Join us Friday, March 6, 2020, at 6:00 pm in the Western Avenue Baptist Church Worship Center for a joy-filled musical experience featuring animated videos, energetic vocals and exuberant piano, guitar and mandolin instrumentals! Randall Goodgame and the Slugs & Bugs Live concert have ministered to countless families. The concert is geared toward preschool and elementary school age children and their parents. Age appropriate Gospel truths are woven throughout the concert and Randall's heart is for families to leave with a deeper understanding of Jesus's love for them.
Tickets are FREE, however, we do ask that you reserve your free tickets online at www.wabcapps.org or stop by the church office. To find out more about Slugs & Bugs, visit their website and blog at www.slugsandbugs.com.
If you are planning to attend the ALONGSIDE conference this Saturday, please purchase your tickets online by today (February 19, 2020) - We look forward to seeing you all Saturday!
We would love for you to join us at Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel - ONE DAY EVENT It is going to be a great time for you if you are a parent, youth leader, or youth volunteer. If you are a teacher, a coach, or anyone who is involved in the lives of teenagers. Tickets are only $10. The seminar features Drew Hill, author of Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel (winner of ECPA 2019 Christian Book Award). It is a great resource for parents and anyone involved in youth ministry. To purchase tickets and learn more visit westernavenue.org/alongside
Daughters by Grace is organizing another WABC Date Night on Saturday, February 29 at 6:00pm in the fellowship hall. This year's date night will feature ventriloquist and comedian, Taylor Mason. The cost is $35 per couple which includes dinner and childcare. Please RSVP by 2/23 (this Sunday) at the information desk or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Childcare RSVP is required by 2/23 to Carrie Allen. Please text your child's name and age to 704.516.0623.
Join us for ALONGSIDE with Drew Hill on Saturday February 22. This is a seminar for youth leaders, youth volunteers, parents of teenagers, or anyone who knows a teenager and wants to learn how to come alongside them with the Gospel.
Register online here: https://www.westernavenue.org/alongside
Watch this video to see what this seminar is all about.
This week, we began our new sermon series in Mark. Over the years, we've covered other gospels, but never Mark, so this will be our next study! This gospel is the shortest of the four. There is no birth narrative, none of Jesus's childhood and not many parables. This gospel is really a collections of scenes/snapshots to show who Jesus is and what he did. Almost like an old slideshow... we see Jesus did this and then this happened. Mark is telling his reader why the people in Rome can trust and believe in Jesus, to the point of losing their own life.
Mark shares the good news and the gospel of Jesus. He will teach us about who Jesus is. Mark shows us that God will always keep his promises. God is not shocked by sin. He can be trusted even in moments of silence.
The gospel is a call to repent from our sins. Judgement is coming. The time is now to get right with God and repent for your sins. Reptence and the gospel go hand-in-hand. Repentence is turning around and going the other way. The gospel is a call to keep our eyes on Jesus Christ only. John the Baptist shows us this as he points only to Jesus and wants to take all the attention off himself. He says he is not worthy to even untie Jesus's sandals. All the glory goes to Jesus.
Mark your calendar for this year's Slugs & Bugs Family Concert featuring Randall Goodgame from Nashville, TN.
Join us Friday, March 6, 2020 at 6:00 pm at Western Avenue Baptist Church for a joy-filled musical experience featuring animated videos, energetic vocals, and exuberant piano, guitar and mandolin instrumentals!
Tickets are free, but we do ask that you reserve them online here.
There is lots going on at WABC as we begin 2020! We did want to take a moment to officially let you know Dan Wilemon is on board as our new Director of the Marriage and Family Enrichment Center at Western Avenue. He is taking this placement upon the retirement of Ellen Fox.
Dan is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist. His responsibilities include providing individual marital and family therapy for both adults and children. Dan received his B.S. in Psychology and Pastoral Counseling from Tennessee Temple University in 1987 and his M.Ed. in Community Agency Counseling with concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy from University of North Carolina, Greensboro in 1990. Further studies have been pursued in Special Education as well as extensive training and licensing in addiction.
Dan and his wife Lynn were married in 1986 and have 5 children and 5 grandchildren. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and is a music lover who plays in the community band and church orchestra.
Appointments with Dan are available through our Marriage and Family Enrichment Center. If you would like to meet, all you have to do is call 704-873-6397 and select extension 3210 for Dan Wilemon (Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM) or extension 3215 for Gladys Lowry (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursdays). Both numbers have confidential voice mails and your call will be returned promptly for scheduling. You can park in the rear of the church at the counseling center’s separate, private entrance. There is a sign near the door showing you exactly the location of the center.
More information about the Counseling Center is available online here: https://www.westernavenue.org/counseling
Do you have a teenager or work with youth? Plan to join us for an upcoming seminar with Drew Hill for youth leaders, youth pastors and parents of teenagers. We will spend the day brainstorming and learning how to love teenagers with the Gospel. Saturday, February 22, from 10am - 3pm in the WABC fellowship hall. Tickets are $10 which includes lunch. Get tickets on our website here.
Happy New Year from WABC. We wish you God's richest blessings as you begin a new year. We give thanks to God for all he's done for us and trust his promises that he will be faithful in another year!
"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." - Colossians 3:17
We want to wish you a very Merry Christmas!
"Because of Bethlehem, (we) have a Savior in heaven. Christmas begins what Easter celebrates. The child in the cradle became the King on the cross." - Max Lucado, Because of Bethlehem, Love is Born, Hope is Here
Thank you God for sending your Son as the baby in the manger and to be our Savior. We rejoice and celebrate our Savior's birth. O Come Let us Adore Him! Christ the Lord!
"It's Christmas" begins tomorrow, Friday, December 13. Performances are at 7:00pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday with an additional afternoon performance at 3:00pm on Saturday.
Limited tickets are still available. Tickets can be purchased online here (https://www.westernavenue.org/its-christmas) or by visiting the church office.
We look forward to a wonderful weekend of worship at WABC. Come celebrate Christmas with us!
Happy Thanksgiving! In the busyness of the holiday, take time to pause today... to truly stop for a moment and praise the Lord for all he has done for us! He sustains us in the valleys and rejoices with us on the mountain top. And, most of all, he has given us the gift of salvation through his son, Jesus Christ. Praise Him!
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!" - Psalm 100:4
The Western Avenue Advent devotionals start this week! Advent means "coming". Christ has come and is coming again. Advent is a season when we focus our hearts and minds on his coming. As we celebrate his coming as a baby at Christmas, we also anticipate his coming again in glory. During the four weeks leading up to Christmas, we will preach through several passages that describe why Jesus came.
We invite your family to join us during advent with advent family readings you can read together each week at home. You can download them here: https://www.westernavenue.org/advent
"Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he..." Last Sunday, we looked at the story of Zacchaeus and realized the children's song is really quite far from the truth of who Zacchaeus really was. Zacchaeus was a tax collector and really seen as quite a wicked and evil man. Through Jesus sharing the gospel with Zacchaeus, we see more truths to apply on our study of evangelism.
We must know the Gospel is for great, wicked, evil sinners. Zacchaeus was evil and hated. He was far from the cute little man we envision in the children's song. He was in a category with scam artists, drug dealers and the mofia. He was hated, but the gospel was still for him. There is no one who is beyond saving. We see how Jesus was interested in Zacchaeus and sought him out. He told him he was coming to his house today. He didn't ask about a good time, but said he was coming now.
The gospel displays a scandelous grace. Zacchaeus was considered "less than human". Jesus did what Zacchaeus could not do for himself. Faith invites a repentence and repentence shows faith's presence. This transformation in Zacchaeus's life shows how he wants to change and that he does change. Through the power of the gospel, people can change.
We must continue to proclaim that Jesus Christ came to seek and save the lost. Today, salvation has come!
This week we will get to know Jim and Kristi Mixson. The Mixsons have been married 28 years. They met six years before that when they both worked at Rose’s Dept. Store. The Mixsons have two children, Jay and Addison. Jay just recently got married and is an officer in the US Navy stationed at Cherry Point, NC. Addison is a junior at Wingate University majoring in communications and is a cheerleader. Jim is currently Clerk of Superior Court in Iredell County and Kristi works as a Buyer at Kewaunee Scientific.
Jim and Kristi both grew up in Christian homes and both became Christians early in life. Jim joined Western Avenue 1982. Kristi joined back in 1991 after they were married. Jim started coming to church with his parents when they moved to Statesville. Kristi started coming to church with Jim when they began to date in 1985. Western Avenue felt like a good fit for them both as they were growing up and once they started having children they felt Western Avenue was a great fit for their family.
The Mixsons have served in various roles over the years. They were involved with working in nursery area when their children were smaller and they followed their children in the middle school and high school and worked as shepherds in the Sunday School class. They continue to work as shepherds in the 9th and 10th grade Sunday School class. Jim ushers each Sunday and has also served as a deacon. Jim and Kristi have always appreciated Western Avenue because it has always felt like home. They are excited for the future of Western Avenue because the church continues to grow and continues to find new ways to minister to the community.
