Sun, Jan 3, 2021

Scott Wakefield   -  

Sorry, a little longer than normal—a lot going on. (I promise, if I included everything initially written, we’d all be here for… way too long.)

Today’s TOC:

  • Alison Thank You Video
  • 2021 Bible Reading Plan
  • 7 Days of Prayer
  • Upcoming Coffee Convos and Brown Bags & Bibles (& Books!)
  • Big & Really Cool Announcement (to me, at least) re Seminary/Theological Training for FCC Members

Alison Stollenmaier Thank You Video

Over the last few weeks, we’ve shown a few video snippets of Thank Yous to Alison for her years of faithful service on staff. Well, here’s the entire 6 mins video, with both video and as-yet unpublished written comments: (Also available on the app, on “Home”.) We love you, Alison, are so grateful to God for you!

2021 Bible Reading Plan on the App!

I mentioned this in the Dec 24 ST post, but wanted to make sure that everyone knows, especially at the beginning of a new year when we typically emphasize renewing our commitment to relationship with God in prayer and Word, that the FCC Daily Bible Reading Plan is available on our app under the “Bible” tab. It has daily readings from both the Old & New Testaments, in written and audio formats, and it takes you through the OT once and NT twice throughout the year. The default is the ESV, the English Standard Version, which we use for preaching at FCC, but soon it will have other versions.

7 Days of Prayer

Coordinated and led by our FCC Residents, 7 Days of Prayer is a great way to kick off the new year focused on “Him, Not Us”: His word, world, will, wealth, wounds, war, and work! If you can’t join us in-person, each session will also be available on the app, under “Watch”. Details at We start this evening, Sun, Jan 3, at 7p. Lasts 30 mins total.

This Week: Brown Bags & Bibles (& Books!) and Coffee Convos

This Tue, Jan 5, at noon on Facebook, Mark Liebert and I will continue our Brown Bags & Bibles (& Books!) discussion of the book we’ve been reading, The Gathering Storm, by Al Mohler. Then, on this Wed’s Coffee Convo, at 7:30p on Facebook, we expand our reach to talk with Lee Brown, Pastor at nearby Arrowhead Church. We wanna hear about what God is doing in other churches and beyond, so during 2021, as mentioned in a previous ST, we are including Pastor friends and other non-FCCers whose lives are making a difference in our community—half FCCers, half non-FCCers! Cool, huh?! Friendly Reminder: If you can’t join us live, both CC and BB&B(&B!) are available afterward on Facebook, YouTube, and our app (in video format), but also as an audio podcast (on our app and your podcast app of choice.)

No More Next Steps on Mondays, But…

Ugh… (Long and convoluted paragraph that just left readers more confused than helped… deleted.) … Long story short, Next Steps (NS) is not happening on Mon nights. (I know, Elders, this feels like news to you, bc it is. Will explain this Tue morning.) If you need help taking a step, finding out how to become a member or be baptized, get connected, etc., just find someone with a lanyard on Sunday morning and we’ll help you from there, to get connected with a NS Mentor, (like we should’ve done in the first place, with a person, not a program, available to strike when the iron’s hot.)

Big & Really Cool (to me, at least) Announcement re Low-Cost and High-Quality Accredited Seminary and/or Theological Training for FCC Members — Info Session is Mon, Jan 11, FCC Gville, 7:30-8:30p

I’ll try to stick to the basics here. Three-decades-long, frustrating, expensive, and complicated story short, (i .e., I’m sparing you all the nitty-gritty detail for which we don’t have space. Seriously, come to the Info Session if you want to know more.)… This big-and-really-cool-to-me-at-least announcement is the confluence of many factors coming together that I’ve been praying and thinking and working toward for a long time. I’ve long dreamt of becoming a church that raises Kingdom producers who will continue to faithfully build God’s church and proclaim His Word in Greene County for generations to come. It is right there in the 2 GCs, the Great Commission, “make disciples, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded”, and the Great Commandment, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.” I.e., “teaching to observe all commanded” (in God’s Word) and loving God with all our “minds” means it is our job to build for the long-term by equipping strong and faithful Christian leaders who will stand squarely on God’s Word in the face of the world’s evil and falsehood… for the sake of our community.

