Friday, August 21, 2015


Progress is full steam ahead. If you attended Sunday, you saw that work in the Atrium and the main hallways started. They did all the prep work of sanding and caulking and will paint this week. Sunday, when you arrive, that should be a done deal! Whoohoo…I mean hallelujah! We have also started packing the offices up for renovation. We will be getting fresh paint, new carpet and some new furniture. So for a week or two, we will be out of our office environment. The major work in the Worship Center this week includes: completing the sheetrock and sanding of the ceiling; redoing and finishing the balcony walls; frame up the restrooms in the front of the worship center. We are enlarging the two restroom areas in the front of the church. This will provide more spacious rooms compared to the former small rooms. The balcony wall will increase in height while increasing the site line for those who sit in the balcony. This was a much needed correction. Our plans are still to have the Big Reveal on Sunday, September 13. On that Sunday we plan for one worship service and will celebrate with baptism and the Lord’s Supper. What a day that will be!


Believing we will be finished with the renovations, we plan to start Wednesday night discipleship options on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9. There will be 4 options for adults: serve with our Kitchen Krew; Praying Like Jesus led by Jeff Koch; First Place 4 Health led by Janie Brown; Recovery Bible Study based on the 12 Steps led by Pastor Tom. We will also provide preschool care, as well as Preschool/Children Awana ministry and Surge: Youth Worship. It is a great fall lineup. Our goal is to help you grow deeper in God’s Word.


It is wonderful that we already have financial gifts given to purchase 276 chairs. The “competition” between Connection Groups was designed to help everyone participate whether they gave a little, a lot or none at all. There really is a triple blessing potential here. First, everyone, every family, every connection group can participate in purchasing chairs that will be used in worship for years to come. It is not about the amount, it is about participation…being a part of a beautiful celebration. Second, we have an offer of matching funds. If we raise the funds for 200, 300 or for all 430 chairs, an equal amount has been pledged to the overall renovation project. We receive blessing on top of blessing. Third, whatever amount we give toward the purchase of chairs is the amount we can keep in savings for a rainy day…and those days surely come. We have over the past 2 years, replaced multiple roofs, and entire boiler system and cooling tower and have paid over $7,000 for plumbing issues. Old buildings require ongoing repairs. We are blessed to be able to pay for this project…however the Lord sees fit to provide. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


We have successfully had our first week of worship in the Fellowship Hall. Interestingly enough, several who were present remembered when JIBC first had our worship services in the Fellowship Hall. The 8:30 service had around 85 in attendance. Wow! Great job. Thanks to all who made the shift to the early service. We could still use around 25 more to attend at 8:30. The 11:00 service had around 140 or so in attendance. That was full but not packed like sardines. We will add more chairs for this coming week and have a few more attending the 8:30 service. It’s all good. Our thanks to all who are going the extra mile to make this change possible. If I could make a request for some of our home folks it would be this: if you are able, please sit toward the front and toward the middle. We have quite a few guests who come in right at 11:00 or just after. While we are standing and singing, it is difficult to see available seats. Not everyone can sit forward and to the middle…we understand. No problem. We want you to sit where you are comfortable. If you can, it will be a big help.


We are now well under way in the sanctuary renovation. This past week saw quite a bit of activity. First, the painting prep work of sanding and caulking is going full steam ahead. We are replacing the “popcorn” ceiling with sheetrock. As I am typing this, they are finishing that part of the project. They will begin taping, mudding and sanding this week. We are working to enlarge the two restrooms in the front of the church. That will be a much welcomed change from the formerly very small restrooms. Work has begun on the booth for our audio/visual team as well as new risers for the balcony to improve the sight line. So, right now it looks like what it is…a construction zone. All the construction and visual type people who have eyes to see what is not are positively moved by what they can “see”. Right now, I just remember this is what it looked like last time…and it turned out beautiful then too!


On a $200,000 renovation project, we have around $150,000 already in hand for this project. We are so blessed by God to have the rest in savings and can pay for this project without going in debt. Several of our leaders felt like the church members and friends would like to give toward the project. The idea was to be a part of the project, to have heart and hand, in the renovation. It was a very doable idea to ask the church to give toward the purchase of the chairs. Here is the reality: whatever monies we do not use from our savings can then be used for other needs. So, if we give $20,000 toward the purchase of chairs, we actually keep that amount in savings to use for air conditioning repairs, emergency repairs, unseen opportunities, etc. Really…the goal was to give everyone an opportunity to participate. The idea got a little better when it was suggested that every Connection Group be challenged to have 100% participation. Simple: having every member of every Connection Group give toward the purchase of chairs. The focus was not on the amount given. It could be $5, $50, $500 or $5,000. Participation, not amount, was the goal. A good idea got even better when an offer was made to give matching funds. So, if the entire amount was given for chairs, that amount would be match ed andgiven toward the project. Don’t over think this or make it complicated. Rejoice, God is good all the time and all the time, God is good.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


This past Sunday we began the renovation of the worship center.
Volunteers from our church family and friends joined volunteers from the church family in St. Stephens. We moved out all of the church pews and they were loaded onto the trucks…just seconds before the rains came down. Perfect timing of the Lord. The joy of the men that helped us move them was tremendous. A terrible storm had destroyed their church and the donation of pews will go a long way in helping them to rebuild. They were scheduled to get the lights on Tuesday, August 4. The pews were a donation from JIBC. Their church made a $3,000 donation for the lights. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Sorry, but that was fantastic compared to the price we were quoted for used church lights. Now, keep your ears open. We are trying to set a date when our two church families could join together in St. Stephens for a praise service. Oh, what a joy that will be! 

