Thanking God for Fender Chapel

The last couple of days, Rachel and I got to catch up with Martin and Amy Winslow, old friends from our college days at Southwest Baptist University.  Martin led a family/parenting conference at Selmore this weekend and did a fantastic job.  (I encourage you to check out his blog, nextgenerationfaithfulness.com.)  Our time with the Winslows got me reminiscing...

Fender Chapel Baptist Church
We first met Martin and Amy in an engaged and newlywed Sunday School class at FBC-Bolivar.  A short time later, when I accepted the call to pastor Fender Chapel Baptist Church (a small/rural church halfway between Bolivar and Springfield), the Winslows joined Fender Chapel and we served the Lord together there for about two years.

During the short time we were at Fender Chapel, we were joined by other young couples:  Hortons, Vandalls, Lansdowns and Guffeys to name a few.  Amazingly, out of our little group of families came five pastors and at least two church staff members.  Looking back, what a sweet season of life that was!  Rachel and I reflect on that time with great fondness, and treasure the friendships we made.

We didn't realize it at the time, but Fender Chapel - a church that ran 40-50 people on a really good Sunday - was serving as an incubator for gospel ministers.  We all grew in the Lord there, and learned many valuable lessons.  Never think God can't use small churches in big ways; He can!  Never think God doesn't have a purpose for small churches; He does!

May there always be healthy "Fender Chapels" found across the landscape of the Southern Baptist Convention.  These churches play a vital role in making disciples and raising up leaders.  We need them!  I thank God for the role Fender Chapel played in my life.