This past weekend we spent with the First Baptist Church of Medford, NJ. They were hosting their 2014 Missions Conference. Pastor Hickey had served for several years with Jewish Awareness Ministries (JAM) before taking the pastorate at FBC. We found out as the week progressed that we had many, many mutual acquaintances, friends, and organizational connections – including the same Alma Mater!
The conference theme was on church planting, and the folks at FBC went all out to prepare. They put together a great schedule of events from Friday night through Sunday night, with very appropriate sermons and teaching topics for the various sessions. The other missionaries at the conference were Bob and Mary Scott Burns, who have served in Norway for 13 years.
Friday night the conference kicked off with a message from Brandon on “I [Paul] Planted” from 1 Corinthians 3:6 and continued on Saturday with a men’s prayer breakfast followed by a missions project, a ladies’ tea, and informal evening sessions in which both missionary couples presented our ministries to one half of the people there then the other half. On Sunday we all had opportunities to speak to different Sunday School classes. Pastor Burns spoke on “Apollos Watered” in the morning service, we both spoke to the kids in Awana in the evening, and closed out the conference with a message from Brandon on how “God Gave the Increase.”
We left the weekend very encouraged by the messages we heard, the fellowship of the folks there, and the evidence of God’s work in the lives of this church family. The church has a great youth group going and we had the opportunity to interact with them on multiple occasions. One of the girls who was there had never been to church before – what a neat opportunity it was to help introduce her to the Bible and the God of the Bible!
Pastor Hickey has a passion for local church ministry, and it was encouraging to see his commitment both to his neighborhood and his church. Pray with us for FBC Medford as they continue to seek to have an impact on Medford with the Gospel. The Lord has given them a long history and strong local ties in the town. There are certainly a lot of opportunities.