Today, we have the painters who are sanding and caulking. They are doing all the prep work to prepare for the last stage…painting. It is a busy bee hive in there. Lights have come down, the old stained and wrinkled carpet is up and wonderful progress is being made. Please pray for all of the workers that they will be safe and blessed in their work here at JIBC.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BUY A CHAIR? Here is the fabulous news about the chairs. Each chair cost around $50, not including shipping, handling, taxes, etc. We need about 420 chairs. We have had an offer of matching funds for the chairs. If the JIBC family gives the funds to buy 200 chairs, the donor will match that amount. If we raise funds for all 420 chairs, the donor will still match that amount in a gift to the renovation! God is good all the time and all the time God is good. Let’s see if we can match the blessing of this gift. We are asking each Connection Group to have 100% participation in buying chairs. The friendly competition is not about which Connection Group has the largest amount given, but rather who has the greatest participation. What an opportunity.

By the way, can you guess what the number one question is about the chairs? It is not what color. The number one question is how big are they? So, let me put it this way. They are the largest that the church industry makes. The only thing larger would be love seats! They are back supporting, bottom comforting, interlocking with a place for hymnals and other items. We believe they are the best in the church chair industry. I can preach for hours before you will get uncomfortable…ok, that was a little over the top.

See you Sunday, good Lord willing,

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.” That is a famous line from the movie The Godfather. Today, I share with you a wonderfully redemptive way that line was used. As you may know, we have already begun some of the Worship Center/Sanctuary renovation. The balcony was closed last Sunday and will be closed this Sunday as well. We will worship in the Worship Center this Sunday, August 2nd. Starting Sunday, August 9th through September 6th, we will be meeting in the Fellowship Hall for worship.

Now, the offer we can’t refuse. Al Beever made a suggestion a few weeks ago that I really liked. He suggested that each Connection Group be challenged to have 100% participation in “purchasing” the new chairs for the Worship Center. The challenge would not be to see which group donates the most money. It would be a challenge to have 100% participation…everyone in the connection group participating. Each chair cost just over $50 each. We are purchasing 430 making the cost of the chairs around $21,000.00…not including shipping, etc.

So, here is the offer we cannot refuse. We have a matching fund offer. Whatever the entire JIBC family can give toward the purchase of chairs for the worship center, we have a family that will match that amount. If you purchase one chair, you are really purchasing two because of the generous matching fund. If the Connection Groups collectively purchase 200 then we are blessed to get 400 chairs with the matching funds. You see, it really is an offer we can’t refuse. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. By the way, we already have funds given for 42 chairs…hmm, make that 84!

Let’s make this a double blessing. Remember that we are donating our pews to an African American Church in St. Stephens. We are able to bless even as we are blessed. I am praying for even more ideas of how we can bless this sister church!


OK, not China. How about let’s go to Sauldam Baptist Church on Wednesday, August 5 and hear about China. Mary Braxton will be speaking at Sauldam Baptist about her summer trip to Chongqing, China. I am willing to drive the bus if we have enough people interested. And of course, we will go get something to eat before we go! The place of our eating is to be announced. But, I do have a wonderful idea up my old sleeve. We need at least 12 people to take the bus. Fewer than that makes it more practical to drive cars. Want to go, sign up and/or let me know. Missions and a meal! We would leave at 5 pm, eat and then arrive at Sauldam Baptist around 6:45 pm. We should be home around 8:30 pm.


Pastor Tom

Friday, July 24, 2015


During the Worship Center renovation we will be temporarily meeting in the Fellowship Hall for the 8:30 and 11:00 worship. For some of those who were around from JIBC’s early years, it will be a return to the beginning. The Fellowship Hall was the original Worship Center/Sanctuary until the current one was built. The Library/Conference Room was the original kitchen. The baptismal was in the corner of the Fellowship Hall right close to where the Coke machine is located. 

So here is the good news…this is only temporary. We are planning for the Worship Center to be closed for 5 Sunday’s, August 9 through September 6. The Big Reveal is planned for Sunday, September 13. The extra good news is that we need about 75 volunteers to temporarily attend the 8:30 worship service instead of the 11:00 service. We anticipate being able to seat around 150 comfortably in the Fellowship Hall. If we can have around 100 at the 8:30 service, I think we can do this for 5 weeks. During these 5 weeks there will be preschool childcare and All Star Worship for the children at BOTH the 8:30 and the 11:00 times.

