News & Information
2017 Men’s Retreat
Join us February 23-25, 2017 at Silver Spur Christian Camp for our annual Men's Retreat, featuring Jim McComas, the Director of Church Revitalization for Free Will Baptist North American Ministries. The Men's Retreat is always a special event as men from around the state gather together to worship God, hear from His Word, fellowship with His people, and return home changed by the experience.
The cost is $140 per man. Please click on the link below to register online. All attendees must register online. You can also pay online, if you choose. You can also send a check to: CAFWB Men's Retreat PO Box 8577 Fresno, CA 93747-8577. We look forward to seeing you at the end of February!
2016 Spring Women’s Conference
Click HERE to view the 2016 Spring Women's Conference Flyer. There will be more info in the coming weeks.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from FWB Family Ministries
November 9, 2015 - We want to thank you for all you have done to help us in 2015. We are thankful for the number of children who have accepted Christ this year. Many will experience the true joy of Christmas for the first time because now the “reason for the season” is their Lord and Savior!
Our new on-campus and state-licensed school facility, Stokes Academy, has truly been a godsend. We would ask that you consider a year-end Christmas gift to help us offset some of the costs involved in providing a quality Christian education to our students. Operational costs are around $244,000 per year -- $669.22 per day -- $7,400 per child for a year. Gifts may be earmarked “Stokes Academy.”
The Hope Center recently had a two-story brick building adjacent to the center made available to us for use as a maternity home. What an answer to prayer! Remodeling will begin in 2016. If you would like to help with this project, please earmark your gift to “Hope Center Maternity Home.” The Hope Center is currently serving 477 families, and 66 babies have been born to our clients through October of this year. What a ministry!
The Maggie House in Charleston, Arkansas, will be opening its doors to care for hurting children this December. It will be home to up to 33 children in a 7-county region of the state.
Great things are happening at Family Ministries, and we are humbled God has opened these additional doors of opportunity for us to fulfill our mission of service to the lost and hurting. Now, more than ever, we need you to stand with us in your prayers and financial support. Gift cards (Walmart, etc.) are a convenient way you can help us ensure a great Christmas for our young people. Many of them experience a very challenging time being away from their families during the holidays.
If sending checks, please note if they are for a special project. Credit card gifts may be made through PayPal at www.fwbfm.com.
God bless all of you, and, again, have a very blessed Christmas and a happy New Year from all of our family here at Family Ministries.
May 10, 2015 – The Annual Meeting of our State Association was especially sweet this year. Sunday night was specially designed to be a worship service, pure and simple. Our state leaders desired to bring churches together for the purpose of worshipping the Lord as one body. And what a great time it was. Hands and voices were raised from a packed sanctuary, an experience that blesses the heart.
There are many things to get excited about. The church mission in Greenfield, Heritage FWB Church, reported another great year of growth and God-sized stories of men and women reached with the Gospel. And while a huge problem exists in Greenfield, it is a great problem to have. Heritage has run out of room. But we serve a God who is capable of providing new, bigger facilities or He could send a donor that would allow for renovations and expansions at their existing location. Pray for Greenfield. Pray that God would move in mighty ways.
We also heard from Sweetwater Christian Camp. God has managed to provide the funds and labor to make years of progress in just a few months. The Amphitheater is nearing completion, a task expected to take two years. Many more tent decks have been constructed. And most importantly, children and youth are being saved through this ministry. God is good and He has richly blessed this camp.
“Have you heard?” California Christian College is moving. Years of struggling with debt and facilities in need of constant repair may soon be a fond, but distant memory. CCC has put their current property up for sale and is moving forward with a plan to relocate to the campus of Harmony FWB Church in Fresno. The move will free up revenues, place the school on a more firm foundation and position the school to have more modern facilities in a few short years. Pray that the Lord will send a buyer quickly and that OUR college will continue to prepare men and women of our state for ministry work.
