Headlines from First Thoughts

Monday, October 24, 2011

@fbcknox giving keeps pace with 2010

One of my favorite books this year has been Tina Rosenberg’s Join the Club. She describes how peer pressure motivates social change in our lives. Through the power of groups coming together, people will do things that no institution or leader can compel them to do when they influence each other for good.

We have seen the evidence of that positive change in the lives of our young people. This quarter, our students traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa as ambassadors of the power of Christ’s love and character on their lives. In August, we heard their stories of abstinence, purity, and character that they shared with South African young people. They taught and demonstrated how the Christ life shapes every aspect of their lives. The impact they had on the South Africans continues to affect the group back home. Under Michael McEntyre’s leadership, this group of teenagers has taught each other the life transforming virtues of the gospel that they are taking into their schools and homes.

This kind of ministry would not be possible without the positive influence that you have exerted on each other to give generously. Your financial gifts to these students and many other ministries through the budget of First Baptist have provided staff, resources, materials, supplies, and care. Just imagine, to operate the youth ministry staff, programs, and ministries at First Baptist, it costs an estimated $275 each day.

This year, your giving continues to keep pace with last year. Thus far, we have received $1,265,589, compared to $1,269,042 last year at this same time. Our expenses are also less than last year. We have spent $1,286,466 this year compared to $1,292,518 this time last year.

To finish 2011, I am asking you to continue this generous pace. Last year during the fourth quarter, God abundantly poured out his blessings through you. I am asking you to do the same again this year. Let’s join the club of generosity and do for each other what God has already done for us. He has given us his son Jesus Christ, and that is really all we need.

(Pictured above: Kathryn Pickle with South African students)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's the one thing in your life? We asked a few people. Watch:

The One Thing from First Baptist Church, Knoxville on Vimeo.

What is the one thing in your life, your focus? We've heard the trite expression, "Keep the main thing the main thing"; but what is the thing? The book of Philippians is written to followers of Christ trying to maintain their focus when they think their world is falling apart. Paul teaches them the highest goal of the Christian life, but this focus is more than a vision statement. His "one thing" lowers anxiety, unifies our relationships, and restores joy in life. So what is the main thing? Join us as we discover together September 18, 25, October 2, 9, and 16.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Good news 10 years later @fbcknox #September11 #worship #Habitat

How significant is a 10th anniversary? For a rising fifth grader, the passage marks a turn into "double digits," top of the school, safety patrol. For parents, 10 years goes by "way too fast." We're over halfway finished with school but only at the beginning of an education. For a nation, 10 years seems like just yesterday when terrorists attacked our country and killed nearly 3,000 people. For our church, 10 years ago marked the beginning of a new era of worship.

September is filled with a range of emotions, nostalgia, patriotism, and reflection. It's the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and the 10th anniversary of First Community. One way to mark the occasion is to remember dates, times, and places in chronos time. We remember September 11, 2001; we recall the beginning of First Community 10 years ago the Sunday before September 11. All of us remember "where we were."

These are not just dates on a calendar. These occasions invite us to measure another way that time passes, out of the chronological schedule of dates, times, and places through the door of kairos time. Kairos is marked by seasons and generations. Here time is measured not by dates on a calendar but by differences in behavior. We pick up on it occasionally in our way of describing things that happen to us: "It seemed just like yesterday." "My, look how you've grown." "I don't remember when all this started, but my life has never been the same since." Kairos happens in nature all the time; a seed is planted and grows when "the time is right." The fruit is ready to be picked when it ripens. We don't know precisely when, but we believe it will happen.

Kairos time is, as you can imagine, God's way of marking time. The biblical writers describe life that is measured by passing seasons, ripening fig trees, growing yeast, and fulfilling promises. None of them have dates on a calendar, but all of them offer the chance to remember, reflect, hope, believe, and obey.

