ROSWELL (BNM) - The congregation of First Baptist Church, Roswell, celebrated the church’s 125th anniversary on May 19, 2019. Several former pastors, associate pastors, ministers of worship and guests also attended.
A special two-hour worship service marked the occasion with songs of worship, a special video, baptism, a celebration of the church’s missions giving and missions partnerships, a review of the church’s history and God’s faithfulness, a sermon, a prayer time where former ministers prayed for the church, and special music by former Minister of Worship Robert Holcomb. A volunteer-prepared barbecue meal in the church’s fellowship hall followed the service.
Pastor Aaron Colyer, Music and Media Pastor Jacob Bassing and other staff members planned and orchestrated the day, along with the help of many volunteers. Colyer spoke twice during the celebration service. Fred McDonald, director of missions for the Pecos Valley Association, and Kevin Parker, director of media services for the Baptist Convention of New Mexico brought greetings and congratulations from the Roswell church’s sister congregations in the association and across the state. McDonald presented a plaque from the association. A congratulatory plaque from the convention arrived later.
A bookmark made for the occasion listed the church’s missions giving over the years, noting $1 million dollars given to missions in just the last 15 years. It also celebrated the church giving over $100,000 to missions in 2018. Colyer, presenting the bookmark, noted that the church now has missions partnerships in Guatemala, Ukraine and Mexico and takes other mission trips, as well. Those partnerships extend the church’s partnerships with the Baptist Convention of New Mexico and the Southern Baptist Convention.
The number “125,” Colyer and others expressed, represented more than a number of years. It represented countless hours of hands-on ministry and Gospel impact by Christian people in the community of Roswell. It also represented the long-lasting and ongoing impact of the church around the world through its giving and mission partnerships.
Colyer briefly recounted the church’s history and God’s faithfulness along the way. The church began in 1894, and found its first meeting place in 1895 in a specially designed railroad car chapel. According to a plaque in the church’s foyer, the car in which the church met was one of five such chapel cars at the time. The cars were provided by the American Baptist Home Mission Society. The car seated 100 people on benches. The plaque said that it still exists and is on display at a South Dakota museum. Since those early beginnings, the church has seen 843 baptisms, raised up and sent out 18 missionaries, ordained 8 ministers of the Gospel and partnered with or planted 5 other churches.
The morning’s sermon followed the theme of God’s faithfulness: “The God Who Promised Is Faithful,” from Hebrews 10:19-25. Throughout the message, Colyer emphasized, “God always keeps His promises.” He explained how God’s faithfulness motivates believers to do three things. His faithfulness motivates them to draw near to Him individually and corporately. His faithfulness motivates believers to hold fast to their confession. And, God’s faithfulness motivates them to stir one another up into “love and good works.”
After revisiting again the 125 years of “amazing things” God had done through the church, Colyer invited non-believers to become God’s followers by following Jesus Christ. “You can be washed clean today,” he said. “You are either on a wide or narrow road.” After inviting people to receive the Gospel, the service concluded with the prayer time led by former ministers and more songs of God’s faithfulness.