Dr. Ricky Lee is the Pastor of First Baptist Church in Sherwood
SHERWOOD, Ark. – First Baptist Church in Sherwood is now debt free! The church held a day of celebration on Sunday, April 3, which began with a churchwide reception.
The worship service featured Jubilation Jazz, accomplished musicians from across Arkansas and neighboring states ranging from current and retired band directors, retired military musicians and more to perform and followed with the burning of the church note.
Dr. Sonny Tucker, Executive Director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, was the guest speaker with Greg Varndell, the North Pulaski Associational Missionary, bringing the dedication prayer.
“First Baptist Church Sherwood is a key partner in the North Pulaski Baptist Association and Dr. Ricky Lee is a great encourager, leader and personal friend,” Varndell said when asked about what FBC Sherwood and Pastor Ricky Lee mean to the North Pulaski Association. “Because of his leadership and the church’s love for North Pulaski we are able to encourage our pastors and churches and engage our communities with the gospel. First Baptist and Dr. Ricky Lee are true partners in helping us ‘connect the mission force with the mission field.’”
The church approved a Master Plan in July 2001 to build the current Worship Center and broke ground on September 29, 2002. Construction began on April 7, 2003. The building became operational on August 8, 2004.
The construction related to the worship center cost $4.3 million with the church borrowing $3.7 million for the project. They started raising money through a capital campaign called “God Can” and later through efforts called “Forward in Faith” and “Giant Step Forward” to continue raising money. Sherwood owed $3.1 million going into 2011.
In 2014 the church built a new preschool in their existing building and renovated the children’s area at a cost of about $600,000. They started a capital campaign called “Believe in our Future” to raise money for this. In 2017 they, again, raised over $874,000 and renovated the old worship center through a capital campaign called, “With the Help of Our God.”
From 2011 through 2022 the church has undertaken over $4.5 million in capital improvements to the church campus and for the first time since at least 1980 the church is completely out of financial debt.
In remarks to the congregation Dr. Ricky Lee, the Senior Pastor said, “I am deeply grateful to the wonderful church body at First Baptist. It has been your zeal for the Lord and your faithfulness to His call that has made all the difference. But beyond everything, we are grateful to God. Psalms 127:1 says, “Unless the LORD builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain.” It is to the glory of God. He alone has blessed His church and provided. The resources.”
Lee went on to say, “the question, of course, is: Why has He done so? Not to give us pride. Not to provide us comfort. No, He has given us this great blessing as a home base to carry His gospel to a lost world. The journey begins now. May the God that has provided us these blessings provide us His grace to faithfully serve Him through His provision to bring more into His Kingdom until he breaks that eastern sky to come and get us. To the work. . .”