Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Word from Pastor Sean

Special Guest Post from Pastor Sean, Pastor of Family Ministries at JIBC

A year ago I stepped into our Children’s worship service we call All Stars. It was fun, but lacked vision. It had energy, but lacked control. I spent the first few months tweaking the program. I had a vision for a children’s worship service that was truly a worship experience. All Stars would be a place where children were engaged with God’s word and worship. I am so pleased to say after a year that vision is accomplished. I sat in on the All Stars program last week and instead of video games and dodge ball, the students got a team building game, a great lesson on friendship and the children led in worship. Let me say that again…some of our kids are leading in worship. I have to admit I was a little overcome to see what God has put together. We have a great team. Martha Miller, Candy Oliver, Erin Wilkins, Marie Smith and Katyrina Russell. Each week they pour into these young children and watch them develop into the future of the church. I am writing this as I get ready to take 20 children to camp. This camp will immerse them in the gospel of Christ. They will come back changed and challenged. Awana begins in just a few weeks. Marie Smith and her Awana army lead this program for K4 - 5th grade that encourages children to memorize and apply scripture in their lives. We at JIBC believe in Reaching young people before we have to Rescue them. I am proud of our Children’s Ministry team and I ask that you join me in this great endeavor. How? 1) Pray…pray for our children and pray for our leaders. 2) Join…be an Awana volunteer, get on an All Stars rotation or volunteer for Celebration Station the children ministry of Celebrate Recovery that meets on Sunday nights. God is up to great things…let’s join him!

In His Grip


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What's Happening at JIBC

A Million Thanks

I tried to say it all Sunday, but let me repeat myself. Thank you to everyone who made the 67th Anniversary Celebration a wonderful day. I start with the Kitchen Krew and all their volunteers. They took the storming weather problems and handled it like professionals. At the last minute, moving the event from outside to the inside and doing it seamlessly. You guys did an amazing job. The staff made the right call and worked in high gear to “get ‘er done” before anyone showed up for Sunday Connection Groups. Marty and the Worship team led an excellent worship service. Remember, he had quite a change in the worship lineup when the Chinese Fellowship could not join us. (They had a tragedy in their church family and did not feel it was appropriate to celebrate in their time of loss. Our prayers continue to be with them all.) The fellowship hall was packed for our inside picnic with very few spaces to spare. Great job everyone…glory to God.

The property purchase did not work out

There is an old saying: “The devil is in the details”. We have tried to say that the purchase of the adjacent property was not a “done deal”. We needed the church’s approval, as we have on all projects that would put the church in debt, to be able to proceed. For those who did not understand how JIBC works, it may have seemed like it was just a formality to have the church vote to proceed. Really, there would be no reason to move forward without the agreement of the church family. And originally, we were working with just over a three week deadline.

As it stands, as of today, Monday, July14, the deal is off and at this time we are no longer pursuing the purchase of the property. We hit a snag in the process that gave us cause to pause. Marvin and Julie Sineath were very gracious in even giving us the opportunity to purchase the property. The timing of the sale and working out the details made it difficult for both sides to reach an agreement. The decision was agreeable by both parties. Our thanks to Marvin and Julie for thinking about us.

When teaching about prayer we say God always answers prayer: sometimes He says “yes”; sometimes He says “no”; and sometimes He says “not now”. We have faith and confidence in those who are leading us and claim Romans 8:28 as a guiding principle. Job 1:21 says “He gives and takes away, blessed be the Name of the LORD.” Our prayer is that this is the absolute best decision for the Sineaths as well as for JIBC. Perhaps this is the Lord saying “Not now”.

Children’s Camp Next Week

I don’t know how many years I have been going to Children’s Camps. It is measured by decades, not years. On Monday, July 21, I will log in another wonderful week with 20 of our church kids. We have 20 kids and 5 chaperones going. This year’s camp is at Anderson University. I will drive the bus and be able to spend some quality time with our kids. They get to see me in another role besides the one in “big church”. Join us in prayer for decisions that will be made and discipleship that will be deepened. Ok, and pray that we will have lots of fun and the old guy won’t get hurt.

See you Sunday, Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Thursday, July 10, 2014


This past Sunday I started a series of messages entitled “Soul Training: The Good and Beautiful Life”. The messages will come from the Gospel of Matthew, particularly the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. James Bryan Smith has written a strong series of books: The Good and Beautiful God; The Good and Beautiful Life: and The Good and Beautiful Community. As I read these books a few years ago, I took note and made plans to teach a series of lessons from them. Jesus invites his followers to “re-think” their current view of life. Jesus was and is the ultimate example of how to live a life free of lust, anger, worry, greed. He found a way to live in the Kingdom of God every moment of every day. The rest of this summer we will examine the teachings of Jesus. I hope we will accept his invitation to follow him and to experience the Good and Beautiful Life.
We have celebrated 67 years on this corner as James Island Baptist, the Church at Riverland Terrace. What a joy to be a part of the family. This week we have a celebration planned. We are celebrating the Lord’s Supper…remembering what He did for us on Calvary. We celebrate baptism remembering what He is still doing in us…changing lives. We will worship Him in gladness…because He is worthy. We will remember the past and give thanks for those who worked with Him to pave the way for us. We will eat and laugh because the joy of the Lord is upon us. We will welcome again our Chinese brothers and sisters and rejoice at the goodness of God to bless them so greatly. We will break bread with the Hispanic church, Luz Y Verdad, thanking God for Pastor Claudio and his wife Claudia and their wonderful team. What a day of joy and celebration. Now…if only the rain will hold off until 3!

