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Meet Our Members: Joe and Louise Hudson

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

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.

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, August 19, 2019

Beauty Marks - Day of Hope! is Almost Here!

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:

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.

Posted by Greg Mathews at Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Meet Our Members: The Haines Family

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.

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, August 12, 2019

Meet Our Members: The Gallinas

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.

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, August 5, 2019

Freedom in Christ

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. 

Posted by Meredith Collins at Thursday, August 1, 2019

Wednesday Night 7/31

This Wednesday, 7/31, we will plan for our final Front Yard Fellowship (FYF) starting at 4:15. Come whenever you can and we will hopefully have inflatables, snow cones, outdoor games and fun, weather permitting! And don't forget the Tony's Taco Truck! You can plan on buying from the truck, buying from Box Car (please reserve by noon today!), or bringing a picnic. Then, at 6:30pm, adults will be in the worship center with Ricky & Connie Darnell speaking on "From Impoverished to Empowered". Preschoolers, Avenue Kids, middle school, and high school will have their regular classes. Have a great week!
Posted by Greg Mathews at Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Meet Our Members: The Flowers Family

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. 

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, July 15, 2019

Beauty Marks Day of Hope Women's Event

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:

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.

Posted by Meredith Collins at Thursday, July 11, 2019

Wednesday Night 7/10

This Wednesday, 7/10, we will plan for our regular Front Yard Fellowship (FYF) starting at 4:15. Come whenever you can and we will hopefully have outdoor games and fun, weather permitting! Then, at 6:30pm, adults, students, and Avenue Kids will be in the worship center with Mark Collins speaking on "The Lord Our Shield". Preschoolers will have their regular classes. Have a great week!
Posted by Meredith Collins at Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Meet Our Members: Joey and Robin Gilleland

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.

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, July 8, 2019

Meet Our Members: Carl and Lynn Dunkin

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.  

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, July 1, 2019

Wednesday night 6/26

This Wednesday night, June 26, we will resume our regular summer schedule with Front Yard Fellowship (FYF) starting at 4:15. Come when you can to play games and fellowship with our church family. If you'd like to order Box Car for dinner, please register by Tuesday at noon. You are welcome to bring a picnic dinner for you and your family as well. Classes will start at 6:30. Preschool and Avenue Kids will have normal classes. All youth and adults will be in the Worship Center and Ellen Fox will be speaking on "Emotionally Intelligent Husbands: The Key to a Satisfying Marriage." Join us for a fun time of fellowship, food and some great information to strengthen our marriages. See you Wednesday!
Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, June 24, 2019

Meet Our Members: The Goodnights

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.

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, June 24, 2019

Meet Our Members: Doug and Donna Rowland

Doug (aka “The Amen Guy”) and Donna Rowland met while Doug was in Bible college at what is now Liberty University. On weekends Doug was a supply pastor at a small Southern Baptist Church in Cleveland, VA. He was only 17 years old. Donna was a charge R.N. at a local hospital and Doug was an orderly. The very second he saw her he wanted to date her. The problem was he was engaged to another girl! To make a long story short, he broke up with the young lady and began dating Donna. He asked Donna to marry him after their first date, and that’s been 42 years ago now! They have two daughters, Laura-Beth and Jennifer, and seven wonderful grandchildren. 

Doug has been in the ministry for 45 years now and has pastored five churches. While pastoring his third church, he began receiving many invitations to preach revivals in other churches. They then moved to Candler, NC, to pastor a church where The Primitive quartet were members. They sang for a living all over the mid-eastern US. Doug had to make a choice between pastoring or going into evangelism, and they chose evangelism for the past 22 years. 

Doug was saved at age 11. The popular Oliver B Greene was in a revival at his church and one night preached on "What’s Worse Than Going to Hell". Doug went home and went to bed but could not sleep. He finally called for his mother and dad to come to his room. They asked him what was wrong, and he told them he needed to be saved. He has been born-again 53 years now without any doubt that Christ is his Savior. His mother had always played the piano and his dad taught Sunday School. Doug was raised his entire life in a Baptist church.

Doug had an accident before moving to North Carolina. A truck hit him head on and he broke his back in three places. For a few years, he was unable to go outside, much less go to church. One day they received a flyer in the mail inviting them to WABC. Donna visited the church and found that God was leading her to a place that was meeting her spiritual needs and filling a huge void. She began to tell Doug how friendly everyone was to her and that he would love it there. When he could go, he went several Sundays. Once again, an accident happened when Doug had a very bad compound break in his ankle. He was in rehab about one hour away and one day Pastor Jeff came to see him. When he got out of rehab that day, he decided that WABC was a church that meets the needs of everyone from infant to elderly.

Doug had decided he was going to try and minister to churches that were small yet felt they could not have preachers because of their money situation. Word got out that he was taking meetings again. Doug and Donna wanted a home church that would back their leading into this new type of ministry. It has been almost three years ago that they joined with the support of WABC, other churches and individuals into a different type of evangelism. Doug saw that the church was supporting a family (the Boyds) and thought maybe they would be willing to help them being in evangelism and they have. 