Chris and Amanda started dating in high school and dated 7 years before marrying in 1998. They have three busy boys who all love baseball. Brett, 18, is a senior at North Iredell High School. Cole, 14, is a freshman in the ASEC program at North. Luke, 9, is a fourth grader at Central Elementary. Chris has always been in management and is the plant manager at Piedmont Composites and Tooling in Taylorsville. Amanda has been at Iredell Memorial for 20 years in the laboratory as a licensed Medical Technologist. Both attended CVCC and UNC Charlotte.
Chris was saved at 10 years old and attended East Taylorsville Baptist Church before moving to Iredell County. He was always active in their Awana program as a child and then as a leader when the boys attended. He has also spent time in the Prison Ministry that was available at ETBC. Amanda grew up in the Methodist Church where she was saved at 14 years old. Her mom made sure their family was always there every time the doors were open. Both have always tried to make church an important part of raising their family. The boys were also all saved at young ages. Brett went forward during a VBS event at age 9, Cole was tearfully burdened at home one evening after going through a book called "The Lamb" at age 6, and Luke went forward at the Power Cross tent 2 summers ago.
The Johnsons moved to Iredell County 4 years ago and began looking immediately for a church home. They looked for area Baptist Churches with sound doctrine and biblical teachings, along with an early service. After visiting WABC, they were familiar with Jeff Spry and his family from Alexander County. Jeff's father was Chris's elementary school teacher and later was Amanda's elementary school principal. One funny fact is that Amanda was having a troubled year in second grade when Mr. Spry was the principal. He got her out of class, spoke to her with encouragement, and she never had any more trouble in school. She has no idea what words he spoke, but they had a lasting impact.
In addition to being acquainted with Pastor Jeff, the Johnsons were very impressed with the solid biblical principles taught here and enforced here. "We were greeted right away with smiling faces and welcoming hand-shakes. We kept coming back to the church that felt like a new home.” They were used to a church this size, with excellent programs for any age and missionary mind sets. They made a commitment to join in July 2017. Amanda soon knew she wanted to find the women's ministry and join in. She attended her first women's retreat not knowing anyone there but by smiles in the hallway, but knew she wanted to meet new friends, mentors, and women of faith, all of which were found immediately. She was blessed to be asked to be the volunteer coordinator on the Daughters by Grace team and absolutely loves to share encouragement through emails and cards.
Chris and Amanda appreciate that the Word is taught here at WABC every Sunday and Wednesday by whomever is delivering the message. Their boys enjoy and learn a lot from the teachings and fellowship as well. The family looks forward to the future with Western Avenue with excitement and anticipation in what God will do next. The foundation here is solid and will continue to lead God’s people into new levels of His glory.
It all starts with one... watch a short video and learn more about the "Who's Your One?" initiative here:
Evangelism can feel so overwhelming. We know this is something God has called us as Christians to do, but to many it feels like a daunting task. We are supposed to go save the entire world. How is that even possible? The new series we are going through on Sunday mornings, "Who's Your One?" helps us to make evangelism feel more doable. All we have to do is start with ONE. We've been looking at how Jesus shares the Gospel, to get a pattern on how we should do the same and so we can learn from the master evangelist himself. We see that everyone needs the gospel. Nicodemus needed the gospel just like the woman at the well needed the Gospel.
Looking at John 4 and the story of the woman at the well, we see several truths about evangelism.
Evangelism requires Christians to be intentional. Jesus went to Samaria and stayed an additional two days. This was a place Jews just did not go. So the fact that Jesus went there is very intentional. Jesus had a specific purpose in his visit - to share the Gospel with the woman at the well. We realize through this story that evangelism will never "just happen". There is no way this woman would have ever come to Jesus. Jesus had to go to her. We are to go through our everyday life, but with an intentionality of the Gospel underlying everything. What can I do intentionally to share the Gospel? How can I start a conversation with someone? Can I invite them over to dinner? How can we do ordinary life with a Gospel intentionality?
Evangelism requires Christians to overcome certain barriers to evangelism. People may wonder why we are even talking to them? There was a huge issue of race/ethnicity with Jews and Samaritans, yet Jesus approached a Samaritan female. We have to overcome barriers to reach people with the Gospel. Jesus even drank from the Samaritan woman's cup, which would have been a very taboo thing to do in this time period.
Evangelism will require you to move from the physical to the spiritual realm. Meeting people's physical needs is wonderful, but unless we focus on sharing the Gospel while we are meeting those physical needs, it's not evangelism. We see this as Jesus tells the Samarian woman about the everlasting water. Not just the physical water she is getting from the well where they are standing, but the everlasting water that will cause her to never thirst again!
Evangelism requires us to talk about a person's greatest need... sin. The Samaritan woman's only hope of rescue was to find her satisfaction in Christ. People must see they are lost before they can be found. We can meet that need with exactly what they need... Jesus!