By the way, no 8:30 service this Sunday. Sunday Morning Connection Groups as usual, combined service at 11, and, then celebration of a good old fashion cookout afterwards. Please, dress casual and comfortable. We will have music, melons and mountains of food!

UPDATE ON THE PROPERTYThe process was delayed just a little. Details are still being worked out. As of Monday morning, we still do not consider this a “done deal”. What we can say is the deal is still being worked out. The deadline of closing by July 1 was moved to July 11 and now moved to next week sometime.

We were moving quickly because of a closing date of July 1. So we rushed the process while still trying to give you all the information we could. As we said from the get go…if we can answer any questions for you concerning the process or the property, please feel free to ask. Until then, we pray for His wisdom and have no worries. His will be done.

See you Sunday in celebration mode!

Pastor Tom

Rejoice about this: if all goes well, this summer we will have JIBC family serving internationally in China, Romania, Ukraine and Burma.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Unanimous Support

This past Sunday we voted on the recommendation from our staff, our finance team and leadership team that we pursue purchasing the property across the street. The vote in both services was unanimous. This is not a “done deal” but we are on the way. We will very shortly be meeting with attorneys working out the details.

I am very pleased and believe this will be a smart move for future mission and ministry. I really love how our church family has grown over the years. There was a time when the first question that would be asked is “Can we afford this?” Now, the first question that was consistently asked was “What will we do with it?” In other words, how does it fit into our purpose and mission? I have been very open to say that at this point I do not know. I believe the plan will include some sort of multi-purpose activity building. Based on how God has blessed such actions in the past, I suspect and believe we will have a mission or two that meets there. It might surprise you to know there is really no church on the island with any type of significant youth mission and outreach going on. Many churches are offering something, but no church has yet found the “key” to reach the youth in the area. I believe this will be part of the answer…but I do not know.

Our Father has helped our church family to become more and more outward focused. Look for the greatest needs in the community and then see what resources He has given us. Think about the things God has already done here at JIBC: grew the largest Chinese church in Charleston; has the most active Hispanic church (not the largest, but surely one of the most active); we consistently have over 100 at Celebrate Recovery (the average Baptist church in S.C. has under 100); the only Transition House for women and infants in Charleston; outreach ministries to Florence Crittenton Home for unwed girls from 10 years of age to 24; just began an outreach to Lowcountry Orphan Relief; active partners with James Island Outreach; Youth Ministry Rock the Block to area neighborhoods; support Low Country Pregnancy Center; taking on illiteracy through “Reading Buddies” at Murray LaSaine Elementary; plans to start a Mother’s Morning Out in September; etc.

Look at that list. That does not mention the dozens of “in house” ministries to our own church family. On Wednesday nights we feed people who are homeless, under-employed, large families who are stretched…at no cost. We have volunteers who take Wednesday meals to the homebound and sick. We have a growing “Connections Ministry” led by Susan Warren helping to connect people to God, each other and the community. That is not to mention the things we do not know…members who just quietly, routinely act as salt and light in volunteer positions on their own. I love JIBC and I love what I see God doing in our church family. To God be the glory.

NEW TEACHING SERIES: I begin this Sunday teaching a series based on The Sermon on the Mount called “The Good and Beautiful Life”. I read a series of books by James Bryan Smith that will greatly influence this series. I am praying our Father will use it for our soul training!

Happy July 4th,

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


This Sunday JIBC will vote at the 8:30 and the 11:00 service concerning the purchase of the “Psaras/Attic Treasures” building and property. Please feel free to call the office and speak to any of our staff members if you have questions (762-0244). You may also call Ronnie Cooper, Dean Kelly or Bob Chambless. We will be glad to provide as much information as we can.

Summary: The property is currently owned by Marvin and Julie Sineath. They live in Riverland Terrace and have owned the property for decades. Once they decided to sell, I believe it pleased them to know the property will remain associated with Riverland Terrace and in particular, James Island Baptist. The terms we have agreed upon are as follow: $350,000, with $20,000 down, owner financed at 6% for 15 years. We are currently developing a short term, 3 year plan for the property that will allow us time to develop the long term plan. The building is an old building and will require quite a bit of work to get it prepared for the first part of the plan. Our goal is to close by July 1 or as close to that date as we can.

