Senior Pastor Report – 2015

07 Jan

The following is the report I submitted for the past year of ministry at First Central Baptist Church in Chicopee, MA. It will be included in the annual ministry reports made available to the congregation.


There is a unique strain of bamboo that grows in Malaysia. You plant the seed, fertilize, and water it. During the first year, it does nothing. During the second year, you fertilize and water the seed, and it does nothing. The same occurs during the third and fourth years. During the fifth year, you fertilize and water the plant … and it grows 90 feet in 60 days. It has been known to shoot up 3 feet in a single day.

In many respects, the role of a senior pastor is similar to that of a bamboo farmer. You plant, fertilize, water, pray, and wait for a fruitful harvest. I have tried to follow that pattern and principle through preaching, teaching, leading Bible studies, and conducting membership classes. During the spring, I invested in a group of dads with the Raising a Modern-Day Knight program. In the fall, I started the Men’s Fraternity, introducing men to principles about how to pursue authentic manhood. I’ve tried to communicate vision to the congregation. In January 2015, I began teaching the Sojourners, a Sunday School class for parents of young families. I have returned again and again to train young pastors and emerging leaders in Russia.

This approach to ministry reflects two of my core values. One is depth versus breadth—building deeply into people and letting God determine the breadth of the ministry. The second is bringing all to maturity and many into leadership—helping people take steps towards greater spiritual maturity while at the same time investing more deeply in those who lead.


Let’s give thanks for how God provided financially for FCBC in 2014. In November 2014, I challenged the congregation to pray about our finances. We had a gap of $31,847 between our budget and our giving (11/30/14). God answered prayer and you gave! The gap was closed to $23,938 (12/28/14). We ended fiscal 2014 at 95% of budget. Praise God for his provision! Thank you for your faithful and generous giving!

When you factor in $600K+ set aside in building funds, $130K+ set aside for an associate pastor from the sale of the parsonage, plus an additional gift of $250K which will allow us to add staff for kingdom impact, it’s hard NOT to give thanks for what God is doing in our midst. We have much to be thankful for about our financial health.


Many people today adopt a scarcity mentality. They feel that there is only so much money, time, people, resources, etc., to go around. We should avoid taking unnecessary risks because once it’s gone, it’s gone.

In contrast, I believe Scripture calls us to adopt an abundance mentality.

Ephesians 3:20–21 – “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

God can do more in a flash than we can even dream. Consequently, we should take greater steps of faith, pray more radical, stretching prayers, and believe that the same God who moved in the book of Acts is still alive and at work today.


I believe we are experiencing an Acts 13 moment where God has placed his hand on Chris Ames, Dave Krok, Jack Gilbert, and Robin Dolbow, and asked us to set them aside for ministry. We have the unique opportunity to invest in our own people and train them for more effective and fruitful ministry. I am excited about what God is going to do in their lives and how he will use them to help expand our outreach and ministry.


During the membership class, I teach about the core value of an every member ministry. I explain that your ministry is as or more important than my ministry. Caring ministry conducted by a small group leader is just as valuable as that done by a pastor. A hospital visit made by a Sunday School teacher is just as encouraging as one done by an elder or a deacon. The gospel shared by a neighbor over coffee is just as powerful as when it is preached from the pulpit.

Each one of us has received at least one spiritual gift. We are to use our gifts in ministry to help build up the body of Christ at FCBC.

Ephesians 4:16 – “… from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”


In November 2014, I encouraged the congregation to pray for six specific requests. I encourage us to continue praying for these items during 2015. Please pray that God will …

  • provide for our financial needs and grant us the joy of giving
  • give us a passion for the lost; a passion for evangelism and discipleship
  • move every attender to become fully engaged and serving in ministry
  • cause us to be willing to change and adapt
  • multiply our ministry so we become fruitful and effective
  • bring revival and renewal at First Central


Thanks for being part of the body at First Central. I believe God has great things in store for us in 2015.


Posted by on January 7, 2015 in First Central Bible Church, Ministry


2 responses to “Senior Pastor Report – 2015

  1. Steve Finnell

    March 25, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Was there ever and office of, The Pastor, approved of or mentioned in New Testament Scripture? No, there was not. There was no single pastor appointed as the authority over any local church congregation.

    The word pastor is mention one time. (Ephesians 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, (NKJV)
    Ephesians 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, (ESV)
    Pastors were shepherds. Bishops, elders, and overseers are one and the same; and they were the pastors or shepherds.

    1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; (NKJV)
    1 Timothy 3:2 So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. (New Living Bible)
    1 Timothy 3:2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, (New International Version)

    Titus 1:5-7….appoint elders in every city….7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, (NKJV)
    Titus 1:7 Since an overseer manages God’s households, he must be blameless–not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.(NIV)
    Titus 1:7 An elder is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or dishonest with money. (NLT)

    Acts 20:17,28 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. 28 “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (NKJV)
    Acts 20:28 Pay attention to yourselves and to the entire flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as bishops to be shepherds for God’s church which he acquired with his own blood. (God’s Word-Translation)

    Notice that the apostle Paul called for the elders (plural), he did call for The Pastor (singular).

    Acts 14:23 So when they had appointed elders in every church,and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

    The apostle Paul and Barnabas appointed elders (plural) in every church congregation. They did not appoint a pastor (singular) in every church congregation.

    Elders, bishops, and overseers are the same office and their responsibilities were to pastor or shepherd the individual church congregations.


    Men today like to be called Reverend Pastor.
    Reverend means awesome. So they want you to refer to them as Awesome Pastor.

    Psalms 111:9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. (KJV)

    The Lord has earned the right to be called reverend (awesome).
    Is there any man that has earned the right to be called Reverend (awesome) Pastor?



    Posted by Steve Finnell at 2:25 AM
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    • wheelsms

      March 25, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      Steve, while you make some good points, I think you have an incomplete understanding of what the New Testament presents about leadership in the church. The New Testament uses three words to describe leadership in the church—elder, pastor, and overseer. Elder refers to the character of the leader. Overseer refers to the task of the leader. Pastor refers to the manner in which the leader leads. The elders/pastors share five main responsibilities—lead, feed, protect, care, and shared leadership.

      While the pastor and elders have the same responsibilities, the lead or senior pastor is compensated so that he can devote his full time to the ministry. He is to be a leader of leaders and a shepherd of shepherds. He is first among equals among the staff and elders.

      Personally, I’ve yet to have someone called me reverend. Most people call me “Pastor” or simply, “Mark.”


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