Doug is excited to be a part of WABC because it does meet the needs of everyone. Because of being gone in revivals and Bible conferences, Doug says he hasn’t been able to do as much directly as he would like to. However, he feels he is getting to the point where he cannot travel as much as he could one day. He would love to one day be able to teach on personal evangelism to those who may be wanting to learn. He has preached at Liberty University and was invited to preach at the Georgia State Fair. He has been able to preach at the late Dr. Adrian Rogers’s church and other well-known places. However, he feels WABC offers as much in their music, education and conservative preaching than any of the places he has had the honor to speak at. Doug and Donna hope they can use their many years of experiences to be a blessing at WABC, a place they are so honored to be a part of. 

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, June 10, 2019

Ice Cream and Illusions is Tomorrow (6/7/2019)!

You will not want to miss this event! Ice Cream and Illusions is TOMORROW (June 7) at 7:00 pm! Featuring Christian Illusionist Andy Lackey in the Western Avenue Baptist Church Fellowship Hall and followed by ice cream, it is going to be a great, free, family fun event! See you there!
Posted by Greg Mathews at Thursday, June 6, 2019

Front Yard Fellowship 6/5/2019: Weather Update

Due to the current and forecasted rain, the outside activities for this evening have been canceled.  Our regular meal and whole church worship will continue indoors!  Please feel free to bring your picnic inside (if you were bringing one) and join us to sing and hear from Andy Lackey in the Worship Center.
Posted by Greg Mathews at Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Front Yard Fellowship Starts THIS Wednesday, June 5

This summer, we will have a time of fellowship and fun before our Wednesday night services. The Front Yard Fellowship kicks off this Wednesday, June 5, at 4:15pm (come whenever you can). We will have inflatables, games and snow cones. Kids can bring their riding toys too. The Boxcar Wednesday night meal will still occur - if you want to register for that, please do so by noon on Tuesday. All ages (above preschool) will worship together in the Worship Center at 6:30. Andy Lackey will be speaking. Make plans to be there!
Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, June 3, 2019

Wednesday Front Yard Fellowship

This summer, we will have a time of outdoor fellowship prior to our regular Wednesday night scheduled events. Front Yard Fellowship 2019 will kickoff June 5 with inflatables and sno-cones. The front parking lot will be blocked off so kids can ride their bikes and riding toys. The yard will be open for lawn games (Kan Jam, Spikeball, Bulzibucket, Cornhole) or to bring a lawn chair and enjoy some time just talking. You can either bring a picnic for your family or sign up for the Wednesday night fellowship meal through Boxcar. Food trucks will also be available two Wednesday nights in place of the Boxcar meal. The fellowship beings at 4:15, but feel free to come whenever you would like. We will disperse to classes at 6:00pm. 
Posted by Meredith Collins at Thursday, May 23, 2019

Sermon: Psalm 13

This past Sunday, we studied Psalm 13, a Psalm of Lament. The Psalm follows the typical Psalm of Lament pattern as we see David go from a complaint to a cry to confidence. David feels very forgotten by God. Asking how long God will turn his face from him. We know, though, God will never leave us. God’s face is always turned toward us. No matter where you are in life, God is by you, leading you, holding you in the palm of his hand. 

In verses 3-4, we see the cry of David pleading with God to answer him. Then, we see David transition to the confidence he has in the Lord. But, I have trusted in your steadfast love. We see where he now has confidence in the Lord and the goodness of the Lord that he will deliver him. He has confidence in the goodness and graciousness of the Lord. 

We can choose to trust in God’s goodness and mercy even when things feel like they are not good. When you take your complaint and combine it with your confidence, you get hope. Then you can rejoice! 

Posted by Meredith Collins at Thursday, May 23, 2019

Vacation Bible School June 17-21

It's getting to be that time of year... summer is on the horizon and you may be starting to plan your summer days! Block off Monday, June 17 - Friday, June 21 for an awesome week of "In the Wild!" Vacation Bible School at WABC. Details are available on our website here. Sign ups open on May 13. 
Posted by Meredith Collins at Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Save the Date for Ice Cream and Illusions Event!

You will not want to miss this event! Go ahead and mark your calendar now for June 7 at 7:00 pm. We will be hosting Ice Cream and Illusions featuring Christian Illusionist Andy Lackey in the Western Avenue Baptist Church fellowship hall. A great, free, family fun event! See you there!
Posted by Meredith Collins at Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Meet Our Members: Henry and Philis Joyner

Henry and Philis Joyner have been married 59 years and will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on August 1. Henry grew up attending Western Avenue Baptist, the only church he has ever been a member. Philis joined WABC after she and Henry were married. They had an agreement they would attend whichever church they lived closest to once they were married. Thankfully, they ended up living closer to WABC than the church Philis had attended, so WABC would become their church until this very day. Philis said that Wendell Davis was instrumental in her decision to continue at WABC, as he would continually come by their home and share a meal with her and Henry.

Henry and Philis used to be involved with the WABC bus ministry where they would go out on Saturday mornings and make visits in the community. Then on Sunday morning, they would pick up some of the people they had met the day before and bring them to church. Henry and Philis said that one of the great traits that WABC has always had is that they would be accepting of anyone who came to visit the church, regardless of their gender, race, or social status. He says the folks at WABC have always stuck together in the good times and the bad. They have experienced first-hand how the unity of the church family has remained strong.

Henry and Philis believe God has them at WABC so they can serve the church body. They are usually the first ones to arrive Sunday morning as Philis is one of our greeters and Henry gets the bulletins ready to be distributed. They love the people at WABC as they consider them as family. Their favorite thing about WABC is that the truth is always taught. Henry commented about ever since he has attended, the Lord has always blessed the church with a close and faithful staff.

As Henry and Philis look at the future of WABC, they say they are right now most excited about this new building campaign. They are excited to see both how our children will have their own place to grow in their walk with the Lord, and also really see the need for a larger area for our church family to connect.

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, April 29, 2019

Meet Our Members: The Andersons

Aaron and Rachelle Anderson have been married 15 years and have two children: Alexis, age 9, and Seth, age 7. They both were saved at a young age and attended church with their families every Sunday. Meeting at a singles bible study, they began dating, and were married in 2003.  

They moved from Florida to Mooresville in 2014 to work in financial planning at DFS Advisors and immediately started looking for a new church. After visiting multiple churches, they heard about Western Avenue and decided to try it out. The first time they visited, Pastor Skip Cartin introduced himself and made them feel welcome; he even remembered who they were the following week which is difficult at churches the size of Western Avenue. The music was great (the choir sang Rachelle's favorite song!), people were friendly, the preaching was expository and biblical, and there was a vibrant children's ministry. They realized that the search was over; this was their new church.  They became members in 2015.

Aaron currently serves in the audio ministry, running the Facebook live and the radio feeds. Rachelle serves in the music ministry.  Both of their children attend Avenue Kids every week. One of the things they love most about the church is the emphasis placed on teaching children about God and doing it in such fun, creative ways. Alexis had been eagerly wanting to join a sports team, but when she found out that practices would be on Wednesdays, she backed out so that she wouldn't miss Avenue Kids. When a kid picks church over sports, you know that God is present in that church and his hand is guiding them in what they do. They are looking forward to what God has in store for us as we embark on the IGNITE initiative.

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, April 22, 2019

Meet Our Members: The Andrews Family

Bryan and Keg Andrews met in the summer of 1985 when they were both counselors on a trip that takes kids out west for 23 days, camping all the way. They hiked the Grand Canyon down and back in a day, sometimes didn’t take a bath for three days, and drove 8,500 miles in two Dodge maxi-vans with trailers, complete with two counselors and 15 kids in each van. They say it was a great way to meet because you can learn a lot about a person in such a setting!

Bryan and Keg started dating when they returned and got engaged 1/1/1986. They were married 10/11/1986. Bryan is originally from Statesville and Keg from Salisbury. They moved to Charlotte right after their marriage and lived there until 1990. They visited different churches along the lines of denominations they were a part of prior to marriage (Bryan was Methodist and Keg was Lutheran). They had both been very active in their churches growing up. Bryan was even hired to work with the youth of his church on the weekends in addition to his regular work. 

After a pastor left the church they were attending in Charlotte, a friend invited them to Forest Hill Presbyterian Church. They attended and were immediately struck by the very intentional nature of the church and by the many things they had never experienced. Pastor David Chadwick spoke about “God not grading on a curve” and they held the hands of those beside them as they stood in church to pray for one another. Romans 3:23 pierced both of their hearts at about the same time in 1987: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” They had thought of themselves as good people, moral people, but both became convicted of the fact that they were sinners who had a total need for a total Savior. 

Bryan used to think of his faith as one segment of a total pie, and prior to knowing Jesus Christ as his Savior, he would have said that “religion” or “church” was one slice of the pie, along with family, business, health and diet, finances, community, etc. But then he realized that it was not just “religion” or “church”, but it was about a relationship with the God of the universe, and Jesus Christ was the incredible crust of that pie, the entire pie – He was the wonderful foundation. And He makes each piece of the pie the very best that it can possibly be by being the foundation as well as the filling of every piece of the pie. And best of all, He is the topping of this pie – the topping that vastly exceeds any other topping.  

Their Sunday School class at Forest Hill consisted of folks around their age, many of whom had known the Lord for many years, and many like Bryan and Keg who were new to their faith. They took a great 2-year Bible study course called Bethel Bible that included memorizing verses and an overview of God’s Word. They still have so many of those verses in their minds and hearts and they have helped them in all areas of their lives, as His Word always does. Bryan was in a small group of guys who discipled him in the faith. It was a most wonderful time in their lives, and they still stay in touch with folks from that church.

When Sydney, their oldest daughter, was born in February of 1990, they moved back to Statesville (back for Bryan, first time for Keg). They knew they wanted to raise their family in Statesville and this worked well for Bryan’s job. They began looking at church opportunities. They looked at Bryan’s home church and churches across Statesville. They even looked into the possibility of planting an Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC – the same denomination as Forest Hill) in Statesville and met with David Chadwick about that. But they were invited by dear friends, Gary and Susan Miller, to come to Western Avenue, and they did. They were looking for a church that taught the true Word of God and a pastor who would rightly divide the Scriptures. They wanted a place where they could truly worship God with fellow believers in Christ Jesus. They wanted a place where they could pray with brothers and sisters and build into their lives and vice versa. They wanted a place where they could raise Sydney and any other children they might be blessed with in the discipline and admonition of the Lord. And they wanted a place where they felt good about inviting anyone to for hearing the wonderful Truth that sets men free. Their whole family has been blessed with all these things and so much more. 