A (much more) crucial part of that (than the overwhelming majority of we pragmatic modern Christians care to see or admit) is becoming a community that encourages and values deep reflection on God and His Word and raising up people who are biblically and theologically sound. If 2020 has reinforced anything (that we Christians supposedly already believed), it is that the world’s godless ideologies are not working for the flourishing of God’s world and those who inhabit it, whether for believers or unbelievers. Like the serpent in the garden who was “more crafty” than the other animals, “the devil prowls around… seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8), and he does so deceitfully, disguised “as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). The modern world means that, more than ever, we need well-trained men and women with sharp minds who see the world through the Word and not vice-versa. (If it’s not clear, I’m implying the idea that theological education/training are part and parcel of our #ForGreene strategy that helps keep our community sane and strong, for both believers and unbelievers.)

So… (~800 words of context deleted and reduced to the following bullet-points. Come to the Info Session for more.) … Some basic info…

  • We have recently become a “Church Partner” with Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, (i.e., supporting them at $2,400/yr), which means we can provide tuition-free seminary-level accredited training. Tuition’s free! (But… Semester fees are $375, twice a year. Books might cost something like ~$100 a class. Depending on how many classes you take, if it’s for credit, it could cost you about $1,000-$1,250/year.)
  • They provide BA-degree completion (sort of, not sure yet about how this works), MAs in Biblical/Theological/Historical Studies, an MDiv, and a few Diplomas (i.e., do the training and complete the curriculum, but not for credit.) I can explain what all these mean later, esp the “MDiv”, the typical 3+ graduate school “Pastor” degree (that should include Hebrew/Greek/Exegesis.)
  • The curriculum is regular old classic theological and seminary training: Church History, Systematic Theology, Exegetical Theology (how to rightly read/interpret Scripture), Practical Theology (evangelism, missions, pastoral counseling, ministry), Greek/Hebrew, etc.
  • You can also “audit” a class for free, (out of something like ~45 available), with no grades, no papers/tests, no requirement to buy/read the books, etc. (though auditing always works best when you do as much as possible/tenable, as if taking for credit.)
  • You must be an FCC member. This is part of our agreement with CBTS (with which I heartily agree. The best theological training is done in the context of the local church, and not in the academy, off by itself, with little connection to the body.)
  • I’ve been quietly taking classes in the early mornings for over a year now. It’s trustworthy content. (Also quite challenging,) but nonetheless, theologically trustworthy.
  • Yes, I know. They’re a confessionally Reformed/Calvinistic seminary that holds to the 1689 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith. That’s quite fine w me. Might not be for you, which is quite fine. You needn’t believe their 1689 stance to take classes. You needn’t believe their teaching to graduate. You needn’t agree to audit or do a diploma. We can navigate all that together. I’ll help. (It’s also covered in their 1689 class, which is the first class taken in the degree programs.) And you can stay a staunch Arminian if you want. If you have no idea what “Calvinist” or “Arminian“ mean, either don’t worry about it or take a couple classes and jump into the deep end of theological controversy that won’t be well answered by humans until heaven. (I’m sorry/You’re welcome. Come to the Info Session and we can talk through… that. The most important point of any seminary or theologically-centered training is that it’s biblical, first and foremost, and CBTS is foundationally So.)

If interested, text your name and “CBTS?” to 423-358-2425 (e.g., “Scott Wakefield CBTS?”) to let us know you’re planning to come to the Info Session on Mon, Jan 11, from 7:30-8:30p. If you’ve got questions, hunt me down (or I’ll try to hunt you down if you’ve texted the above number and you specify having questions.) I’ll be at all services on both campuses this morning. (If you’re in re:gen, we’re having a mini Info Session in the upstairs Conference Room in the East/Admin wing from 6-6:15p.)