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Life: God's Renewable resource








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running the numbers

by Tom Jones, Home Missions pastor of Keystone Free Will Baptist Church in Greensburg, PA. He and his wife Pam successfully planted Three Rivers FWB Church in Cranberry Township, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh. 



Find out more about the ministry of Free Will Baptist Home Missions at



WHEN I WAS INTRODUCED TO Free Will Baptists in northwest Arkansas back in 1978, I assumed that every state was like mine. I thought that Free Will Baptist churches were as plentiful in all states as they were where I lived. It is probably safe to say that many reading this article feel the same way. The reason for this conclusion is simple. Eighty-one percent of our churches are located in 12 states! In other words, most Free Will Baptists are surrounded by Free Will Baptist churches.  

After meeting people like Roy Thomas, Trymon Messer, and John Gibbs, I realized that my assumption was completely wrong. After traveling to Pennsylvania a few times to visit my wife’s family, I realized this certainly was not true of that state. God used the men mentioned above to call me to be a home missionary to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area in 1995.



Since that moment, my burden has increased for the 12 Mid-Atlantic and New England states (including the District of Columbia). According to the 2007 Free Will Baptist Yearbook, there are a total of 18 FWB churches in these twelve states, 0.75% of all our churches. Four of the 18 are currently mission works under the Home Missions Department. Yet the population of these 12 states numbers just over 62 million. Only four percent of the people are evangelical Christians. This is in America!

I compared the top 12 states by the number of FWB churches to contrast the twelve previously mentioned and the results are staggering. The population totals just over 72 million with 28% being evangelical Christians (there is much work to do in these states as well). In these twelve states we have 1,951 FWB churches, 81% of our total number of churches. [see the chart at the conclusion of the article]

Praise the Lord for the work that is being done in these areas. However, we must realize that America remains a mission field. Let’s pray together that people will answer the call to go to the needy areas in America and love these people and preach the gospel to them.   

Many seem to be reluctant to consider the possibility, let alone respond to the call. It is mind-boggling to think that in 2007 some states in America still have no Free Will Baptist churches. The need is great, and we must be willing to answer the call. Perhaps God is calling you!


©2008 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists