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

Thursday, July 2, 2015


We are on schedule for the Worship Center/Sanctuary Renovation to begin the first week of August. There are two parts of the project that we are still waiting for. One is the change in lighting and the other is a church wide video security system. We have been encouraged by our leaders to install a video security system. We were hesitant because of the cost. With the recent tragedy at Mother Emmanuel Church, it has moved our concerns forward. We are now in a position to include it as a part of the renovation project.

So, let’s review. We renovated the Worship Center 15 years ago. We moved from a dark, gothic look to a more pleasing warm and traditional 1980-1990 look and feel. The Renovation Team began with a need to just replace a well worn and used carpet and to change the paint colors. Then we began looking at doing an entire renovation including seating, lighting, fixing cracks, correcting sight lines in the balcony, etc. The project grew to the point that we needed to bring in a General Contractor and the Church Interiors Consultant. Together we put a plan in place that looks to create a comfortable, casual welcoming worship center.

How much will it cost? What if I told you the renovations were all but paid for? Between donations and available cash on hand, we are able to update, upgrade and renovate the Worship Center with no cost to the church family! I know…amazing right? There is one thing we would very much like to do. We are purchasing 420 high quality padded chairs to be placed in the worship center. We would like to give every individual and every family a chance to purchase a chair or as many chairs as you would like. Each chair costs just at $50. You could make a donation for one, one for each family member or as many as you would like. We had several members of the Renovation Team ask if we could do this for the church family. Of course, we would like to. All said and done, that would be an additional $21,000 if all 420 chairs were purchased. Certainly Janie and I will donate for our family. Speaking of donating: The church pews will be donated to an African American Church in St. Stephen. They lost everything in a recent disaster and this will go a long way in rebuilding their worship center. Win-win-win! Gotta love that.

More to come as we make progress. Hopefully we will be sharing final plans at this year’s church anniversary on July 12.


Pastor Tom

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Praying for our brothers and sisters of the Mother Emanuel AME Church



From: Dr. Richard Harris, Interim Executive Director-Treasurer, South Carolina Baptist Convention

The news of the tragic shooting in Charleston at the Emanuel AME Church breaks my heart and that of our leadership in the South Carolina Baptist Convention. This act of violence against our brothers and sisters in Christ is deplorable and evil, and appears to be anti-Christian. We stand with our brothers and sisters in prayer and in Christian love and sorrow. We stand ready to assist this church and its members where their beloved Pastor and District 45 State Senator, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, was killed. Our leadership is calling our South Carolina Baptist Convention staff to a time of prayer today, and we are calling on all of our 2,138 churches and church leaders to join us in prayer and support of our fellow Christians in Charleston. We stand ready to assist in any way possible and will be investigating how we can assist in any way.

The violent acts of unspeakable evil committed by this young man on Wednesday evening in one of our sacred houses of worship is evil and deplorable beyond words. He obviously needs the prayers of Christians. The appearance of such a tragedy in a Christian church in South Carolina is a wake-up call for the need of Christians all across the state and America to stand heart to heart and hand to hand in total rejection of such horrendous acts of violence upon anyone, particularly Christians. I would request that any Christian anywhere would join us in prayer and support for this wonderful church and church family in Charleston. Let’s be praying for all the families who have been touched by this tragedy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


TWO MONTHS AWAY We are approximately 2 months away from the renovation of the Worship center. I have been writing articles to share the vision and purpose. This will actually be the second major Worship Center/Sanctuary renovation in my 30 years here at JIBC. The first one took place almost 15 years ago. We moved away from the more traditional 1960’s gothic and dark worship center to more bright, welcoming warmer colors and fabrics. It was more of the trend in the 1980’s. We are now moving to a warm and welcoming style that reflects the 21st century and who we are as a church family.
THE LEADERSHIP TEAM APPROACH I am grateful for the team put together to lead in this project. It began with me moving the possibility of renovation forward. It moved to a Renovation Team listed in the first renovation article. That team then reported their findings and suggestions to the entire staff and Elders. We met with various church members seeking their input and ideas. We called in consultants with Church Interiors, Inc and others to help in the process. Then we presented the plans, as we had them, for the approval of the Church Leaders/Ministry Management Team.
WHAT IF IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE CHURCH? The only real question we have heard is concerning updating the pews with high quality chairs. I realize there is a love in many of us for the pews. But the pews really do not make us look like church…you do. Pews or chairs are just seating devises. Church seating in the 13th century started with stone slabs. They quickly updated to wooden benches with no backs. Stone, wooden benches, pews or chairs…the function was seating. It is not the pew that makes us look like a church…it is you. You and I are the church, the Body of Christ. The Worship Center is just the place we gather. The renovation will be warm, comfortable and inviting. The chairs will give us a little more versatility in that they can be moved, rearranged for weddings or larger crowds and, if need be, cleared out in case of a Hurricane Hugo type disasters. We are planning to keep and reupholster the pews in the balconies. We already have a sister church family in St. Stephens that had their entire worship center destroyed. They would like to have the pews and we think that would be a wonderful use for them.
THE GOAL The Renovation and Leadership Team is committed to continuing our warm and inviting place of worship. We want to reflect more of who we are…a more casual, comfortable church family. Changing the carpet and paint gave us the motivation and opportunity to address many issues in the worship center; carpet, paint, fixing cracks, better protecting the stain glass windows, addressing light, completing unfinished work from the last renovation, improving the balcony line of sight, etc. Praise God we are in the position to consider such a renovation. While some are just holding on…by God’s grace we are moving forward. To God be the glory.
Pastor Tom