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AMS REPORT 7/11/23

During this spring I continued my service as the Interim Pastor of Woodland Baptist Church. I finished that on May 28. It was a joy to lead them and to see them call Adam Black to be their lead pastor. Adam grew up in our ministry at Pole Creek. We have watched him mature and have seen God use him in Buncombe County. We welcome him to the Haywood Baptist Association, along with his family, and look forward to working with him in future days as we are on mission together.


I was blessed to preach revival services for Mt. Zion Baptist Church over the weekend of April 21-23, and have preached there a couple of other times. Eddie Deitz has resigned from that congregation after serving faithfully for several years and will move back to Jackson County. Pray for him and his family in his retirement. Also, intercede for Mt. Zion that God would guide them to a shepherd for that flock. Eddie has several hundred good books he would like to donate to a pastor who will appreciate them and use them.


I attended Transitional Interim Training at Buncombe Baptist Resource Center, led by Allan Blume. As opportunities arise, I want to intentionally help churches prepare for their next pastor.


Bible Club at Meadowbrook concluded for the year. We averaged around 30 elementary school children. Jason Miller, the pastor of Dutch Cove, led the club and it was a privilege to aid him. I typically shared the Bible story with the kids.


Tuesday mornings this spring found me at Fruitland Baptist Bible College, where I am the professor of Biblical Counseling. I am grateful for the Association allowing me to do this. It will be a benefit to our churches as I scout there for future servants.


The Baptist State Convention Nominating Committee has been in full swing. I chair that committee. It is the hardest working group of any committee in NC Baptist life as we are tasked with finding leaders for the Board of Directors, and our agencies and institutions.


I could not do what I do without the aid of our Administrative Assistants. Gratitude was expressed to them—and the Woodland Staff that I also led during these days—on Administrative Professionals’ Day. Kayla Mashburn and Roarke Mabe do a wonderful job for us, and we thank God for them.


I ministered to several of our pastors and their spouses during this timeframe. Darrell Webb was taken to Mission Hospital for emergency surgery. Although I did not get there in time to see him, I was able to speak with his wife and pray with her. Darrell is on the mend, and we thank God. Pray for Paul Murdock, pastor at Calvary, and his wife Lila who has had multiple health issues and currently is at Silver Bluff. Another former pastor, Roscoe Wentworth has been placed in Autumn Care. I was able to visit him. Kris Estep’s father, Doug, went home to be with the Lord. Kris is the lead pastor of Barberville Baptist Church. I was able to visit with Kris and his family at the funeral home. Also, Dennis Ruff’s mother, Mary Deitz, passed away. Dennis is the minister of music at Grandview. Please remember him and his family in prayer. Dennis had a serious illness and hospitalization during this time, also. He is better. Our intention is to give Bibles in her memory.


The National Day of Prayer found me in Waynesville in front of the Courthouse leading a portion of that prayer time for our nation. It was good to see believers crying out to God. He is our only hope!


I met with Misty Roberts who has a ministry called, “Patient Modesty.” She tries to help prevent medical personnel from using their position to prey on women. It would be good for some of you ladies to consider helping her with this. Misty is mute but has a great heart for this work.


I participated in a Zoom call with Kevin Ezell who leads the North American Mission Board. It was a frank discussion about the ministry of the board. In the main, we can feel positive about supporting this work as they impact America and Canada with the Gospel.


On Saturday, May 20, I joined Woodland in an outreach in Waynesville at the Recreation Center. It was an opportunity to go into the community with the Good News.


Pastor Jason Miller was on vacation and I was blessed to fill the pulpit at Dutch Cove during his absence. On Sunday evening, I led a Bible study about spiritual gifts. If you would like for me to come and teach that subject, just call me! I also preached at Crestview as Pastor Dan Page was away on a mission trip to Vermont. My wife and I were able to worship with Red Bank for the first time.


Sherriff Bill Wilke—who is also one of our Associational officers—led the charge against the “social districting,” Waynesville city ordinance. That would have led to public consumption of alcohol in the town. Several of our members and pastors turned out to the hearing and spoke against it—including Roy Kilby, Bethel’s pastor, and Kris Estep. I was there to give my support. God answered prayer! Christian citizens made a difference, and the plan was indefinitely postponed.


I met with Jeff Holder, who is the pastor of West Canton. He has taken the reins of the Pastors’ Conference. Mark Tice did a great job leading that group. Mark stepped aside and Jeff stepped in. I wanted to hear Jeff’s heart for the future of the conference and offer my support to him. We have begun to video the speakers and post them on Haywood Baptist’s YouTube channel.


I met with Ray Sharpe, former pastor of East Waynesville. We continue to work with a lawyer to transfer that property to the HBA and are seeking God’s will for the most fruitful use of that facility.


My wife and I drove to New Orleans for the Southern Baptist Convention. The first weekend was spent with fellow Mission Strategists in training and encouragement. Then the meeting began, and the decisions made were virtually all in alignment with how we voted, and what we think you would endorse. Thank you for allowing us to go there. I wrote a previous article giving more details which is available on my blog on the website.


Most recently, I participated in two Independence Day outreach efforts. On Monday, July 3, I went to Woodland and saw as they did an effective job of touching their community. Then, on July 5, several of our churches joined together in Canton’s Sorrell’s Park to minister. I would estimate we touched 1000 souls that evening! I will be writing more in this week’s newsletters. Let me thank the pastors, members, and churches for their remarkable effort.


Jeff Holder and I met with Pastor Brody Medford of Gateway. We are excited about welcoming them into the fellowship of Haywood Baptist life. They were approved at our quarterly meeting.


Thanks for the Opportunity to Serve the Lord by Serving You,

Dennis Thurman, Mission Strategist




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