To help you on this journey of reaching your ONE, we have a 30-day prayer guide and bookmark to guide and encourage you along the way.
Last week we finished up our sermon series through Galatians. For the next 8 weeks Jeff will be preaching sharing our faith through "Encounters with Jesus" as part of an initiative many other churches are focusing on as well titled "Who's Your One?". It's easy to feel overwhelmed when we talk about evangelism. How can I change the entire world? But, all we each have to do is think of one person. Who is your one person you will share the Gospel with?
We looked at John 3:1-16 and the story of Nicodemus. We learned the Gospel is a divine sovereign work of God, not a human work of man. There are certain things we cannot see until we are able to see them. Since the Gospel is a sovereign work of God, unless you are born again to see the Gospel of God, your eyes are not open to it. Being "born again" is a condition that must be met, not something you can do. Nicodemus understands the metaphor, but he doesn't understand what he needs to do. We see the cleansing of the water and our sins being removed by the blood of Jesus. He can give us a new heart. Our job is to point people to Jesus.
Interested in our preschool? The WABC Weekday Preschool is now scheduling tours! We would love to show you around! Call us at 704-872-4139 or fill out our online inquiry form to make an appointment for a tour. Registration packets for the 2020-2021 school year will be given during tours.
Our preschool offers classes for 2-4 year olds. We provide a nurturing environment for preschoolers to learn not only academically, but also about the love of Jesus Christ.
Check out our website to learn more about our preschool focus and curriculum.
Dr. Ellen Fox joined our WABC staff in January 2005 as the Director of the Marriage and Family Enrichment Center. After serving with us for nearly 15 years, she is retiring.
Ellen, we want to thank you for all the care you have provided to WABC members and the community. Ellen has provided individual, marital, family and group psychotherapy to approximately 1,300 children and adults. She has also taught during our Wednesday night Equipping University. Ellen says her work at WABC has been absolutely a joy.
"We've had clients of multiple faiths represented as well as those who profess no faith," Ellen said. "I've been privileged to be Christ's image bearer to those who have never known Him! I've had the joy of serving three generations of families."
Thank you, Ellen for faithfully serving the kingdom in this very important way!
Want to learn more about our Marriage and Family Enrichment Center? Visit our website: https://www.westernavenue.org/counseling
On Friday, October 11, the back parking lot of the church will be turned into our very own campground! Make plans to join us for a great evening together. Bring your tent or bring your camper and stay for the night in the back of the church. If you are not into camping, join us for a cookout and other festivities on Friday evening. Breakfast will be served on Saturday morning. Register to be a part of the whole weekend, or come for what you can. Just let us know so we can count you in.
Registration is required by Sunday, October 6. Check-in will begin at 3:30pm on Friday, October 11 and end at 6:30pm. Checkout will be at 10:00 am on Saturday, October 12.
6:00 pm - Supper
7:00 pm - Western Avenue's Got Talent
8:30 pm - Corn Hole Tournament
11:30 pm - Lights out
8:00 am - Breakfast
Reach Conference is our annual missions expo. What is your reach in missions? Have you ever stopped to think about how your prayers and encouragement are part of the mission of God?
At Reach Conference we will hear first-hand from IMB, CRU, and our mission partners about how you can reach out in missions across the world. There are no limits to how God can use you. Come and see where God is calling you serve Him here and around the world!
Western Avenue Baptist Church
1PM – 5PM (Kick-off in Worship Center)
FREE - No Sign-Up Needed.
At Western Avenue, we observe the Lord’s Supper every three months. We believe this is an ordinance established by Jesus for his followers and is therefore reserved only for believers. Perhaps, you were in service yesterday with you child and they had questions about the juice and the bread being passed out. Sometimes as a parent, it is difficult to know what to say in times like these. Do not dread these conversations. They are a great opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ with you child. We have prepared a simple booklet with come helpful explanations for you to read and talk with your children about the Lord’s Supper and about being a follower of Jesus.
Download it here or pick up a copy in the Worship Center.
Louise and I have been married 29 years and Louise will testify that it’s been the best 12 years of her life!
We are blessed to have three sons, Charlie and Matt Copeland and David Hudson. Charlie and Matt are sons from Louise’s previous marriage and David is the result of the marriage of Louise and myself. Thus, we are a family of five and the number of grandchildren currently stands at four.
Louise and I are both retired, free to follow migrating buffalo, explore the great Northeast Passage, or simply have an extra Danish with our morning coffee. God has blessed us.
Louise was a teacher in public education for 30 years in the local Iredell-Statesville school system --- loved the children and survived the politics. For 31 years I served the City of Statesville as Director of the Water and Wastewater Department and was mostly amused by politics. I also write a bi-weekly Sunday newspaper column in the Statesville Record & Landmark newspaper.