For the next three Sundays we are asking EVERYONE to sign up for the 8:30 or the 11:00 service. This will give us a better idea of how to accommodate those attending both services. It is all very exciting and positive. Remember the old saying and repeat it often: “People don’t mind change, it is the transition that gets them!”


After a recent funeral service a visitor said he heard we were renovation our sanctuary. He thought what we had was so lovely, he thought we should not change it. I know what he means. Our team hit a homerun when they renovated back in 2001. They wonderfully upgrades, updated and changed the Worship Center into a bright, warm and welcoming place to gather. I assured our guest that we were only continuing the warm and welcoming efforts that created what we currently have. “If you love this, I think you will really love the new renovation” was my final encouragement to him. I laughed and told him even an old barn looks better with a fresh coat of paint. We are aiming for a worship space that is comfortable, clean, user friendly and fresh. We are not a traditional Baptist Church. This renovation will give us the same current look as the atrium everyone loves so much. It should be fresh, new, comfortable, facing the present and the future, not so much the past.


Shortly after you receive this Messenger, we should be returning from Children’s Camp. Pray for the children’s last days to be Spirit led and filled. Ask for traveling mercy as we return Friday. We look forward to see you Sunday, good Lord willing.

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Renovation Update


The beginning of the Worship Center Renovation is just around the corner. Any day now work may begin on patching the plaster walls, sanding and all the prep work that precedes the painting part of the renovation. Work will also begin on building a booth for the audio/visual team in the balcony. The major work will not begin until after Sunday, August 2nd.  


From August 9 until September 6 we will be meeting in the Fellowship Hall for worship. Some of our older members will remember when that WAS the original worship center! We anticipate being out of the sanctuary for 5 Sundays. It could be less, but we are planning for the BIG REVEAL to be Sunday, September 13. During this time, we will be asking if some of you would temporarily volunteer to attend the 8:30 worship service. That will allow a more manageable crowd at 11:00. It will work…really! It will help if we could have about 75 to 100 volunteer to be a part of the early worship for those 5 weeks. There will be coffee and Krispy Kremes!


There are several things that we are doing that were not on our original list of renovations. FIRST, we are finally adding a video security system. We have talked about this for years and have even had them priced out for us. The renovation and the incident at Mother Emmanuel created the perfect opportunity to make this happen. SECOND, we are looking at the possibility of enlarging the two restrooms in the front of the worship center under the stairways. Right now they are very small convenience restrooms. They certainly are not meant for senior adults or people with small children. If this renovation is possible, both restrooms will be handicap accessible. That was not part of the original renovation plan but is certainly needed. THIRD, the women’s restroom going into the Fellowship Hall is getting a makeover. We can’t create any additional space, so we are attempting to redo it completely. That will at least make the space more accessible to Senior Adults. We do, by the way, have a handicap restroom in the Fellowship Hall. What about the men’s restrooms? All we men need is a little bulletin board to post the sports page like they have in restaurants.

This is all very exciting. The Lord has provided the funds we need for this project. We are inviting individuals and classes to make donations to purchase the chairs. The suggestion has been made that each Connection Group be challenged to get 100% of their group to participate in buying chairs. The amount is not the challenge…it is the participation. That suggestion was just made Sunday so we do not have the details…yet. But I do like the idea. Let me know what you think a great winners prize would be.

See you this Sunday,

Pastor Tom

Tuesday, July 7, 2015



This Sunday we celebrate our 68th anniversary as James Island Baptist Church. We are looking forward to a wonderful day together. We will celebrate believer’s baptism, observe the Lord’s Supper together and then enjoy fun and food after the service. Dress comfortable and casual for the outside event. There will be plenty of ice water and soft drinks to enjoy! We will also have booths to introduce and promote several of the missions and ministries we are involved with. Please stop by to say hello and find out more about these missions. Our dear friend Pastor Oliver from St. Bernard Parish in New Orleans is planning to be with us this Sunday. It will be great to see them again post Hurricane Katrina.


I am telling you that Children’s Camp/CENTRIKID is absolutely one of the best events I have ever attended. I am going again this year as a chaperone and I am taking my grandson Noah. He is looking so forward to it that he gave up a chance to see the Braves play the Dodgers. If you know of a school age child wanting to go to a camp, this is the one. Christ centered, worshipful, high energy, plenty of activities to choose from, time with our staff, etc. Really, this is a fantastic children’s camp. And to boot, it is designed to start prepping them for MFUGE, the youth mission camp. I wanted our parents and grandparents to know I am completely sold on CENTRIKID!

It is just around the corner. We are looking at a worship center renovation to take place August 9 through September 6. The Big Reveal is scheduled for Sunday, September 13! Woohoo! During this time we will be worshipping in the Fellowship Hall. We will continue to have 8:30 am and

11:00 am worship services. We will be asking for volunteers to attend the 8:30 service so we can accommodate everyone during this time.
See you this Sunday for our 68th Anniversary Celebration. To God be the glory!
Pastor Tom