is a graduate of Charleston Southern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Worship Leadership. He has a very strong background in bands and ensembles. Frankie’s peers recognize him as a leader, extremely organized, Gospel centered, artistic and creative. Since 2012 he has worked at Moe’s Southwest Grill in Summerville. The last three years he worked there as Shift Manager. Frankie is engaged to Jen Colburn. They make a most beautiful and wonderfully talented couple. You see Jen playing and singing in the praise band each Sunday. She also serves with Frankie and Marty in the Youth “Surge” ministry. Frankie and Jen have already been a blessing to our church family and the ministry here at JIBC. I look forward to working with Frankie and seeing how our Father will use him to equip JIBC to reach, redeem and restore a lost and broken generation.

Two caveats to my introduction. First, Frankie is not Sean. God already has a Sean. Frankie is Frankie: saved by grace, blessed by God, talented in more ways than we can count. Sean brought almost 25 years of experience to the table. Frankie is just beginning his full time journey. Frankie learned from one of the best, so he has a great start. Second, Frankie is primarily focused on Youth Ministry. While he may deal with those infamous “other duties as assigned”, his primary mission is to lead JIBC to join God’s work to reach, redeem and restore a lost and broken generation of youth. He is not the Connection Pastor or All Star Pastor. He is the Youth Pastor who will, as all of us do, help out when appropriate. Susan Warren will supervise Joanne Brown in Children’s Ministry and Marie Smith in Awana. It is our plan that Frankie will continue as our Full Time Youth Pastor even when, Lord willing, we fill Pastor Sean’s position as “Family Pastor/Associate Pastor”. The new position and title has yet to be determined. To God be the glory, great things He is doing!

Pastor Tom