This decision started when Mr. Sineath informed us of the buildings availability. He had talked for years of his desire for the church to have this property. We, of course, were very interested. We are land locked with little to no viable options to build or increase parking. A former plan developed years ago, required taking 1/3 of our parking area for any additional building. That really was not a desirable option. Parking space is a premium. Once we knew it was a possibility, we talked to a few leaders and then sent the idea to our finance team. The finance team then set a meeting. At the meeting was the staff pastors, Ronnie Cooper, Dean Kelly, Bob Chambless (Mr. Sineath knew Bob and requested he attend). There were several meetings after that with this team. We were united in our desire to purchase the property. We then called a meeting of all church leadership. That group unanimously voted to recommend that we purchase the property. Now, this Sunday, we bring this to the church family for a vote. Sunday, will be just a straight forward yes or no vote, similar to what we do for our church missions and ministry budget. All of us are available for any questions and will be glad to try and provide as much information as you might need.

I see this property becoming a multi-purpose use building. I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet, but I believe it will one day host the largest youth events on the island and will be the site of yet another new church started by JIBC. To God be the glory.

By the way, a special thanks to Sean for preaching this great series on Conversations with Jesus. It has been helpful to me personally to hear the Word. It has also been very helpful by allowing me a break in my schedule so I can plan the next series of messages I will preach. I am pleased to have such a competent and dedicated staff.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


On Saturday, May 31, Attic Treasures, the business across the street on the Wappoo side, closed their business. It is the “Psaras” building that was an antique/consignment store. The owners, Marvin and Julie Sineath have always said they would give JIBC the first right of refusal on the property. Our first meeting with Mr. Sineath was sometime around the middle of May. He was checking on our interest and still deciding if he wanted to sell or lease the building. We were and are absolutely interested in buying the property. 

As you know, JIBC is land locked on this small triangle. We are limited in parking and building space. You may remember that we purchased the Transition House years ago with the idea of making it into additional parking space. Since then, we have used it to house Sr. Adults, VBS classes, a family in need, and now, the Transition House. It was a wise purchase with no down side. That is how we feel about this property.

Here are the three things I think you will be most interested in. First, the terms of the agreement requested by Mr. Sineath are $350,000, with $20,000 down, owner financed at 6% for 15 years. We only received the final decision from Mr. Sineath last week. He and Mrs. Sineath have owned this property for decades and he was not sure if he wanted to sell or not. The final decision to sell, I think, was based on his declining health and his desire to see the future of the building in local hands, particularly JIBC. By the way, this is very close to the price we paid for the Transition House.

Second, once Mr. Sineath made the decision to sell, he wanted the transaction done quickly. He is still paying taxes and insurance on an unoccupied building. It is his desire to close on July 1. I tried to schedule closing closer to the church anniversary on July 13…just as a historic and symbolic gesture. He thought that was nice, but needs to close on July 1. That gives us less than a month to decide and act. Not our preference, but our reality.

We will meet with all church leadership on Wednesday, June 18 and present our recommendation to the church on Sunday, June 29 at both services. We would prefer to have a little more notice. That was not an option since there were others buyers waiting. We really do not want much time to go by if you know what I mean. I wish we could keep this completely silent in the community until after the fact.

Third, we will start to build a short term plan (the next two or three years) for the building that will include bringing it up to code. This will give us time to build a long term ministry and mission plan. I can imagine a gathering place for the Youth called The Warehouse, a space for another church family… like the Chinese church, a multi-purpose use facility that could house all our church wide dinners with room for everyone, an indoor place large enough for the Awana ministry, etc, etc, etc. I love to dream. It is not difficult to see how this space could be used.

As Dean Kelly says: “this may be a step of faith or a leap of faith”. Either way, we do believe it is the Lord’s blessings.

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Keep Them In Your Prayers

This next week we will have a group of ladies going to Baltimore, Maryland for the Southern Baptist Convention and to prayer walk and visit with Brent Gordon and company. They will be taking with them the prayers and love of our church family as well as financial gifts from the church and some individuals. For those who are new to our church family, Brent Gordon was on staff with us for four years. He and a team from JIBC felt called to go to Baltimore to start a new church. He is working with large church in Baltimore called Gallery Church. He is supported through Gallery Church, the Baltimore Baptist Association and the North American Mission Board. He already has a church campus and a church parsonage as a part of Gallery Church. To God be the glory. What a blessing to start with so much support, a place to live and a team that was ready to go.

Second, let’s give God glory and thanks for Marty’s first week with us. To use a baseball term, the praise team hit it out of the park. One of our senior adults said to me: “Now that is how worship should be, I hope he keeps it like that. I like me some Marty!” I agree. What a heart for worship. He bought 3 of his friends with him for the first week. The bass guitar player was here for only last Sunday. He will start his internship at Faith Assembly. Robert and Cameron plan to join us again this coming week. Although Marty will be part time, he will be keeping regular office hours during the week.

Third, let’s keep our friend, Fred Hudson, in our prayers as well. We are doing for Fred, something similar that we did for Brent Gordon. We paid and supported Brent even though Sean was already here and on staff. That let Sean get to work immediately and gave Brent income as he began his new work. We are doing a very similar thing for Fred. He is still “on staff” and available to our church even though he is not present, playing or leading, during worship. This gives Marty and our praise team the opportunity to carry on even while Fred is involved in other adventures. Fred is still being paid and is still considered on staff and available to us while he is being paid. He still gives lessons here and is available to us just as Brent was available even though Sean was here.

Looking forward to seeing you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom