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September 2022

Give Me That Mountain!


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Free Will Baptist North American Ministries (NAM) is dedicated to planting churches across America as well as Canada, Mexico, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Chaplains minister to thousands of men and women in the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, and Reserve forces. And cross cultural church planting specialists connect with people who have come to America from all over the world. Learn more about our ministry:

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Retired Chaplain Larry Langford With the Lord

Retired Free Will Baptist chaplain Larry Langford went to be with his Lord Monday, March 7, at age 82. Langford faithfully served four Free Will Baptist churches and as a Free Will Baptist army chaplain for 17 years, including a combat tour during Desert Storm. Brother Larry loved serving the church and his country. Along with his ministry in our churches, he served four years in the U.S. Air Force as an enlisted airman and 20 years as an interim pastor after retirement from the chaplaincy.



Chaplain Langford’s first assignment was to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he participated in training with his soldiers and graduated from the 101st Air Assault School. His service also included assignments as the hospital chaplain at Fort Benning, Georgia, and as a training brigade chaplain, where he preached to hundreds of trainees every week. He also served two overseas assignments in Turkey and Germany. He finished his military service as a lieutenant colonel and retired after finishing an assignment to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana.

Chaplain Larry’s love for life, laughter, and his wife Gelaine impacted their friends and family, their community, our denomination, and our country for Christ. His ministry spanned decades, and his impact is immeasurable. A graveside service was held March 12, 2022, at Parkhill Cemetery in Columbus, Georgia, with Hospice Chaplain Allison Owen and Chaplain (COL-R) Kerry Steedley officiating.


Planting Churches From East to West

Spring is a favorite season for many. Cold, dark days reluctantly give way to warmer temperatures, longer days, and new life budding everywhere. Spring 2022 also marked a new season of life for two North American Ministries churches, one in the East, the other in the West.


Burlington, Vermont

Connect FWB Church in Burlington, Vermont, launched March 27, 2022, with 76 people at the grand opening service. Lead planter Dan Houghton, his wife Kami, and associates Brooks and Jennifer Phillips had dreamed of this day for almost three years. Excitement ran high as people gathered. “This day was three years in the making” Dan reflected. “Three years ago, Kami and I surrendered to church planting. We didn’t know we would return to our home state of Vermont, but our next step was going somewhere to plant a church; it turned out to be in Vermont.”


Houghton cast a big vision to those attending the first service. He told them he is praying they will be part of a church planting movement, with ten new churches planted in Vermont in ten years. He is praying three men at the launch service eventually will become church planters. “Only God could do that,” he told listeners.

The NAM team is excited to see what God does through Connect Church. To learn more about the Houghton or Phillips families or Connect Church, visit


San Diego, California

A week later, April 3, 2022, City Lights FWB Church near San Diego, California, held a grand opening service. Amos and Melissa Dillard lead this plant, along with a team recruited from Grace City Church in Irvine, California (which Dillard helped start) and Peace Church in Wilson, North Carolina. Two families from Grace City committed to help with the church launch, driving two hours from Irvine each time the group met.


Fifteen people from Peace Church moved to Chula Vista to help start the church and serve in important leadership roles. This type of commitment and devotion helped the new church experience a strong first service, with 133 in attendance. The most exciting part of the grand opening was three people accepted Christ as Savior and began follow up the next week.

Emotions ran high during the opening service as Amos recognized all who helped City Lights begin its ministry. To learn more about the Dillard family or City Lights Church visit


Where to next?

For 84 years North American Ministries has planted Free Will Baptist churches across North America. Our rich history and the ability to continue ministry are possible only by the goodness of God and the faithfulness of Free Will Baptist individuals and churches.

To continue fulfilling the Great Commission, church planting must be a priority like never before. Church leaders and church growth experts have warned for years that four of five churches in the United States are either plateaued or declining. According to Win Arn, between 80-85% of the churches in America are on the downside of the growth cycle, and of the 15% growing, 14% are growing from transfers rather than conversions.

  • In the average year, half of all existing churches will not add one new member through conversion growth. —Ron Sylvia

  • One American denomination recently found 80 percent of its converts came to Christ in churches less than two years old. —Ralph Moore

  • On a per capita basis, new churches win more people to Christ than established churches. —Ed Stetzer

  • Churches over 15 years of age win an average of only three people to Christ per year for every 100 church members. Churches three years to 15 years old win an average of five people to Christ per year for every 100 church members, but churches under three years of age win an average of ten people to Christ per year for every 100 church members. —Brian McNichol

  • The single most effective evangelistic methodology under Heaven is planting new churches.”
    —Peter Wagner

Some may ask, “Why plant new churches when older ones are plateaued and declining?” The answer to this complex question begins with the statistics above. Older churches plateau and decline for many different reasons. For some, it’s because their focus shifts inward. Many older churches are unwilling to change. Some congregations are older, tired, and unable to do the work required to turn a declining church around. Many are without pastors to lead them, and others have lost vision, or are just “holding on.”

Often, it is more difficult and expensive to revitalize a church than to plant new ones. Although NAM is committed to helping revitalize established churches, we must never lose sight of the truth that the most effective strategy is still planting new churches.

NAM has set a goal to have 55 church planter families by 2025. We currently have 48. If you are interested in church planting, the need is great, and we would love to connect with you. Visit to learn more.

©2022 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists