Dear Church,

Wow!!!! It is hard to believe that we are so close to Christmas. This year has flown by and we now find ourselves squarely in what Andy Williams so excellently calls, “the most wonderful time of the year”. Over the next few weeks there is so much going on here at the First Baptist Church and in this edition of the digital Interpreter, you can learn more about all the ways you can connect over the holiday season. Starting with Jingle Jam this weekend, our annual choir performance next Sunday evening, and culminating with our Candlelight and Communion Service on Christmas Eve, we have no shortage of awesome things happening on our campus over the next few weeks. A number of our staff members have created a little video that will tell you all you need to know about connecting here over the holiday season. You can view the video by clicking this link and, please, feel free to share this with all your friends and family members.

I also want to focus on two other important things that are happening in the life of our church. One is this week, while the other is more than a month away. First, I want to focus on the New Year for a moment. This is traditionally a time when people think about changes they want to make in their lives. It’s not uncommon for people to decide to make a stronger commitment to their faith. The staff wants to be a resource for you in the upcoming year, helping each of you to be in a deep and meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. There are a number of ways you can plug in deeper into the life of the church, and right now I want to focus on Discipleship. Beginning in January we are going to offer two intentional opportunities for you to grow in your faith. On Sunday and Wednesday nights, Jim Walls is going to be leading a discussion about how to engage in a richer life of following Jesus. You can learn more about this option in the Interpreter.

The other option I am excited to tell you about is one that Laurel Landon and I will be leading together on Wednesday night. For those of you who might not know Laurel, she is a gifted Bible teacher and a key leader here at the First Baptist Church. Each week in the chapel, we are going to talk about very practical steps regarding how to deepen your life with Jesus. We plan to address some very practical issues like “How to pray” and “How to effectively read your Bible”. Our hope is not simply to give you information to keep in your mind, but to provide you with experiences that can change your heart. Go ahead and mark your calendars now for these incredible opportunities that happen at the turn of the year.

Second on my items for discussion today is regarding a staff transition. As most of you know, in November, David Hughes was called as the new Senior Pastor at the First Baptist Church of Carrolton, Georgia. His last Sunday at FBC Augusta will be this Sunday, December 12th. While we are sad to see the Hughes family leave our community, we are thrilled for the calling on David’s life and we want to appropriately celebrate as they leave our church. After worship this week, both at the 9:00 and 11:00 service, the Hughes family will be in the Grille (9:00) and the Rotunda (11:00) so that you can stop by and say “Thank You” for all that they have meant to our church. I want to encourage you to write them a note that expresses your gratitude for their service in our community. On Sunday evening, the youth will celebrate with David as they send him off with their love and well wishes!

As always, I am honored to be your pastor. I thank God that I am here during these incredible days in our story. I can’t wait to see you on Sunday.

Grace and Peace,