The year 2001 was a kairos moment for First Baptist. We changed the way we worship and began First Community that is still growing, evolving, and changing. Like a fifth grader, this seed planted was a promise to current and future generations that our worship will change and adapt as necessary to call people to worship a living God. We do not know yet the fulfillment of the promise, but First Community continues to blossom. As people in Knoxville after 9/11, we changed the way we live. Whether through security lines at the airport, threat levels at Oak Ridge, or economic turbulence, we think about and live in light of our fears in some way every day. We do not yet know the full legacy of these terrible days. We do know, however, that our lives are much different than they were 10 years ago.

The same choices that confronted us 10 years ago are still the decisions we see today. We face a mix of worship and fear, of hope and anxiety, of promise and threat. We cannot live in a world without either one. This is why we so desperately need the grace of the gospel. The good news is that our world or our church did not change forever 10 years ago. It changed permanently 2,000 years ago. Jesus Christ entered a world deeply afraid and countered with the gift of good news in the ultimate kairos event. When confronted with the life or death, Jesus taught how to walk the path of worship, obedience, forgiveness, and hope. The promise that began with his birth, death, and resurrection has not yet been fulfilled . He will come again in the fullness of time. That promise helps us recognize that even though our world and our church are different than they were 10 years ago, his gospel makes it possible for life to never be the same.

This September, we have a chance to live out this gospel. We celebrate First Community on September 4 with a churchwide breakfast at 8:00 a.m. We remember lives lost and first responders who sacrifice during the Voices of Lee concert on September 11. We break ground on a new Habitat House and dedicate the construction materials in worship on September 18. Worship, Remembrance, Service: the ways we grow into another kairos moment.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

To South Africa with Love @fbcknox_mission Skype Sunday @fbcknox 8:42 a.m.

The trip that began with a dream and a lot of home football games becomes reality today. This afternoon, 28 students from First Baptist Church along with 30 others from area churches are en route to Johannesburg, South Africa. They will spend 10 days teaching Bible studies, leading "True Love Waits" groups, coaching sports camps, and leading in worship.

Our church has supported this group in so many ways. We have parked cars for home football games, hired babysitters and lawn mowers, given scholarships through the Heart of Knoxville, and provided the resources for an incredible youth ministry. Thank you to Michael McEntyre for training this team and leading this effort. Please be praying for the group as they travel. Updates will be available on our website or via the twitter feed. During First Community Sunday, the team will Skype live into the service. Please be sure to join us for this live conversation and connection. Our team is

Annie Pickle
Michael McEntyre
Morgan Johnston
Megan Turner
Jonathan Keaton
Laura Beth Roberts
Anna Cate Hale
Cathy Johnston
Daniel Pieratt
Amy Pickle
David Lethco
Missy Burkhart
Courtney Allen
Micky Roberts
Andy Tatum
Kim Holcomb
Austin Tatum
Mac Pickle
Emily Holcomb
Julie Rice
Bryce Jones
Jan Johnson
Sean Rice
Kathryn Pickle
Mark Coffield
Nikki Austin
Mack Burkhart
Jess Maples

They return to Knoxville Sunday, July 31 at noon. We look forward to hearing their report on August 17 at 6:00 p.m. in Trentham Hall.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Second quarter of generosity @fbcknox

From Niagara Falls to Wears Valley, from Columbus, Ohio, to South Knoxville, everywhere you look, you can see God’s work through First Baptist. Thank you for your faithful generous giving during the second quarter of 2011. Giving has increased over this same time last year, and the cost to do ministry has gone up as well. We have been able to keep pace because of your faithful generosity. In the process over the last year, we have cut our debt almost in half. Here is a year to date comparison summary of 2010 and 2011:

June 30, 2010
Budget Receipts $ 834,490
Budget Expenses $ 854,304
Debt $ 801,375

June 30, 2011

Budget Receipts $ 840,314
Budget Expenses $ 866,648
Debt $ 446,837

Pictured above are the people in which you have invested this season through the budget. Mentors celebrated our fifth school year at South Knoxville Elementary as part of the KidsHope USA mentoring initiative. Through your gifts, you have touched the lives of students and have helped turn this school from being an “at-risk” elementary school into a turnaround success. These mentors have tutored shared and loved on children for Christ. Many of these children frequent our worship services and Bible Studies, and several of them were a part of our Kids Camp in Wears Valley at Camp BaYoCa. In Columbus, Ohio, the Golden Notes performed at Knightsbridge Assisted Living Center on their way to Niagara Falls. They were the first church choir to perform at the facility.