They are so very thankful for a place that teaches the Word of God so well and has such a dedication to this. WABC is a wonderful conglomeration of folks from many different backgrounds and denominations. Bryan and Keg appreciate the fact that the emphasis is upon it being a Christian church more so than a primary emphasis upon a denominational connection – not that this isn’t important, but WABC is a church that spans many age ranges which is important.  WABC has a rich heritage of seeking to serve our great God. The Andrews family has been stretched and grown in wonderful ways with missions opportunities through WABC. They appreciate serving alongside Christian brothers and sisters who love God, the study of His Word, and have a desire to make Him known near and far.

Sydney is married now, and she and her husband Cody live in Greensboro. They moved there in 2012 to be a part of a church plant from The Summit Church (along with 35 other people) that has become Mercy Hill Church. This church has now planted/is planting three other churches. Ross, their middle daughter, just moved to Atlanta and works as a textile designer. She currently attends Mt. Vernon Baptist. Ellie, their youngest, just graduated from Liberty University. All three daughters have been involved with Campus Outreach (CO) in college, and Bryan and Keg are very thankful for CO and their whole approach to campus ministry, sharing the Gospel, and discipleship.  Brian and Keg both graduated from Davidson College. Keg is a very busy full-time homemaker, and Brian is a Financial Advisor with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and has been with them for 42 years this summer.  

The Andrews family is so very thankful for their time at Western Avenue and the incredible blessing of this body of Christ. Bryan remembers when they were visiting for several years, and then in 1993 they announced that Skip Cartin was going to be pastor, and he and Keg looked at each other and said, “Happy, happy day!” They joined shortly thereafter and have been so very thankful for Skip and Caroline. Now they get to enjoy and grow with Jeff and Ambra. Western Avenue has been an incredible place to raise their three girls and for their whole family to be grown in the Word, reach out to others with the Gospel, and seek to impact the world for Christ.  

Bryan and Keg have been blessed to serve as Sunday School teachers and shepherds. Keg has worked in the nursery, with Good News Club, and has been instrumental in starting a Women’s Bible Study that has grown over the years. Bryan has been blessed to serve as a deacon over the years and has been involved with men’s groups and outreaches. Bryan and Keg, and other families, were and are blessed to be a part of Statesville Christian School, that WABC has so graciously housed on a rent-free basis since its opening in 1995. Bryan says he can think of no better use during the week for the building and facilities of this church than a place where there can be an education based on Truth – where there can be a cord of three strands – family, church, and school – that is not easily broken. The Andrews family has been very involved with the school, and pray that the school has been, is, and will be a blessing to this church the same way they pray the church has been, is, and will be to Statesville Christian School.

The Andrews family truly loves Western Avenue Baptist Church and the people of this church. They pray greatly for the future of this place and look forward with great joy to what God has for this body of Christ! There are many challenges posed by our society and many issues that we face as Christians today. How do we build people, marriages, families, communities, the world in Jesus Christ? Bryan and Keg believe that as Christians we are moral agents for reconciliation and redemption in a fallen world.  And they pray that we would first and foremost be a church that prays and knows His Word, and that we would seek to share the Gospel and impact the world for Jesus Christ.  

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, April 15, 2019

Meet Our Members: The Carsons

Mark and Kim Carson have been married for 28 years and have two children, July (19) and Ellie (16). Mark teaches at Lake Norman High School and Kim works as an MRI Technologist at Iredell Memorial Hospital. July is a freshman at Wingate University and Ellie is a sophomore at Lake Norman High School.

For as long as Mark can remember, Western Avenue Baptist Church has been an integral part of his life. His parents, as well as other relatives, were active in the church at the “old” original site of the church on Western Avenue before he was born. His parents were members and also custodians of the church for years. Mark was a nursery baby at the “old” WABC site in the late 1960s. He remembers fondly as a kid “riding” the floor buffing machine that was wielded by his dad, helping his parents clean windows, helping vacuum the massive vintage sanctuary and helping clean the many church bathrooms weekly (at least 22 bathrooms!). 

His grandmother, Marie Mahaffey, was the bus director of the WABC church bus ministry on the Southside of Statesville for a time, as well. He remembers riding those WABC church buses to church from time to time and being taken care of by bus volunteers such as Mary Carol Lowry and others, who watched over the kids while the driver made sure the kids made it to church safely. 

Once safely at church, he attended Sunday School taught by dedicated and loving teachers. He remembers “Children’s Church”, fall festivals that drew kids from the community, and great Sunday School teachers, too many to name here, and many of whose names he can’t recall, but whose work lives on in his life and the countless lives of others. As he grew older, Mark became a member of troop 360, which met at the original church site and was sponsored by the church. The troop served as an extension of the church because it drew many young boys to the church from the community, and its leaders, like Mark’s dad, were believers and church members. 

As a youth, Mark attended a WABC church revival with his family in the summer of 1977 and went to the front of the church and accepted Christ into his heart. He was baptized soon thereafter. He took part in the church youth choir and went on many singing tour mission trips with the youth. When the church moved to its current site on Museum Road in the 1980s, it was natural that Mark’s family would follow to serve. Later, Mark married Kim and they had children who also attended WABC regularly. Kim was raised in a Wesleyan Church tradition. Soon after they were married, she became a member and was baptized. Their children have become believers through the ministry of the church and the fine teachers and volunteers. 

Over the years, Mark and Kim served as nursery volunteers and as young children’s Sunday School teachers. Mark has also served as a church van driver for the elderly and as a Young Married Couples Sunday School teacher. Mark and Kim currently attend David Moss’s Sunday School class. 

The Carsons appreciate that WABC always strives to stand strictly on the Word of God in all matters. The teaching in Sunday School, the preaching, the missions outreach, all have one goal, to spread the Good News and glorify God. WABC has avoided all the periphery issues that often fragment churches and diminish the ministry of God. Another strength of WABC is that it always attempts to put the spiritual and physical needs of people first. Mark feels that without the dedication of his parents and the influence of WABC, he may not have come to know Christ at all,or may not know Him the way he knows Christ today. The Carsons thank God that WABC still maintains its focus on the Gospel, which is evident in its outreach in the community through Vacation Bible School, missions, church musicals and many other God-centered programs. 

As Mark looks to the future, he is excited about new service opportunities. The church offers so many opportunities to serve God and be involved in the ministry that the options are limitless. He is excited about what direction God will lead a new generation of church believers as they guide the church. He is also excited about our current church leadership because they bring new ideas to the service of God that refresh our approach and draws new people to Christ to serve Him. 

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, April 8, 2019

Joy Prom Guest Registration Opens Today (April 8)

Joy Prom, hosted by WABC's disability ministry Just As I Am, will be May 3. Guest registration opens today, April 8. Register early because this event always fills up fast! Click here to register now!
Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, April 8, 2019

Celebrate Easter Sunday at Western Avenue

Celebrate Easter with us at Western Avenue, Sunday, April 21. We rejoice because He is risen! Choose a service time that best fits your schedule: 8:30am, 9:45am and 11:00am. No Sunday School. Preschool childcare will be provided. Find more information here to plan your visit. 
Posted by Meredith Collins at Friday, April 5, 2019

Meet Our Members: The Clendenins

Matt and Kim Clendenin started attending Western Avenue when their daughter was born and then joined in 2006. They have two children, Emma and Sam, and have been married for 16 years. They work together at R. Gregory Jewelers and love the relationships they build through their business. 

Kim grew up in another local Baptist church and Matt in a local Presbyterian church. They attended church on Sundays, but after having a child, they felt it was time to be more serious. They knew they wanted to raise their family in an active church with active youth. Growing up in Statesville, Kim went to school with WABC youth and could always see the difference in them. She could tell the Western Avenue kids seemed more grounded. They knew Western Avenue was where they wanted to raise their family. After about a year of attending, they knew this was where God clearly wanted them to call home. 

The Clendenins have been so excited to serve at WABC in several different capacities from helping with Joy Prom, serving meals for Christianity Explored classes and being in It’s Christmas. Matt is on the safety team. Kim and Emma have been able to be a part of London Bridges the past several years.

This family says there is so much to appreciate about Western Avenue. The staff is amazing. Kim appreciates the way they came alongside her family when her father passed away and the way they just support families in everyday life. The Clendenins cherish all the friendships they’ve made and wouldn’t have without this church. They also love the way WABC has introduced them to missions, something they hadn’t really ever thought about. By being given the opportunity to go, it has profoundly impacted their lives and something they will be forever grateful for. 

They are so excited about the future at WABC. This church has such a heart and vision for not only impacting the local community, but also the world and they can’t wait to see where God leads. 

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, April 1, 2019

Joy Prom Volunteer Registration Opens Today (April 1)

Joy Prom volunteer registration opens today, April 1. Click here to register. We need over 300 volunteers to make this event possible!
Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, April 1, 2019

Joy Prom Registration

Just As I Am, the disability ministry at WABC, will host our fifth annual Joy Prom Friday, May 3. There are some important dates coming up regarding registration we want to make you aware of. 

Volunteer registration opens April 1. You can click here to get more information about what is involved in being a volunteer. We need 300+ volunteers to make this event possible!

Joy Prom guest registration opens April 8. Plan to register early as this event always fills up fast. Learn more about Joy Prom here

We are looking forward to another great event!


Posted by Meredith Collins at Saturday, March 23, 2019

IGNITE... One Verse at a Time

I’m excited about IGNITE because we serve a God who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). I am excited to see how God exceeds all of our imaginations as he brings glory to himself in the church and in Christ Jesus for many generations to come (Ephesians 3:21).

- Mark Collins

What verse sums up your excitement for IGNITE?

Posted by Greg Mathews at Saturday, March 23, 2019

IGNITE - Third Sunday

This Sunday will be our third week into our IGNITE series. We get to see how God wants to use IGNITE to work through us to resource His mission for our church. Join us!
Posted by Meredith Collins at Friday, March 22, 2019

IGNITE... One Verse at a Time

The verse that comes to my mind when I think of the IGNITE program is Psalm 139:13-14:

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:13–14)

Our Lord has given our church so many precious children, and as the psalmist tells us they are each fearfully and wonderfully made. It is exciting to see how a major part of IGNITE is to minister to these wonderful gifts from Almighty God. This verse also lies at the core of the Just As I Am ministry. It is encouraging to see that our church places such a high value upon those children and adults who have special needs, and they are part of IGNITE as well.

- Andy Lackey

What verse lies at the core of your heart for IGNITE?  Share with us!

Posted by Greg Mathews at Friday, March 22, 2019

IGNITE... One Verse at a Time

My IGNITE verse is Matthew 19:14 - "but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

 - Ann Veach

What about you?  Share with us below!

Posted by Greg Mathews at Thursday, March 21, 2019

IGNITE... One Verse at a Time

When Linda and I began our life together as newlyweds thirty years ago in Statesville, the Lord led us to Western Avenue.  The first time we visited we knew it was home and joined the church the following Sunday.  We immediately fell in love with the church family and music ministry.  We experienced the blessings of a mature godly generation pouring into and influencing our new life together.  We also experienced a church family truly teaching and studying God’s Word.  Within a couple of years, the two of us began teaching 5th grade Sunday school and experienced the opportunity to pour our lives into the children attending Sunday school in the same way that others had poured into ours.  As time passed the Lord blessed us with our daughter, Ashlee.  Once  again, we experience The Lord’s blessings through the love, guidance and instruction of godly men and women, not only in our lives as new parents, but in Ashlee’s as well.  Ashlee, now grown is married to a fine young man.  Linda and I are thankful for son-in-law Preston.  We praise The Lord in seeing them both actively serving and ministering through the youth ministry at Western Avenue. 

Our verse for the Ignite Initiative is Psalm 145:4-7:

One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of Your majesty,  and on Your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of Your awesome deeds, and I will declare Your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of Your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.

We are eternally grateful for the influence of past generations that have guided, taught and loved us and we praise God for the opportunity to do the same with the generations that are coming behind us.  We are excited to see God at work and look forward in seeing what He will do through the journey of IGNITE.

- Rodney Harrison

What verse helps you feel connected to what God is doing through IGNITE? Tell us!

Posted by Greg Mathews at Wednesday, March 20, 2019

IGNITE... One Verse at a Time

When I think about what we as a church body are trying to accomplish with IGNITE, I think about Ephesians 4:15-16:

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

All of us participating together to create community and reach children is a way that now and in the long run we can "grow up in every way into Him."  I'm excited about the new tools this will give us to grow ourselves and children more in Christ-likeness.

- Greg Mathews

What verse comes to mind when you think about IGNITE?  Tell us below!

Posted by Greg Mathews at Tuesday, March 19, 2019

IGNITE... One Verse at a Time

Last week I was going through the papers from my daughter’s bookbag. She had drawn and doodled during indoor recess and right there on top of her clipboard was written “God will always be with me.” Whew! That got right to my heart… that she would be thinking of that while at school and write it down on her paper?! 

We’ve been working on memorizing the verse Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” This was also a topic of one of the recent lessons from Avenue Kids on Wednesday nights. As a parent, to watch your child learn and make connections from what they are talking about at church is amazing. 

Joshua 1:9 is my Ignite verse because I can see God at work in the lives of children during this very impressionable time. I am excited to better equip the children’s ministry with the designated space they need to grow and better meet the needs of our students – ultimately so they can learn more about Jesus! God is with us wherever we go! As we go into this Ignite initiative…. He is with us and I am excited to see where He will lead us!  

- Meredith Collins

What verse helps you feel connected to what God is doing through IGNITE?  Tell us!

Posted by Greg Mathews at Friday, March 15, 2019

IGNITE... One Verse at a Time

We are excited about the initiative to create more fellowship space at WABC through IGNITE.   Matthew 18:  20 states, “ For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”  Re-creating and enlarging the current foyer area will promote gathering together in small groups in His presence, a blessing for all involved.

- Mike & Janet Bonner

What verse has you excited about IGNITE?  Tell us!

Posted by Greg Mathews at Thursday, March 14, 2019

IGNITE... One Verse at a Time

We are excited to IGNITE because of Galatians 2:20 - " I have been crucified with Christ, an it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me an gave Himself up for me." Because Christ lives in us, we can live generously, love children and care for the community in the church body. We are ready to IGNITE!!!

- Carl & Lynn Dunkin

How about you?  What verse has you ready to IGNITE?  Share with us!

Posted by Greg Mathews at Wednesday, March 13, 2019

IGNITE... One Verse at a Time

I’m excited about IGNITE because of Proverbs 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

- Philip McGaha

What verse do you think about when you think about IGNITE?

Posted by Greg Mathews at Tuesday, March 12, 2019

IGNITE... One Verse at a Time

I’m excited about IGNITE because God has promised whoever sows generously will reap generously (2 Cor 9:6). As God works in our hearts to create an ever-increasing generous spirit, I can’t wait to see what it looks like when God’s generous heart is poured out on us. We cannot conceive what God will do in us and through us as we follow him! 

- Jeff Spry

What verse sums up your excitement for IGNITE?

Posted by Greg Mathews at Monday, March 11, 2019

IGNITE Launch!

The IGNITE Initiative launches this Sunday! You don't want to miss this as we learn and understand how God wants to use our church through IGNITE.
Posted by Meredith Collins at Thursday, March 7, 2019

Meet Our Members: Ramona Hill

Ramona Hill has been a member of Western Avenue Baptist Church since joining on March 2, 1952.  Ramona is 89 years young, though she has the heart and spirit of someone much, much younger! She loves WABC and though she is not able to attend in person, she keeps up with all that is going on through the Newsletter and she especially enjoys watching the service online via Facebook.  

Ramona was married to her husband Raymond for 49 years before he passed away.  When she and her husband moved to Statesville in 1950, they began attending WABC under the leadership of Wendell Davis. Ramonaheard Wendell Davis preach a revival at another church, and that is what prompted her to visit Western Avenue for the first time. People would ask her why she continued to attend WABC when the church moved to its current location, and Ramona says she politely lets people know that her roots are firmly plantedat WABC. Shesays she LOVES her church family, and she says that is what they are…her church family. Ramona has been a member of Patsy Day’s Sunday School class, and she is so appreciative of how those in that class still visit her and minister to her. They indeedare part of her family.

Ramona says the thing she appreciates about Western Avenue Baptist is that it is a church that teaches of the Bible. WABC is a Bible-centeredchurch, andthat is the glue that keeps the church together. She commented that both the staff and the congregation have a spirit of unity that is not always foundin other churches.

As Ramona looks out into the future for WABC, she says the thing that gets her the most excited is the new building initiative. She says that the old church building had a tremendous influence upon her ownchildren. In fact,her daughter Cathy and her husband Ray were the first coupleto get married in the current Fellowship Hall, which is where the church worshipped before the present sanctuary was built. Ramona says she is excited to see how God will use a new children’s area to reach and minister to many new families going forward. She loves her church family, andsheprays the Lord will continue to have His hand on WABC in the days ahead.

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, March 4, 2019

Finishing up Exodus study

This Sunday we finished up our year-long study in Exodus. We see the Israelites as they journey toward the Promised Land. God is not going with them; he is sending an angel. But, they really wanted God to go with them. Like the Israelites, we too are on a journey to the Promised Land and we need God on our journey today. The most wonderful thing about heaven is that we will be in the presence of God. 

Like the Israelites, we hunger and thirst for the presence of the Lord among us. Moses asked God to, “Show me your glory.” Moses had seen the burning bush, the parting of the Red Sea, God giving him the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, yet he still asked God to see more of His glory. This would be a good thing for us to pray before worship, asking God to show us His glory. 

When Moses comes down from the mountain, he has a glow, so much that he had to wear a veil over his face. The glory of God was reflecting off him. We need to spend time with the Lord so we can reflect Him. We need to get recharged. 

We can look to Jesus because we have seen His glory. Jesus on the cross gives us the full expression of God’s glory. Behold His Glory!

Posted by Meredith Collins at Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Meet Our Members: Hank and Jackie Dahl

Hank and Jackie each individually moved to North Carolina a couple years before coming to Western Avenue at the end of the 1980s. Jackie had come to Christ under Jack Graham at West Palm Beach Baptist in Florida and Hank at Forked River Baptist in New Jersey. Shortly after each of them came to Christ in their mid-twenties, God moved them each to Statesville. Both had been looking for a church that accurately handled the Word of God and had a body that was eager to grow and serve the Lord. They found exactly that at WABC. 

Each were led to WABC by members of the church. Philis Joyner invited Jackie in 1987 and Hank was invited by Brian Greene, Jennifer Morrison (then Dailey) and Jennifer Jones (then Wheeler) to come check out their youth group. Hank visited the Singles class led by Rusty and Betty Jo McLelland, and Jackie was filling in for Betty Jo that week as the teacher. After hearing her teach, he knew that they had a similar mindset spiritually, and when you couple that with her sheer beauty, the pursuit was on, and so was a wedding. 

Hank and Jackie married in March 1992 and then had two children, Jessica in 1993 and Andrew in 1996. Both have fortunately grown up in the children’s and youth programs here. Jessica is now married and living in SC, working for an online public school system as an administrator and project coordinator. Andrew is in his last year of college and will graduate in May with a Mechanical Engineering and Physics degree, and a minor in math.

Jackie became a believer when she was 22 years old. She had very little church background, as her family did not attend church. She had friends growing up who she would occasionally go to church with, and when she did attend would feel pulled toward God, but never committed her life to Christ. While in her twenties, she became very discouraged with life and began searching and writing letters to God – asking if He was real. She asked questions to other family members who were Catholic and asked questions to the Jehovah Witnesses who would come to the door, all the while writing letters to God asking him for the truth. One day her best friend called and said she would be going to church with her mom and giving her life to Christ! What?! She asked if she could go too. Two weeks later she went to First Baptist – West Palm Beach and after attending for a month, she knew she found Truth in Jesus Christ and gave her life to Him in November 1984! She has been living for him ever since!

Hank made a commitment to Christ at a young age when his parents Pat and Henry came to Christ during the Jesus Movement in the 70s. After years of not knowing what or why he believed, which led to a life with both feet in the world, he genuinely committed his life to Christ at 23. After this, all the head knowledge he had about the things of God made sense and God laid on his heart that there were so many other youth who did not know what they believed. He committed his life to serving God by discipling youth. Thirty years later this passion still burns to grow in Christ to be able to give Him to others.

The Dahls have been working in youth ministry for years and are excited that Western Avenue has gotten behind the ministries they do, formerly Young Life and now for the past eleven years as mission trip leaders in the Royal Servants division of Reign Ministries. Currently they lead summer long trips of students to Nepal while speaking at many churches and schools around the US. The Dahls lead several discipleship groups here in Statesville. They have been firm believers that you also serve in your church and have had their “socks blessed off” by being able to serve in the youth department going back to Phillip McGaha’s leadership and now, love being under former students that Hank worked with, Mark Collins and Greg Mathews. Western Avenue gives them an awesome platform to share Christ and disciple students. They feel encouraged for the future of the Youth Ministry at WABC.