Finally, it is very exciting to look forward to the new church plant coming to Irvine. Stephen Kimbrell, with his family, and several others are currently raising money for the project. Lift them up in prayer. Commit to support them financially, if you are able. And look forward to the Lord doing great things in Irvine in the near future.
It is an exciting time to be a California Free Will Baptist. We have great things going on. I have already mentioned several. But did you know, that the Lord’s work is happening in each and every church in our state? Antioch, Bakersfield, Stockton, Concord and Orange Cove are just a few of the places where our brothers and sisters are serving the Lord and reaching people with the Gospel message.
Our state is diverse and the people that call Free Will Baptist churches their home are diverse as well. We have many different backgrounds, occupations and preferences. But we are united under the Gospel banner. “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:3-6)
Finally, I am so humbled that so many have seen fit to allow me to follow the Lord’s guidance and become the Executive Secretary for the California State Association. I am truly excited to be able to travel up and down our state to meet and worship with my brothers and sisters, to share in the work of our state and to share with you the great things that our Lord is doing in our churches. Join me in praying that we continue to support the works of our state, that we would continue in a Spirit of fellowship and that we would each remember to humble ourselves before the Lord, and one another, and serve as we are called by our Creator.
April 1, 2015 - Through the support of churches and individuals, we have a window of opportunity to help change the hearts and lives of the young people and families we serve through Free Will Baptist Family Ministries. This May 10th 2015, make a special donation to our annual Mother’s Day Offering. Your partnership lays a strong foundation for our young people to build a relationship with Jesus Christ, while giving them the hope and love they need rebuild their lives. For more information on how you can be involved, contact us at:
Free Will Baptist Family Ministries
90 Stanley Lane
Greeneville, TN 37743
Bakersfield, CA February 5, 2015 - How many of you have heard someone accuse the church of just wanting their money? There are those out there who think churches exist to consume the material possessions of those foolish enough to give them away. And there are some “Christians” who have helped to perpetuate that image. But not in this case.
About two to three years ago, Pastor Kurt Lindgren of Harvest Church in Bakersfield was listening to a sermon by Dino Rizzo. He wasn’t necessarily looking for a new program or a new way to do church. But that is what was about to happen. The sermon inspired Pastor Kurt to get Rizzo’s book, “Servolution.” After reading it, Pastor Kurt went through the book with his church and began a culture change at Harvest Church.
Rizzo’s premise for “Servolution” was that the church had a bad reputation, kind of a take-take-take mentality. Serving others with no strings attached, with no expectation of getting something in return, would open doors to unbelievers. Pastor Kurt says Rizzo’s approach is a more extreme generosity than they practice today at Harvest. But the principle remains the same. Serve others.
Harvest Church has made Servolution a way of life, a culture. They have determined that they will show love to their community through random acts of kindness, no strings attached. It is not enough to just show up to church and sit in a pew. They believe Christians should be involved in ministry, in serving. And they have found that, for many younger Christians, actively participating in service projects brings a deep connection to the church, and one another. New Christians seem to be more on fire when they are active in service. And being engaged with those whom are served helps keep the church’s members grounded in humility and gratefulness.
Now, you may ask yourself, “How much of this is the pastor and his vision?” Well, the pastor caught the vision and shared it with the church. And Pastor Kurt said that he tries to schedule a service project once a month. But he encourages the church to come up with their own ideas, their own projects. Pastor Kurt says instead of putting people in a box, he encourages them to serve as the Lord leads them. This has led to many service projects.
One lady has a prayer ministry. She goes throughout the community praying over people’s houses then leaves behind a door hanger that says, “We prayed for you.” This lady herself had faced tough times when she was younger, but was touched by a door hanger left at her house showing that someone in the community had been praying for her. Now, she prays for others who may need a word of encouragement.
Another member has started a recycling ministry. He has placed recycling bins in various businesses in the community. He is in the process of applying for non-profit status for that ministry and hopes to one day build that ministry into a full-fledged recycling center. You may ask, “Where does the money go?” Back into serving the community of course! Proceeds from the recycling ministry have helped support the local mission, buy stuff for the homeless, and even to purchasing diapers for needy families.
