Commissioning service: partnership to reach community 

On Sunday, May 15, First Baptist Church of Sherwood held a joint fellowship and worship service with Fresh Start Community Church, a new church plant in Sherwood. When you entered the auditorium, there was so much excitement in the air as the two churches shared the stage both in the choir and on the vocal team. They powerfully led everyone in worship to our God. Soon afterward, the commissioning service began for this new partnership.  

First Baptist Church in Sherwood (FBCS) has always had a heart for church planting. Senior Pastor Dr. Ricky Lee has faithfully led the church towards being a kingdom-minded church in reaching everyone in Sherwood with the Gospel. His heart is to leverage God’s resources to fulfill the Great Commission.  

Several months ago, the south part of the church experienced extensive flood damage. FBCS started reconstructing the building that included a worship center, nursery, classrooms, and fellowship areas. The church and leadership commenced praying about how to best utilize the space for the kingdom. While they were praying, God had placed a burden on the heart of Torvac Amos to start a new work in Sherwood to reach those who were far from God, make disciples, and become a multiplying church. Upon his research, he discovered that 15,000 African Americans were living within a 3-mile radius of the church and felt there was very limited outreach in the community.  

Amos reached out to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) Church Planting Team and started the process of training, coaching, and joining a cohort to be equipped for church planting. After months of training, he was assessed by ABSC and other godly assessors across the state for his readiness to plant. Greg Varndell, North Pulaski Baptist Associational Missionary participated in the assessment retreat and saw an opportunity to partner with FBCS, ABSC, and the church planter. As the relationship continued to develop, God made it abundantly clear that He was at work in this process. Dr. Lee presented the opportunity to the church to partner with Amos in prayer, financial support, mentoring, and for them to use the space that is currently under construction. The partnership with Fresh Start Community Church was unanimously approved by FBCS. Fresh Start Community Church launched Easter Sunday in the student facility at FBCS.  

On the day of the commissioning service, Greg Varndell, recognized Dr. Ricky Lee for his 10 years of service and spoke of the value of the partnership between the two churches and the association. Vince Blubaugh, church planting team leader and Chanson Newborn church planting strategist of the ABSC gave FBCS a plaque marking the beginning of the partnership. Torvac Amos brought an outstanding message on what it looked like to be a unified church. (Acts 2:1) Baptism started and concluded the service. It was a beautiful picture of kingdom partnerships to reach the community with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Keep your eyes on Fresh Start Community Church. God has His hands on this new work and great things are on the way.  


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