My column (A View From the Hudson) is in it’s 9th year of publication and described as humor and satire. I am also the author of “Big Decisions are Best Made with Hot Dogs”, a collection of stories about life, love, and growing up southern and Christian. The book is available in bookstores and Amazon.com.
I became a Christian at the age of 12 while watching a televised Billy Graham crusade. Dr. Graham caught my youthful attention as I was passing through our living room looking for a misplaced baseball glove. Louise accepted Christ at 16 years of age through the Methodist church and was later baptized in a local Baptist Church.
I served as a Youth Leader for 10 years in my home church, The Black Jack Original Free Will Baptist Church in Pitt county, North Carolina. I attended the Carolina Bible Institute in Pine Level, North Carolina and later served as pastor of the Sweet Gum Grove Free Will Baptist Church in Stokes, North Carolina. I have also served as deacon and Sunday School teacher at Oakdale Baptist Church before coming to Western Avenue.
Since coming to Western Avenue in 1999, I have served as a Sunday School teacher and substitute teacher for various classes. Louise and I are members of the Andy White Sunday School class and enjoy the class very much.
Why Western Avenue Baptist Church?
In 1999 we were looking for a church to resettle in and attended a service at Western Avenue. Skip Cartin captured our attention as he taught directly from the Bible, which impressed us greatly. We began to attend Western, tried out Andy White’s Sunday School class and decided to join the church. We’ve been in the class and church ever since.
Our decision to seek membership in Western Avenue was driven by a desire to hear the word of God preached from and according to, the Bible. We quickly realized sermons at Western Avenue, as well as policies and staff, were governed by scripture --- not social trends and political issues.
While Western Avenue offers the community wonderful blessings and ministries, one aspect stands out as particularly important to Louise and me: invitations are given for a person to accept Christ during a church service.
This has become rare, almost nonexistent, in many churches today that claim to follow the Bible. Western Avenue, through Jeff Spry, offers the gift of salvation to anyone willing to listen. We’re proud to belong to a church that does that.
Of special note is our pastor, Jeff Spry, and his preaching style.
I study the Bible and love commentary style preaching. I read Bible commentaries like some people read paperback novels. Commentary style preaching is rare these days as it requires study, prayer, and attention to detail, and must be delivered in a verbal style that holds a persons’ interest. Commentary preaching is not easy to do – its like explaining the technical manual for a rocket engine to a group of fifth graders and make it interesting. Not everyone can do it. However, Jeff Spry is specifically talented for this type of preaching. He’s a rare diamond in a world of gravel and dirt.
Louise and I appreciate many things about Western Avenue, not least is the hard work of the staff and the professionalism they constantly project. Western Avenue church services are wonderful for being a structured formal gathering yet wrapped in warmth and love as taught by our Lord. It’s a great place to get your spiritual batteries recharged.
We’re excited to be part of this church and as long as the Bible is taught and preached within it’s walls, and the gift of salvation is so freely and plainly offered, we hope to remain members and continue to grow in Christ.
There's still time to get tickets!
The Women's Ministry at WABC is honored to host "Beauty Marks Day of Hope!" presented by Linda and Jen Barrick Saturday, August 24, 9am - 2pm. Doors open at 8:30pm.
Tickets are $6 and can be purchased online here: https://www.westernavenue.org/beauty-marks-day-of-hope
Come and be forever changed as God whispers HOPE and HEALING to your heart. You will learn how to eliminate shame, discover purpose for your pain and improve the way you physically feel.
Invite your family and friends for a fun day of food and fellowship! Women ages 10 and up are welcome.
Andy and Melissa started dating in college in Wisconsin and were married 20 years as of August 6th. They have two kids – Brayden (15) and Lilly (almost 14). Andy has been the Purchasing Manager for William T. Burnett & Co for several years, and Melissa is the Quality and Operations Manager for Piedmont HealthCare. Brayden and Lilly will both attend North Iredell High School this year and are active in basketball and volleyball. Lilly also has big plans to someday play lacrosse.
Andy grew up in a Christian home and was always at church or church activities. He made a profession of faith when he was very young. Even though he believed in his heart, he always wondered if he said the words because he had grown up in church and that was what he was supposed to do. One day in college, he made a public affirmation of his belief in Jesus Christ and has never doubted since. Melissa was also raised in a Christian home and attended Independent Bible churches during childhood. She was saved at a young age following a Mother-Daughter banquet at church where the speaker discussed many things that made her question what would happen when she died. Both kids accepted Christ as well in elementary after the consistent teaching in the WABC children’s ministry.
Their family moved to NC in 2005 when Lilly was 2 months old and Brayden was 22 months old. WABC was the first church they visited, after scouring the internet for churches with a website that told more about their doctrinal beliefs and children’s ministry. On their first Sunday, Melissa told Andy that she felt like they were “home,” even though she couldn’t understand Skip’s southern accent very well. They visited other churches briefly and always came back to WABC, becoming members a couple of years later.
They had never gone to a church this size, and Melissa learned quickly that she needed to be proactive about finding a place that she could be involved as it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. In attempts to get to know people and be involved with music, she joined the choir several years ago, before moving on to play the keyboard and piano when needed. MOPS and working in the nursery also helped her to establish new friendships as a newbie at WABC. Andy has been involved with men’s basketball on Sunday nights for many years with Daniel Flowers and other church men. The kids have been very involved with activities over the years and are now adjusting to being in High School youth. Greg & Faith Mathews had a tremendous impact on both of them during middle school. Lilly has also been very involved with It’s Christmas since she was small.
Andy and Melissa appreciate the strong Gospel message being preached that challenges them every week. It doesn’t matter who the deliverer is, the message is consistent. Melissa also appreciates the strong music ministry. Brayden says he enjoys the fact that Jeff is interesting and Lilly’s favorite thing about WABC is attending Fall Retreat. The family looks forward to seeing the growth as a church its people step outside comfort zones and focus more on being welcoming, serving others in our church and community.
This week, we continue to meet our members at WABC and will get to know the Gallina family. John and Cori-Anne met while John was a construction manager and Cori-Anne was teaching at West Iredell Middle School in 2003. They have been married for 14 years and have three children; Jordan who is 18, Joseph who is 12, and Ella who is 9.
John was born and raised in Iredell County. He graduated from North Iredell High School in 1997 and is a member of various groups in the community and state. John joined the Army National Guard in 1995 and served until 2005. He was injured while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq in 2004. John is the CEO and co-founder of Purple Heart Homes which began in 2008. Purple Heart Homes is a non-profit organization that assists disabled veterans of all war eras by providing affordable housing assistance.
Cori-Anne was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Alaska. She lived in Alaska for 18 years before moving to North Carolina in 2000. Cori-Anne is a public school teacher and teaches at West Iredell Middle School. This will be her 17th year of teaching middle school.
Jordan enjoys baking and spending time with her friends and family. Joseph and Ella are involved in sports, baseball, soccer, volleyball and softball.
John was raised in a Baptist church. He accepted Christ when he was 13 years old and was baptized in 2003. Cori-Anne was raised in a Catholic home. She accepted Christ in high school and was baptized in 1998. Jordan accepted Christ in 2008 and was baptized in 2010. Joseph accepted Christ in 2015 and was baptized in 2015. Ella accepted Christ in 2018 and was baptized in 2018.
John and Cori-Anne joined Western Avenue Baptist July 1st 2017. They had been seeking God for direction on where to grow and serve in the church with their family. As they drove through town they would see Western Avenue, but had never been there. They went on the website to learn more about the church and started visiting in February 2017. They became members of the church about five months later. They felt God wanted them at Western Avenue to serve their community further. Currently, John and Cori-Anne serve on the Hospitality Committee and look forward to serving in additional areas as the Lord leads them. One thing that excites John and Cori-Anne is that their children enjoy their Sunday School class and learning about the Lord. They enjoy the many activities that Western Avenue provides and that they foster time for fellowship and friendship building, as well as fun Gospel learning.
This Sunday, we continued our study in Galatians with Paul’s teaching to the church in chapter 4. We sometimes think being a Christian is following certain rules, but Paul instructs that we have been saved by faith and we are to live life by faith. This passage looks back at the story of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael to compare the two sons to two types of people. One son is a slave (Ishmael) and one son is free (Isaac). Ishmael was born through the flesh and Isaac was born supernaturally from a woman who was barren before. They represent two covenants and two cities.
What Paul says next would have been shocking to his current reader. He says the sons of Hagar correspond to the present Jerusalem, spiritually and physically. They are not sons of Abraham, but sons of Ishmael. But, the Jerusalem above is free. You are sons of Sarah, in the line of Isaac. He refers to the Jerusalem that’s above, the new city that is coming down one day.
Then, Paul addresses his readers as “brothers” (writing to Gentiles) and tells them they are children of Isaac. God is able to make children of Ishmael, children of Isaac. This is the exclusive message of the Gospel – Jesus Christ alone. He says to be encouraged by persecution, because it shows you are children of the promise. We are to root out legalism, in our church and in our own heart. There is absolutely nothing we can do ourselves.
The law tells us we have to keep doing it and doing it and wake up again and work harder to do the same thing again tomorrow. But, we are children of the free woman. For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Anything we do for God shouldn’t be trying to please Him and make Him happy with us. It should be out of a heart that loves God, and as a gratitude for what He has done.
Daniel and Kaley met at North Iredell High School and started dating in 1994. They have been married for 18 years and have two daughters, Kaydan and Kelsey, who are 12 and 10. Daniel works for Energy United as a GIS Supervisor, and has been there for 20 years. Kaley is an accountant and works for a public accounting firm in Statesville. Both Kaydan and Kelsey are involved in sports, so most of the family's time is spent at practices and games.
Kaley is a Statesville native and grew up in a Baptist church here, one her Papaw helped to start. Her parents had her in church every time the doors were open. She was saved at the age of 8 and baptized. Daniel grew up attending a Methodist church until he and Kaley were married. He came to know Christ when he was 22 and was baptized.
The Flowers began attending WABC in 2011. They had been praying about visiting other churches when a sweet friend emailed Kaley out of the blue one day and invited her to an event at Western Avenue. It was a mom's night out hosted by Carrie Allen, so of course Kaley was hooked! They attended services that Sunday and have been here ever since. The size of the church was intimidating at first, but the people were so welcoming and friendly that the size didn't seem to matter anymore. They were looking for a church that offered opportunities for their children to learn and grow, a church that was biblically grounded, and a place where they could all meet other believers with whom to build relationships. They found all of that at Western Avenue.
When asked what their favorite thing about Western Avenue is, Kaydan and Kelsey both agreed on the children's ministry with Mrs. Ann, and that all of the teachers and helpers they've had on Sundays and Wednesdays are really kind.
Sometimes it's difficult in a bigger church to find where one "fits in," but Western Avenue seems to try to support lots of different ministries. Kaley helped to organize the Run for God classes at Western Avenue for several years, and was able to meet so many new friends through that. It was truly a blessing to be able to be a part of that and have the support of the church. Daniel has been organizing the men's basketball ministry on Sunday nights for the last couple of years and has enjoyed being able to meet other men through that.
The Flowers appreciate that the Bible is taught and the gospel is preached at Western Avenue every single week. They have learned so much through the sermons and Bible studies that are offered here. They are looking forward to continuing to grow spiritually, continuing to meet other members, and hopefully get plugged in to other ministry opportunities.
Joey and Robin Gilleland have been coming to Western Avenue ever since they visited one spring Sunday in 1985. The Gillelands have been married for 37 years (June 27, 1982) and are the parents of three grown children: Melissa Collins of Statesville (son-in-law Mark Collins), Amanda Ponder of Charlotte (son-in-law Chris Ponder) and Alex Gilleland of Raleigh. They have eight grandchildren – Knox, Piper, Ezra, Satchel, Oaks, Alvie, Asa and Clementine.
Joey is an Investment Advisor Representative with Client One Securities, LLC. Robin was a Special Education Teacher in the Newton Conover School System. She retired after 32 years in October of last year. She now volunteers as a reading tutor and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren.
Robin became a Christian at the age of 9 while attending Hebron Baptist. Joey became a Christian attending Bible School at the age of 8. Their church background is both Baptist. Early in their marriage they attended Hebron Baptist Church. They were friends with Betty Jo McLelland and Mike & Judy Lafone. They were always super super excited about Western Avenue, so the Gillelands decided to check it out. They visited one spring Sunday in 1985. Robin remembers being visited by Sanford Sain and other members who have since moved. They’ve been coming to WABC ever since.
They decided to join because of a combination of several things. They liked Ralph Carter’s preaching, being in Steve Johnson’s Sunday School class had a positive impact on them, everyone was friendly and from day one they felt right at home. From the very beginning they could sense that the mission at WABC was about Jesus Christ and to “GO” everywhere to tell the world about Him.
Robin has served in the nursery, VBS, WMU, helped with GAs, Mission Friends, chaperoned youth trips and helped with whatever their children were involved in. She has been in the choir, participated in London Bridges in the past and continues to have an interest in serving on mission teams here in Statesville and other places around the world. Joey currently serves on the greeting team and is part of the Kairos Prison group at WABC that serves Alexander Correctional Institution.
The Gillelands appreciate the leadership at WABC and see so many opportunities at WABC to be involved in what God is going. They like that WABC is mission minded in outreach to the community and the world. They also enjoy the music ministry. All three of their children grew up at WABC with Brian Burgess and Mark Collins having a great impact on their lives. They see God using this church family in so many places and are excited about WABC’s unity toward the mission of sharing the Gospel.
