news about the denomination
The following news items apply to (or affect) the Free Will Baptist denomination scattered across the nation and around the world.To read more about Free Will Baptists and the various departments that make up the national organization, visit www.nafwb.org.
Former State Promotional Secretary Announces Retirement
CLOVIS, CA—On Sunday, January 10, Millard Sasser, Pastor of the Sherwood Forest FWB Church in El Sobrante, California, announced his retirement from full-time ministry. Sasser was ordained at age 18 and has been in full-time ministry since that time.
At age 20, he married Margie Emmons, and they celebrated their 50th anniversary on January 29. Their daughters, Joanna, Rhonda, and Felicia, are active in the ministry of the Clovis FWB Church in Clovis, California.
During his ministry, Mr. Sasser pastored 10 churches in Florida, Missouri, Washington, and California. He also served as academic dean of California Christian College in Fresno, California, and promotional secretary for the Florida State Association.
Throughout his ministry, Sasser was active in state and national ministries in addition to his work as a pastor. He served on various boards and was moderator of both the Missouri and California State Associations. On several occasions, he traveled to Russia in a teaching capacity on behalf of Free Will Baptist International Missions.
While he and Margie are retiring from full-time ministry, they are not retiring from ministry. Mr. Sasser will be available for short-term ministry opportunities as well as pulpit supply when his schedule permits. With roots in Florida and daughters in California, the Sassers will spend time in both locations. Please pray for Millard and Margie as they enter this new and different phase of their lives.
The family requests the honor of your presence at a luncheon celebration on Saturday, March 20, 1010, in Fresno, CA. For more information, please contact Joanna Felts, 2535 E Menlo Circle, Fresno, CA 93710, or call her at 559-297-5063.
If you cannot attend and wish to send congratulations, please mail them to Millard and Margie Sasser, 1174 Megan Ave, Clovis, CA 93611.
2009 Leadership Conference Promotes Fiscal Responsibility
NASHVILLE, TN—One hundred twenty leaders from 21 states gathered at Nashville Airport Marriott Hotel, December 7-8, to promote good stewardship and greater fiscal responsibility. Workshops tackled a list of related topics, such as “Ensuring Financial Integrity,” “To Cut [Staff] or Not to Cut,” and “Compensation Issues: Setting Staff Salaries.”
Keynote speaker Will Harmon (AR) encouraged listeners to “think biblically about money,” as he presented a comprehensive scriptural view of financial accountability. The Oklahoma native pastors Cavanaugh FWB Church in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Recently, the church was honored for reaching $1 million in cooperative giving. “He [Harmon] was infinitely practical,” said one conference attendee. “His messages convicted me and encouraged me to return to my church and put what I’ve learned into practice.”
Conference services featured music provided by Free Will Baptist Bible College, including performances by the College Choir and New Mercy trio, all under the direction of Dr. James Stevens. Jan Clay of Indianapolis, Indiana, led congregational worship.
A full slate of workshops featured a variety of presenters including: Keith Burden (TN), Tim Eaton (OK), Larry Howlett (KY), Bill Evans (KY), and David Williford (TN). One highlight of the Tuesday morning schedule was the seminar featuring Certified Public Accountant, Larry C. Howlett. Drawing on 30 years of experience with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Howlett specializes in helping churches and ministries become more financially effective.
All workshops were received enthusiastically. “Talking about money is never easy,” said Ryan Lewis, conference coordinator. “But Scripture makes it clear that it also a very important topic. This conference provided a wealth of information for church leaders—information they will use daily in their ministry.”
Denominational officers and board members handled a lengthy slate of business in conjunction with the meeting. The Nominating Committee of the National Association of Free Will Baptists met to recommend individuals for board and commission vacancies to be filled at the 2010 convention in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mark McCraney (AL) chairs the seven-person committee.
Other national boards and committees that held meetings include the Executive Committee, Home Missions Board, International Missions Board, Board of the Free Will Baptist Foundation, Randall House Publications Board, and the Executive Committee of Women Nationally Active for Christ.
Keith Burden, executive secretary of the National Association, summed up the conference: “I can’t think of a meeting when the subject matter was more relevant. Across the board, the speakers were high caliber, and their messages ‘hit us where we live.’ I encourage all Free Will Baptist leaders to make plans to attend next year’s meeting.”
The 2010 Leadership Conference will meet December 6-7, at the Nashville Airport Marriott Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee. Visit www.nafwb.org for more details.
Gwen Hendrix Institute Graduates Ten
INMAN, SC—Ten students graduated from Gwen Hendrix Hispanic Bible Institute, November 28, 2009, bringing the total to 103. The service, held at First FWB Church of Inman, featured Larry Powell, general director of Home Missions.
Graduates celebrated completion of more than 800 hours of intense training and received an associate degree in Bible. For more information about the institute, visit www.homemissions.net or call 877-767-7674.