We could not do this without your gifts to the budget. These resources provide the staff, transportation, supplies, and equipment to make these events possible. If you have any questions about your enclosed contribution statement or for more information about the church’s finances, be sure to contact Amy DePriest in the finance office. July-September promises to be just as active and fruitful. Please be praying for our youth mission trip to South Africa, the start of a new school year, and the beginning of Fall Bible Study and Wednesday evening programs.

Since July 1, 2010, God has poured out his blessings on First Baptist. Over the last 12 months, our budget giving has risen 8.4%, and our debt has decreased almost 50%. The growth over the past 12 months of giving positions us for a great season of planning for the 2012 budget. We have entered this summer with no budget reductions or freezes for the first time since 2008. Councils, staff, and committees are already dreaming about what is possible in 2012 now that this past year has been so successful. We welcome your input in this process and look forward to what God is going to continue to do in the coming weeks.

Pictured above:

Dena Metts visits with one of the residents in Columbus on the Golden Notes Tour

Glenna Atchley, Barbara Butler, and Mary Nelle Robbins enjoy lunch with their “little sisters” at South Knoxville Elementary.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Sign up to #mentor @ South Knoxville Elementary this fall: 1 hour, 1 child, 1 day. @fbcknox

Kids hope mentors 2011 from First Baptist Church, Knoxville on Vimeo.

Read first hand about the power of this ministry from Ryan Plemmons. Ryan is interning with us this summer:

Kids Hope USA Anniversary

On Tuesday, May 24, 2011, ministers and volunteers gathered at South Knoxville Elementary to celebrate yet another anniversary of the Kids Hope USA program. The program, which began at First Baptist Church five years ago, involves tutors from FBC working with students who have poor marks in reading. While there, tutors often form incredible bonds with their student that transcends the reading material. Kids and tutors often do out-of-class activities and have fun outside the classroom, allowing tutors to show the kids the love and compassion of their Lord. As the school year came to a close, kids and their parents were treated to hot dogs, chips and cookies. Kids could lso be seen playing on inflatable toys and generally enjoying the end of a hard year of school.

While not a tutor, I was fortunate enough to meet and chat with Trevor, a fourth grader at the school. He was extremely talkative and funny, and his favorite hobbies involve reading joke books and lifting weights. While he seems to enjoy school, there is plenty of hardship in this home. His mother is unemployed, and he as been forced to mow lawns in order to make ends meet for his mother and sisters. Having met him, I realized that all of the blessings that have populated my life and the lives of many inside the Church are not available to all. Poverty can at times seem so distant and removed from our lives, but Trevor lives only minutes away from our church and from our comfortable lifestyles. This is a challenging reality to deal with. Thankfully, programs like Kids Hope keep children like Trevor interested and engaged in school, and provide them with an opportunity to escape their tough situation through education. Programs like these are vital to improving our community, and I would like to take this opportunity to commend all the people who tutor or volunteer with the young ones at South Knoxville Elementary. Your work is certainly not easy, but the difference you make in the lives of these children is both tangible and eternal. The love of Christ you exhibit to these kids is incredible, and the impact you are making in the school is amazing. Keep up the good work!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Youth lead children at Kids Camp to jump into their faith @fbcknox

“How do you know where you’re going, Daddy,” asked Drake as we walked through the woods of Kids Camp. This was his first time to anything that involves outdoor adventure. The Shiell family’s idea of camping usually comes with air conditioning. This month was his first chance to experience camping of any sort. He tagged along with Kelly and me as we participated in the second annual First Baptist Kids Camp. (Pictured L to R: Jackson Snodgrass, David Lethco, Jim Mabe, and Mark Coffield)

Readers of this blog will remember last year’s report. We began a unique effort of producing a children's camp with youth taking key roles as leaders. This year, Michael McEntyre, Susan Tatum joined by Anissa Hudson led our students to teach and train future generations. The youth led, and 3-5th graders followed. Once again, this year has gone above and beyond our imaginations. Forty-seven of us traveled to the end of Happy Hollow Road in Sevier County to do what churches do best. We train people in the character of Christ. In this case, “we” were 7-12th graders, along with college, young adults, and parents leading Bible studies, sleeping in bunk beds, eating a lot of bacon, singing music, jumping around, and showing students how to jump into faith in Christ. I had the privilege of teaching in the morning and evening services. This year was especially meaningful to me. My entire family participated; and Mark Coffield, David Lethco and I went to Children's Camp together my first summer in Knoxville....except Mark and David were campers. Today they are leaders.

The children were church to each other. We watched as students who fell down and scraped knees were assisted by other children who ran to get band-aids without being prompted. We saw students who came from 12 different elementary schools across Knox and Sevier Counties form a small community in just a few hours. We listened as children poured their hearts out to each other and were comforted by caring adults and friends who set examples through their lives and witness.

The pre-teen years are so vital for us as First Baptist. I have a vested interest in this group. Parker is one of the rising 5th graders. Our church family must be vigilant and intentional in these formative years. The gods of our society are pretty jealous about time and commitment. Weeks like these, however, give us a chance not to only say as a church, “Jesus is Lord,” but to re-commit to these students as they mature and grow. We back that confession with action and transformation. With our "home grown" talent, children are motivated to bring friends. With the spiritual prayers and direction from staff and volunteers, the event becomes an incredible, quality offering to the Lord.

Thank you for investing in this ministry. Thank you to the adults who sacrificed their time to begin preparations weeks ago and to share with these children a piece of their lives. And if you’re like Drake and occasionally wonder where we’re going, just watch these students. They’re ready to hold our hands through the forest as a “little child” leads the way.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dan and Kathy Romano live & worship downtown.Watch this story of faith as @downtownknoxville neighbors @fbcknox

Over 2700 residents moved to downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, in the last 10 years. Two new residents are First Baptist's own Dan and Kathy Romano. Listen to their story of faith and life as neighbors in the downtown community. Consider whether you would like to relocate to First Baptist's neighborhood.

Dan and Cathy Romano Downtown Knoxville Living from First Baptist Church, Knoxville on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

@fbcknox assists Tornado victims in Ringgold, GA

The Disaster Relief Team is still working to respond to the tornado and wants to let you know about an opportunity to donate relief supplies. A member of the Young Married (or Crook/Smith) Sunday school class is from Ringgold, GA, which was hard hit by the tornado. Her home church is collecting supplies for tornado victims in the area. If you want to contribute items, please bring: toiletries of all varieties (toothbrushes, combs, shampoo, deodorant), first aid supplies, water, nonperishable food items, new underwear, baby formula, diapers. You may bring these items this Wednesday, May 4 or Sunday, May 8 and place them in the collection baskets. 

Carol McEntyre
Buckner Community Minister
First Baptist Knoxville, TN
865-246-4661 work

William D. Shiell
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Knoxville, Tennessee

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Young Musicians Present Solid Rock Cafe Sun. @fbcknox @ Noon

Church-Wide Lunch and
Young Musicians Musical  
Sunday, March 27
12 Noon, Trentham Hall 

Join us in Trentham Hall following the 11:00 AM service for a church-wide lunch
(Wednesday night prices apply): Your choice of ham or chicken tenders, fresh broccoli medley, potatoes, salad bar, rolls and dessert.   

The Young Musician's Choir under the direction of Ann Buchanan will present The Solid Rock Café. 

You won't want to miss this opportunity to fellowship and support our children's music program.
See you there!

First Baptist Church Knoxville
510 West Main Street
Knoxville, Tennessee 37902
William D. Shiell
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Knoxville, Tennessee

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Making Room at the Table @fbcknox #generosity #tithe #stewardship

By now you've heard from everyone who expects a commitment from you in 2011. Already this year, I’ve been contacted by Parker's school, my alumni association, and the nonprofits I support. I’ve renewed magazine subscriptions and memberships. All of these are important, but all pale in comparison to the annual commitment I make to our church.

Last year people demonstrated their commitment to First Baptist in historic ways. Through God’s generous blessings, we set a record in budget giving, paid down our debts to the lowest they have been in 10 years, and repaid all the money we borrowed from our designated funds to get through the budget crunches from 2006-2009. At a time when we thought that we were desperate, you became dependent, sought direction from the Lord, and began a process called “Because I Have Been Given Much.” We acknowledged that as James 1:7 suggests, “Every good and perfect gift comes from above”; and we’ve been blessed with incredible gifts.

The generosity season is here again. Our goal is to “Make Room at the Table” for every person that is touched by First Baptist in 2011. I believe that there is plenty of room for everyone at God’s abundant table. We need your help to provide the meals, staff, camps, materials, mission, air conditioning, fuel, building repairs, and so much more to make that happen.

Our budget goal is $1,876,000. Our remaining debt is $465,750. You saw what we were able to do this year: repay designated funds and pay down the debt. After we meet our financial obligations and provide for appropriate cash in the bank, any excess to the budget will go toward the debt. A gift to the budget is a gift toward getting out of debt. That would create plenty of new seats at the table.

This year our students will take a very active role in the budget. Through Michael McEntyre and Susan Tatum’s leadership, our youth are adopting the Mission Friends as their budget goal. Our children are adopting the ESOL ministry as their budget goal. They will be receiving offering envelopes and a program tailored just for them.

On April 10, we will demonstrate that love for the Lord and our church by turning in commitment cards for 2011. We do not sign pledge cards at First Baptist. We ask people to commit toward a 2020 vision of tithing. By taking one step at a time, you will become a generous tither within 9 years. Last year, many of you took the first step and will take another small step of sacrifice again this year. If you've never experienced the joy of tithing, or had to organize your finances last year, now is the time to take the first step.

You can begin today. Please fill out the online commitment card. Once you press "submit," the information will go straight to the financial office and will be handled confidentially. You may also print the card and bring it with you to worship April 10. The deadline for commitment cards is April 24. We will conclude our season of generosity with the “Step Up” offering May 15. This offering kicks off a summer of ministry and celebration.

I will have to admit to you that last year we did this on a bit of blind faith. Since all faith is blind, now we obey on lots of evidence of what God can do through you. So let’s enjoy the bountiful blessing of his table.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

@fbcknox & @bridgeknox raised $4,422 for @SecondHarvestET last week. Thanks for your generosity.

William D. Shiell
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Knoxville, Tennessee

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Special offering 4 @secondharvestet & 200 Youth Singing this Sunday @fbcknox

William D. Shiell
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Knoxville, Tennessee

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Downtown ecumenical Lenten lunches announced @fbcknox

Join us each week as we celebrate the unity of our faith and the diversity of our congregations. Hosted by the downtown cooperative churches, we welcome you to join us for worship each Wednesday during lent at 12:05 followed by a light lunch at 12:30.

March 16: First Presbyterian Church

March 23: Immaculate Conception

March 30 St. John’s Cathedral

April 6: Church Street United Methodist

April 13: First Baptist Church

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

@fbcknox welcomes 200+ Students to sing March 6 @ YouthCue Festival

Music shapes the memory and meaning of a life of faith. More than the beautiful offering we give to God, music informs our belief and remains with us until the end. Only one person has ever requested an encore sermon for her funeral, but most people have a favorite song or two.

Youth choir shaped much of the faith I have today through the melodies of the heart. I still catch myself humming a tune from a choir tour even now. Whether as an artist or now a part of the audience there is still nothing quite like the youth choir experience that brings together scripture, tradition, service, worship, teamwork, and relationships.

At First Baptist, we're blessed to have parents and students who participate in Chapel Choir, a music minister in Kely Hatley who teaches ministry through music, and a congregation who supports the efforts. On March 6, we will discover new partners in worship through the Youth Cue Festival Concert.

Founded in 1990 by renowned Baptist music minister Randy Edwards, Youth Cue brings together students across denominations with one common refrain: students singing and making music in our hearts to the Lord. They blend voices, harmonies, orchestrations, and traditions to exalt the Lord, inspire others, and teach the gift of a lifetime of service and sacrifice.

We're expecting over 200 students leading in worship on Sunday morning, March 6. The choir loft will overflow into the balcony for sure. But don't miss out on the 4:00 p.m. concert. Our Chapel Choir, along with the other 200 and a full orchestra, will exalt the Lord and challenge our hearts.

Through YouthCue, you will receive hope for the future of the church, and you will be in awe of what God is doing to shape the present. It's something that you will carry the rest of your life.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Katie Erwin and @fbcknox Youth Serve at Second Harvest Food Bank

Katie Erwin describes her experience at Second Harvest Food Bank during Disciple Now weekend.

Disciple Now Volunteers at Second Harvest Food Bank - Interview with Katie Erwin from First Baptist Church, Knoxville on Vimeo.

"Hi! I'm Katie Erwin, and I went to Disciple Now on January 14 and 15. Part of my mission project was at Second Harvest. Second Harvest gives food to over 458,000 people all over East Tennessee. Anybody who wants to volunteer at Second Harvest can get a $1 credit."

Monday, January 17, 2011

2010 Record Set for Budget Giving, Surpasses budget for 1st time in 9 years, Receipts rise 12%. Praise the Lord. Thanks @allenwalworth & Generis

“How Can I Say Thanks for Things You Have Done for Me?” Andrae Crouch’s lyrics begin hymn 153 in the Baptist Hymnal. These words capture the spirit of your generosity in 2010. This was truly a record year of giving and sacrifice.

In 2010, First Baptist exceeded budget for the first time in 9 years. We gave the most to the budget in the history of First Baptist, and our giving exceeded last year’s receipts by over 12%.

Here is a quick summary, as of this writing:
2009 Total Receipts 2010 Budget Need 2010 Budget Given
$1,678,236 $1,776,048 Over $1,880,000

You will hear more about this in our business meeting February 2, but I could not wait to thank you.

I am so grateful for a group of courageous laity on the Generosity Task Force who saw an opportunity when the need was so great. Jim Decker and Betty Coley chaired the group. Mark Moeller, our Associate Pastor, provided direction and leadership. Allen Walworth from Generis provided hands on counsel and advice at key points along the way. The church stepped forward, gave generously, and God provided.

“Because you have given much,” you touched people like Connie and Kim (pictured below) with the love of Christ. They spent a week with us in February as part of our partnership with Family Promise of Knoxville. Volunteers served meals and spent the night with them. Your budget gifts supported the program, staff and utility costs to serve this homeless mother and teenage daughter. By November, Connie and Kim found an apartment and were back on their feet. They wrote, “Thank you for giving Kimberly and I an environment where we could just breathe, a place that was and still is full of support and patience. Kimberly and I received so much support and caring from each or our host churches and their volunteers, sometimes it was very overwhelming. I didn’t think it was possible for people who didn’t know us could care so much. I now have my own apartment full of furnishings that someone gave to Family Promise. When I sit at the kitchen table and have morning coffee I look around and say to myself, ‘I am Home. Kim and I are Home! Thank you everyone!”
“I am Home.”

What great words to be said of First Baptist and the love you have given this year.

Welcome home!

Google Search