This week, we will get to know Carl and Lynn Dunkin. Carl’s father was a Baptist minister in East Texas and Carl accepted Jesus at a young age. Lynn’s story is long, but here is the fast version: Born into Catholicism, 2 years of Catholic school, wanted to be a nun, parents divorced, attended Lutheran, Episcopal churches, Jewish stepfather, attended Jewish Temple. Thankfully in 4thgrade, after telling her mother she could not be Jewish because she believed in Jesus, her mom allowed her to go to church with a good friend where she attended Sunday school and GAs with her. She attended her aunt’s Methodist church in Middle and High school and was very active in the youth group. She became a Christian in that youth group.
Carl and Lynn met in Physical Therapy school. Carl was working as a choir director at a local Baptist Church and when they became closer, Lynn was baptized into the Baptist church. They were married in 1986 and attended Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas. They moved to Statesville in 1994 with their 2 children, Leslie and Kayla, when Carl accepted the position of director of Rehab at Iredell Memorial Hospital. They immediately met some great friends and joined a sister church in this area even though it was very different in the style of worship they were used to. After some time, they became hungry for more expository bible teaching from the pulpit and Carl was missing choir. (They had an amazing, Bible teaching Sunday school teacher!) Their children were attending Statesville Christian School and they decided to visit WABC. After several months of attending both churches, they asked their children which church they felt would be best for their family. “Western Avenue” was the answer and when asked why, they said, “Because they teach the Bible!”. Well out of the mouths of babes, that was it! They joined WABC around 1997. Carl joined the choir, which he still loves today! The Dunkins have served in many areas of the church; 4-6thgrade choir leaders and high school Sunday school shepherds. Carl has served on the personnel committee and as a deacon. Lynn is currently serving in Good News Club. They raised their girls here, and watched them grow and mature in the Lord. Carl and Lynn are so thankful for their godly son in laws and the blessing to watch their grown children, raising their grandchildren in the church with the Lord at the center of their lives.
After 22 years at Western Avenue, the Dunkins love this church more now than ever. The people of this church are their friends, family, brothers and sisters in Christ. They are so grateful for our staff, led by Skip Cartin and Jeff Spry, and their faithful teaching of God’s word. They are thankful Jesus and the gospel is the priority of this church. They look forward to the continued Biblical teaching, continued growth in the Lord and relationships with our church family. They look forward to seeing how the Lord will continue to grow WABC to impact the community of Statesville and continue to spread the gospel around the world.
Josh and Erica Goodnight have been married for 11 years in June. They met in Salisbury through mutual friends, were engaged nine months after dating and married nine months after engagement! The Goodnights have 2 children, Gage (age 8) and Ross (age 6). The couple owns Union Grove Lumber, which is an international lumber brokerage firm. They actively operate 7 warehouses throughout the United States, import from a number of countries, and ship to all 50 states and Canada. Their business, along with their growing boys, keep their family very busy. The family enjoys vacationing every chance they can get away from school and work!
Josh grew up attending church in Neel Road Baptist Church in Salisbury and was saved at a church youth camp. He was later baptized before marrying Erica at the church they were both attending and were wed in, Fairview Baptist Church in Statesville. Erica also was raised in church with her grandfather, Rev. Allen Lunsford, pastoring at Union Grove Christian Church in Union Grove. She was saved and baptized at age 8. Gage was dedicated to Christ at Fairview Baptist Church and in 2018 chose to accept Jesus as his savior and was baptized at Western Avenue Baptist Church. Ross is still learning and growing his walk with Christ; he loves his Sunday school class, teacher, and classmates.
Josh and Erica joined WABC in 2013 shortly after Ross was born. They arrived at Western Avenue after researching churches that would be a great fit to raise children in. They desired for their church body to embrace their children and nurture them to know Christ. They were welcomed with open arms and led around on their first Sunday visiting by Ed Dearman. Shortly thereafter, they found an adult Sunday school to call their own. The Goodnights decided to join WABC after their children made obvious declarations that they loved their church. It was at that point they knew that this was the church God intended for their family. Their children are happy and learning the word while Josh and Erica are filled with the spirit each Sunday; their family can carry these feelings with them through the week.
Over the nearly 6 years that Josh and Erica have attended WABC, they stay connected through their Sunday school and the kids’ department. Erica has also served as a teacher for Equipping University and she currently serves on the Daughters By Grace (Women’s ministry team) along with the Finance Committee for the church.
If asked to name one thing that is most appreciated about WABC, the Goodnights would all agree- the Children’s Ministry. Without youth in a church, the church body is dying. The body at WABC is growing, vibrant and strong. The future is always unknown, but with a focus on the children of this world, an organization cannot go wrong. WABC has the right focus, the new building campaign is a great goal, and one that Josh and Erica stand behind 100%. Seeing it to fruition excites Josh, Erica, Gage and Ross alike.