Other projects have included passing out cookies, water and stuffed animals at local hospitals. Cleaning up yards. Passing out bottled water to people at bus stops on a hot, summer day. They had a toy drive where they brought in 40-50 kids, with their parents, brought in Santa Claus, and passed out toys. Maybe you saw a video recently where Pastor Kurt was encouraging his congregation to collect socks and blankets to help a homeless community living in a tent city near their church. It doesn’t matter what needs to be done. Pastor Kurt says, “We’ll do anything.”
Now, I’m not here to brag about the accomplishments of this church or its pastor. It’s about showing what it means to serve. “The church needs to show love. Be engaged.”
“Serve one another humbly, in love.” Galatians 5:13b
Feel free to visit Harvest’s website at harvestbakersfield.com
California Youth in Ministry Scholarship
Deadline for summer applications – March 1, 2017
Each summer many high schoolers from our Free Will Baptist Churches will be involved in some type of ministry—whether it be the Truth and Peace Leadership Conference sponsored by the National Youth Conference; E-Team which is short term mission trips sponsored by Free Will Baptist International Missions; or local church sponsored mission trips. There also may be mission projects sponsored by other Ministry groups that would qualify. The potential for Christian growth and blessings is great, but so is the cost. This is the reason California Women Active for Christ (CWAC) started the California Youth in Ministries Scholarship fund in 2005 with $500—monies raised as part of that year’s state project. We continued to add to this fund until gifts totaled $2,000 and we awarded the first scholarship in 2007 and every year since then, women have given scholarships to many of our Free Will Baptist young people involved in ministry projects.
The scholarship is exclusively for high school students from California Free Will Baptist Churches who must meet certain requirements and complete an application that includes writing 2-3 paragraphs explaining why they want to be involved in this particular missionary project, explain their personal goals as well as their salvation experience. They also must include a letter of recommendation from their pastor or a church leader. There is a deadline and each application is reviewed by the Scholarship Committee which presently is made up of the Executive Board of the CWAC. Scholarships will be announced and awarded in April, 2017.
Click HERE for application.
CAFWB Annual Meeting May 7-9
May 7 - 5:00pm Worship Service @ Harmony FWB Church
featuring Ruben Sanchez
(Pastor, Pinos Del Libano FWB Church, South Gate, CA)
May 8 - 7:00pm Worship Service @ Harmony FWB Church
featuring Kurt Lindgren
(Pastor, Harvest FWB Church, Bakersfield, CA)
May 9 - 9:00am General Business Session @ Harmony FWB Church
Pastor Shelby Farmer
Shelby Joe Farmer was born on December 21, 1935 to Eddie and Wilma Farmer. He graduated from this life on June 1, 2016. Pastor Farmer was preceded in death by his father Eddie Farmer, his sister Nota Nero, his wife Lourndia Farmer, and his grandson Joshua Farmer. He is survived by his mother Wilma Farmer, his brother Phillip Farmer, his children, Michael Farmer of Spokane, WA, David Farmer of Steptoe, WA, Gregory Farmer of El Monte, CA, and Diana Sanger of Baldwin Park, CA, as well as by 14 grand children, 12 great grand children, two great great grand children, and several nieces and nephews.
Pastor Farmer was ordained in 1966, serving for 50 years in the ministry. In his years of service, he pastored in Mountain View, CA, Pleasant Hill, CA, Newark, CA, Fremont, CA, Vancouver, WA, and in Baldwin Park, CA (for the past 27 years).
All are invited to a memorial service on Saturday, July 9 beginning at 1:00pm. A reception will follow.
Baldwin Park FWB Church
3941 Merced Ave
Baldwin Park, CA 91706
September 6, 2015 - Pastors and church leaders are encouraged to attend this free event, with seminars and preaching geared toward evaluating and improving church health and leadership, featuring North American Ministries' David Crowe, Jim McComas, Brad Ransom and Ken Akers.
This event will take place on Friday, January 15 and Saturday January 16, 2016 at Harmony FWB Church in Fresno, CA. It is open to any church leader, not just pastors.
Because we feel this is going to be such an important event, the CAFWB Mission Board has committed to providing hotel rooms to California pastors who are traveling to this event. But there is a limited number of rooms available, so please contact Mike Kilcrease (email@example.com) as soon as possible to save a room.
March 9, 2015 - I had the chance to sit down with Thomas Carabajal recently. He has been at the New Life FWB Church in Antioch in an interim pastor role for a few months now.
The conversation with Thomas started by asking what is the “Big Thing” in his life and ministry right now. Without hesitation, Thomas replied, “Trusting God’s timing.” As Thomas recalled some major milestones in his life, he recognized that his plans and his timing didn’t always work out for him. Thomas had his own “comfortable” plan. Growing up, he says that he planned to get married at 25, but God’s timing saw that he got married at 20 instead. As he continued his walk with the Lord, he recognized God’s call on his life and prepared for a life in ministry. Thomas set a goal for himself to be a pastor at the age of 30. Although he is serving in an interim position, Thomas is pastoring at age 29.
Thomas says that everyone needs to realize that God’s timing may be different from your timing. His life verse speaks volumes to that end. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
When asked how he has learned to accept God’s timing over his own timing, Thomas says that reading the Word helps remind him of who God is and what He is able to accomplish. He also points to situations God has led him through as ways to accept God’s perfect will and timing in his life. Thomas and his family has had to endure struggles like most families. But Thomas knows that God has guided them through each situation…in His time.
Thomas and his wife Shalane have been married for 9 years. They live in Bay Point, CA with their 3 children, Darren, Rebecca, and Krysta.
“Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
March 15, 2015 - It is simply amazing how small, encouraging words can change your day. Many times, a man at my church will send me text messages with the purpose of encouraging me and to let me know he is praying for me. I truly cherish those messages. They remind me that I am not alone. They remind me that I am a part of a wonderful family, the Body of Christ.
But what about our pastors? Have you ever considered what your pastor must go through in a typical day? And I’m not even talking about Sunday. Throughout the week, our pastors do so many things for our churches, like visiting new families, visiting sick members, counseling, studying, meetings, teaching, and much more. They are pulled in so many different directions. And imagine if they are bi-vocational. Add a full-time job to their already “full-time” responsibilities at the church. The bottom line is that our pastors need encouragement.
There are so many things you can do to encourage your pastor. A simple text telling him how much you appreciate all the hard work he puts in will go a long way. Maybe you can show appreciation by NOT complaining about some part of the service you didn’t like. Maybe it’s a pat on the back or a hug or even the uncomfortable phrase, “I love you, pastor.” Whatever it is, take time to encourage your pastor.
One church recently decided to take an entire month and write notes of encouragement to both the pastor and the pastor's wife. Each day, a church member would anonymously write words of encouragement or a Bible verse, one for the pastor and one for his wife. The notes were placed in its own envelope corresponding to each day of the month. On the front was written, “For Pastor _______, open on March 1.” This simple act repeated daily for an entire month has made a tremendous difference in the life of this pastor. Imagine how you would feel if you received words of love, kindness, appreciation and encouragement for an entire month.
As Christians, we are called to lift up one another. We are called to love one another. We are called to support one another. We are called to bear one another’s burdens. Don’t, for one second, entertain the idea that your pastor is a mature Christian who does not need to hear a kind word or that he does not deserve your support. God Himself has placed a call on his life to shepherd a group of people, which at times includes putting up with the likes of you (slight sarcasm intended). Let us cherish those who have been placed in our midst to shepherd our local flocks. Let us build them up. Let us encourage one another, but be intentional about encouraging your pastor as well.