By Dr. Marc Brooks, Pastor, Gethsemane Baptist Church in Richlands, Virginia
I had the privilege of leading my church into partnership with the SBC of Virginia this past year. I am often questioned about the process and our motives in transitioning. What makes a 50-year-old Southern Baptist Church in Southwest Virginia pursue a relationship with the SBCV? Here’s our reasoning:
In late 2017, Gethsemane Baptist Church entered a season of re-examining our identity and priorities. We were driven to intentionally reconsider our most closely held values. As we embraced our prophetic role within a culture that is increasingly hostile to Biblical truth, it became overwhelmingly obvious that the SBC of Virginia most closely aligned with our priority of integrity to Scripture. We decided that relationships matter — we wanted to make sure our relationships reflected Biblical values.
The SBCV is Great Commission fellowship. It is a joy to be a part of a fellowship that recognizes the power of the Gospel and our role in making disciples. This is executed strategically, unapologetically and refreshingly without compromise. Member churches are challenged, equipped and empowered to be faithful from our own communities to the ends of the earth. Gethsemane has been blessed by the mutual passion that SBCV churches share for making the Gospel known.
The resources of the SBC of Virginia have been, perhaps, of the greatest value to our congregation. So many different ministries geared toward pastors, leaders, women, and kids of varying ages. The SBCV takes its responsibility and sacred trust seriously. Each program is built on Biblical values and executed with a high degree of competency and energy. We were thrilled to find a meaningful community built around shared Biblical principles.
The SBC of Virginia staff guided us through the membership process in a way that allowed our congregation to move at our own pace and avoid possible pitfalls. The staff was attentive to the needs of our church and eager to engage. Since joining, the staff has shown itself to be increasingly insightful and responsive. From the Glen Allen office to local leadership, the staff has been absolutely incredible. Our local leadership has been a marvelous blessing to our church.
The SBC of Virginia is home. I am so appreciative for positive cooperation that stays focused on SBC values and missions. There wasn’t really a huge adjustment for our church because we had never drifted with the culture. We are so grateful for this like-minded fellowship that feels more like a family than a strategy.