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October-November 2021

Celebrating 100 Issues of ONE Magazine


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A Handful of Corn

By David Crowe

“There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon” (Psalm 72:16a).

As I thought about this article for the 100th issue of ONE Magazine, my mind returned to a book I read many years ago entitled Centennial Record. The book was published in 1881 in Dover, New Hampshire, by the Free Will Baptist Printing Establishment. It detailed a meeting held in New Durham in 1880 to celebrate the first 100 years (1780-1880) of the Northern Free Will Baptists and their founder, Benjamin Randall.

The first chapter of the book summarizes that history and begins with Psalm 72:16. The writer took the principle of this text to account for the existence and growth of Free Will Baptists. Just as a handful of corn planted on the mountains can produce fruit that shakes like the cedars of Lebanon, Free Will Baptists faithfully sowed the “handful of corn” God had given them to sow.

It’s not my purpose to cover that history, but to share some basic truths about our history. First, we are not now, nor have we ever been, among the largest of denominations. We are not even among the largest Baptists, but we are as much a part of the Body of Christ as any other denomination or any other Baptists.

Second, God has given us the handful of corn He expects us to sow. The Centennial Record records how Free Will Baptists were faithful to sow what God had given them, and He blessed their obedience with souls saved, churches planted, schools started, and missionaries sent to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth. Free Will Baptists experienced tremendous growth during that first century, despite all the things that stood in their way.

As I’ve studied our history, I have been amazed we exist as a denomination today. The only reason is because faithful Free Will Baptists in both the North and the South sacrificially sowed the handful of corn God placed in their hands. I think we understand those seeds are the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is our responsibility to sow those seeds into the soil of the hearts and minds of men, women, boys and girls of all races, creeds, colors, and countries.

Third, it continues to be our responsibility to sow that handful of corn. Because those who came before us were faithful, we have a denomination we love, and we serve together as we serve Christ. Because they were faithful, we have missions programs, colleges, churches, and schools to teach and train our young men and women to take advantage of their own opportunities for faithfulness. If we’re not faithful, our children and grandchildren may not experience the blessings we enjoy!

Finally, as I look back over the first 100 issues of ONE Magazine (2005-2021), I think of where we were as a denomination when the magazine started and where we are now. We’ve seen many wonderful things take place over these 16 years, but we’ve also seen the number of churches and pastors decline and a sharp downward trend in overall giving. Should we be discouraged? Should we quit? The answer is a resounding, never!

So many have done so much, and it’s our time now. What will we do with the handful of corn God has placed within our hands? I believe we are standing on the edge of some amazing things God is about to do. I believe Free Will Baptists are more unified than I have ever seen in my years of ministry among us. As Trymon Messer used to say, “I believe God is up to something.” (And, by the way, God is always working, and I want to be part of it, don’t you?)

As you consider with me these 100 issues of ONE Magazine, let’s do everything we can to make the next 100 issues the best years Free Will Baptists have ever seen. I’m glad God helped me to understand I didn’t have to sow someone else’s handful of corn. He gave me my own handful of seeds to sow with my unique abilities, personality, and gifts.

I don’t have to sow your handful of corn, and you don’t have to sow mine. When we are all faithful to the task, we all win.

About the Author: Dr. H. David Crowe is CEO of North American Ministries:


©2021 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists