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New York Direction


And how shall they hear without a preacher?


a new york direction

by Brian Williams


These words from Romans 10 burned in my ears as I prayed and sought the Lord’s direction for our lives and our ministry. At the time, I had served as pastor of Highland Drive Free Will Baptist Church in Lincolnton, North Carolina, for more than 11 years. The congregation was made up of some of the greatest people I knew, and the very thought of leaving was one that I tried not to entertain. God had other plans.

My wife Emily and I began to pray about where God would have us serve. After a number of doors closed, we decided to pray about a long held desire and passion of ours—planting a Free Will Baptist church. A recent study revealed that for a denomination to continue to reach more people, the number of new churches it begins each year must equal at least three percent of the denomination’s existing churches. That means Free Will Baptists should plant about 71 churches per year in the United States alone. What a challenge!

New York DirectionHaving determined that God wanted us to serve as church planters, the next question was where. After seeking the Lord’s guidance and the counsel of others, our hearts were directed to Buffalo, New York. The state’s population is 19.3 million, and we have one Free Will Baptist church. According to statistics, a mere 29 out of 1,000 New Yorkers would actually consider themselves Evangelical Christian. Couple those numbers with the fact that 70% of Erie County’s population claims to be Roman Catholic, and the need speaks for itself.

My family and I have been on itinerate to raise support for our church planting efforts since the spring of 2009, and we are praying for an April 2010 move date. We are humbled and delighted that God has chosen to use us in this way. Leah, age 10, is thrilled about the challenge that lies ahead. She is actively involved in our ministry, singing and playing the guitar. Lauren, age six, loves meeting new people and making new friends, and enjoys an active role in our ministry. Lucas, born in April 2009, could care less at this point as long as he gets fed on time and has a clean diaper!

As a family, we look forward to the day when a Free Will Baptist church thrives in Buffalo, reaching new people for Christ and discipling them in God’s Word. If three percent is an accurate goal, we have much work to do. Why don’t you join the cause?


About the Writer: Brian Williams and his wife Emily are currently on itinerate and will soon be moving to Buffalo, New York, to plant a Free Will Baptist church. Read more about the Williams and other home missions efforts at




©2010 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists