The Pastoral Plan for Amissville Baptist Church

pastorFor all its vast complexities, Church ministry consists of two essential elements, preaching and love.

The church should preach the Word even when society opposes the Bible’s sexual ethic, even when the local community deems the Bible’s view of depravity outdated, and even when church members and pastors do not like hearing that God commands us to put the needs of others before our own. God’s Word is often unpopular. But it is also gracious, joyous, and life giving. Paul encourages Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:13-16 with the following advice:

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.  Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Salvation, hope, joy, kindness, and life are found in the Word of God. If the church loses the Scriptures or minimizes the presence of the Word in worship, in Bible Studies, and in the youth group, the church will die. Her building may expand, but her people will drift far from the God of the universe into eternal despair. Rather, the church must continue in the Word. If the people of God devote themselves to the preaching and the reading of the Word, they will save themselves and others. The church will grow, succeed, and survive.

As your pastor, I come to preach the Scriptures. During my first year at Amissville Baptist Church, I want to regularly and faithfully preach, teach, and share the Word in all that I do.

But great preaching cannot thrive on its own. The preacher’s devotion to the Word must be matched by his commitment to love others. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:2:

 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

Though many associate 1 Corinthians 13 with romantic love that they have commemorated via the artwork hung on their living room wall, Paul is addressing the love of the believer. He is detailing how Christians should conduct themselves. Paul says believers should be known as those who love each other. A man can preach greatest sermons, fill row after row of pews with tech, savvy youth, and break into the conference circuit and still fail to love his family and his congregation well. Such a man is nothing more than a clanging cymbal. He is one who proclaims the majesty of God and then slinks into a hole because he cannot in good conscience encourage others follow his loveless lifestyle. His family knows he never has time to hear about their struggles or complaints or to attend their basketball games. His church members know not to call him because he has little time for talking, counseling, or prayer. And the advice he does give seldom goes beyond, “Read your Bible and pray more.” Lacking love, the preacher proclaims a gospel that he has not experienced. All people who have been deeply touched by the love of Christ cannot help but love their brothers and sisters.  The apostle John affirms Paul’s teaching and writes:

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20).

When preaching is combined with love, the Gospel goes forward with incredible power. When men and women know their pastor calling them to change is himself being changed by the love of God, their hearts fill with joy and encouragement. I have been blessed to experience this joy first hand. Both at the Bible Church of Little Rock and at Fairdale Baptist Church, godly men regularly preached the Word in love and kindly confronted me when they saw sin in my life. God used their love for the Word and for me to shape and grow my faith.

Though I am definitely an imperfect man with many faults who daily repents, I desire to love the people of Amissville well. I hope to love you as I have been loved.

When I think about all that has happened over the last several months, my heart leaps for joy! April and I our counting down the days till our arrival! We look forward to introducing two (soon to be three) little kiddos to our Amissville family and to getting settled into Northern Virginia!

I cannot wait to worship with you on April 22! To Preach and to love! May God bless us all!

Witkowski Memo: Amissville Start Date

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I will preach my first sermon as the Senior Pastor of Amissville Baptist Church on April 22, 2018. On that day, I will kick off our study in 2 Timothy, working through each phrase and verse found in the text to expand and deepen our knowledge of the one true God. I look forward to seeing all my ABC family that day and warmly welcome all in the area to come worship with us!

As we continue to pack boxes, to switch around official documents, and to ready for the arrival of our baby, we want to thank both our First Baptist Church Eastman family and our ABC family for all that they have done.

April and I have been deeply blessed by the multitude of compliments, encouragements, and hugs that are being showered upon us and upon our kids by our FBCE family. You have loved us well through this transition, doing above and beyond what we could have anticipated. We thank God for you and for all the many memories that we have formed together while doing Easter Egg hunts, watching toddlers, leading VBS, fellowshipping together, and teaching together. God is good!

fcb64785-f132-497f-b1ae-4d58b1ad9535While April and I leave our FBCE family with full hearts, we enter into this transition period with great excitement, looking forward to developing bonds with our ABC church family. We are especially thankful for Dr. John L. Lindsay Sadler and for the Elders of ABC. They have diligently worked and sacrificed to lay down the foundation for ABCs future, a future full of gospel hope and godly expectation! April and I look forward to working with the Elders, Deacons, and members of ABC to build up and to expand upon their fruitful labors.

When April and I look around our house and see that our living room resembles a storage unit, our hearts fill with joy. We know that God is leading us to ABC. He led each member of the search team to my resume before they met to discuss potential candidates. He made April’s and my path to ABC clear and direct, including the unanimous call. God has been good, gracious, and faithful throughout this process. He had done far more than we could have ever hoped for! And April and I know he will do far more than we could ever anticipate or hope for when we arrive in Amissville.

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As we wait for that day, we find our hearts increasingly encouraged by and drawn to our new church family. The leaders of ABC and many, many others have been faithfully loving us from afar. They have helped us find doctors, places to rent, office furniture, phone numbers, and so much more. We praise God for you and cannot wait see you face-to-face!

Counting Down The Days,

Peter and April Witkowski

Witkowski Memo: Amissville Baptist Church

peter-and-april-1I was elected by unanimous vote to become the next Senior Pastor of Amissville Baptist this past Sunday, February 25, 2018! For past several months, April and I have fervently sought God’s will for us and our family. We are firmly convinced that God has led and is leading us to serve with the wonderful people of Amissville Baptist church located in Amissville, Virginia.

Over the past five plus years, April and I have learned much about the character and power of God as we served at First Baptist Church, Eastman. We have faced some of our darkest days at FBCE, burying our first born son, Peter Alexander Witkowski, and walking through a variety of trials that have stretched and shaped us into the image of Christ. But we have also been blessed by our heavenly Father and by the amazing love, support, and generosity of God’s people at FBCE. Though April and I have experienced some of the hardest times of our lives, we have also experienced some of the greatest moments of our lives while at FBCE.

downloadWe will leave behind many cherished friends who have lovingly worked, laughed, and cried with us as we sought to reach the families of Eastman, Georgia with the gospel. We thank God for our church family and for all those who have lovingly served in the nursery, on Wednesday Nights, in Sunday school, and during the summer months! FBCE is filled with many amazing, men, women, and youth! Thank you!

I especially want to thank Joe Daniel (former FBCE Pastor of Discipleship), the M4G Kids’ Ministry Leadership Team, and the Bus Ministry team for their selflessness, kindness, and support. The success of the FBCE’s Kids’ Ministry is directly tied to their ideas and to their never ending labors of love that have shaped everything from the Wednesday Night Quest to the Back to School Connection. April and I have been blessed to call all of you our friends these last five plus years. We will miss you as we move to Virginia. If we could take you with us, we would. But we are excited to see how God will use you at FBCE in the days ahead!

Our last day at FBCE will be Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018. During the next few weeks, we will be vigorously working to equip our FBCE family to continue the FBCE’s Kids’ Ministry. We will also be diligently working with our ABC family to prepare for our arrival in Mid-April, 2018.

am_baptWe know that many things in our life are about to change. We enter this new phase of life with hearts full of joy and excitement, trusting in the sovereignty of God. We have seen the hand of God preparing us for ABC and leading us to ABC. We look forward to partnering with our new ABC family for the purpose expanding our shared faith and for the purpose of reaching Northern Virginia with the gospel!

On to Virginia!

To God be the Glory!

Peter and April Witkowski

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