Being in the youth department, they have enjoyed serving with others from Western Avenue in Venezuela missions, London Bridges and Kairos prison ministry. Jackie participates in David Moss’s Sunday school class and leads a Bible Study with her co-workers on Wednesday nights. They are doing a Beth Moore Study on the book of James right now.

The Dahls feel they have not only been privileged to be able to serve at Western Avenue for many years now, but they have been able to be fed under leaderships that have a conscience to handle the Word of God accurately. They have developed deep friendships and are part of an active body that seeks to know God and make Him known.

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, February 25, 2019

Satisfaction in God

"You were made to know glory — God’s glory. And the deepest longings of the human heart can be fully satisfied by pursuing that glory. In fact, God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him." - John Piper, Desiring God
Posted by Meredith Collins at Thursday, February 21, 2019

Meet Our Members: Robert and Karen Donaldson

We hope you are enjoying getting to know a few of our members. This has been so interesting to learn some things about people you may not have known! This week we continue with a couple who has been at WABC for 40 years now - Robert and Karen Donaldson. The Donaldsons have been married 45 years and have two children. Their daughter, Sarah, and her husband, Daniel have three children, ages 15, 11 and 9. Their son, Gabe, and his wife, Becky, have two children ages 8 and 5. 

Robert has served 25 years in military, four years in Air Force and 20 years in Air Guard. Currently he is a locksmith in Statesville. Karen has been a hairdresser for 33 years. Sarah works for Cleveland Community College. Her husband, Daniel, is a high school teacher. Gabe is an EMT in Charlotte and his wife, Becky, works at Cleveland Community College.

Robert and Karen moved out west when they were married because he was stationed there. When he left the military, they moved back home. After five years of marriage when they were expecting their first child, they decided it was past time to get back into church. Robert had grown up at New Amity ARP and Karen was raised at Beulah Baptist. They started looking around and after a couple months, visited Western Avenue. Ralph Carter was a new preacher there and they really liked what they heard. After two visits, they asked Ralph to come and visit their home because they were thinking about joining. He visited them and that night Robert accepted Christ as his Savior. Karen had prayed to receive Christ as a teenager at Beulah and that night prayed to rededicate her life to the Lord. They joined WABC in October 1978. They had visited many churches in Statesville; and at first WABC seemed like just one of the many other churches… until they stepped inside! As soon as they joined, they felt welcomed and at home.

The day they joined, Ralph recommended a Sunday School class and they joined a young married class taught by Fred Lowry. Sunday School, taught by many gifted teachers over these years, has been a huge part in their spiritual growth. Karen always recommends to new folks that they find a Sunday School class. 

In their second year at WABC, the nominating committee asked them to teach the 3rdand 4thgrade on Sunday night. Ruth Lashua taught them so much, by her example, how to lead and teach since she taught the 5thand 6thgraders. In a couple years, the WMU ladies asked Karen to start a new mission group of 18-28 year old ladies. Karen is still serving with some of those ladies to this day. 

After several more years, Robert was ordained as a deacon. Robert and Karen were both in the choir for some years. Karen taught 5thand 6thgrade Sunday School for several years and was mentored by Barbara Ferguson. Robert was able to travel with Glenn Watts and several men to West Virginia to help build a church. In 1996, God called Sarah to her first overseas mission to Ireland. The next year, she was called to Mexico and then in 1998, she was called to one year of service in India. During that year, Gabe got to travel to India also and then, while a student at Gardner-Webb, he was called to lead a group back there. Karen was able to go to India to travel home with Sarah when her year was complete and little did she know but that would be the first of several opportunities for Karen to travel overseas telling people the Good News. What a marvelous gift it has been. God is using so many people at Western Avenue to spread His word. 

Robert and Karen continue to work in their jobs serving the Lord however he calls. They appreciate being taught by the most marvelous teachers and preachers ever, and feel it is a joy to work alongside their precious brothers and sisters serving our Lord together. 

Posted by Meredith Collins at Monday, February 18, 2019

Meet Our Members: Ed and Elaine Dearman

Ed Dearman has been attending WABC since he was born. His first residence was at an apartment across the street from the old Western Avenue location at the home of Lucille Baker (who was later his first-grade teacher). This two-story home no longer exists there. Ed’s parents and grandparents were members at Western Avenue and in the summer of 1950, he was enrolled in the cradle roll department.

Western Avenue has been a part of Ed’s life since then. His brothers, parents and even neighbors were or continue to be part of the congregation. He remembers great Sunday School teachers like Mr. Alexander, Rob Harline and Mr. Bost. He and some others in the boys class joined the church when they were nine years old. Rev. Davis was the pastor at that time and had a great influence on Ed and the rest of the South Side Community. 

There did not seem to be a time when Western Avenue was not part of Ed’s life. Many strong bonds with other friends still continue to this date. He met and eventually married Elaine Beatty in August 1971. Ed and Elaine were blessed with two children, Jennifer and Jonathan. They have blessed them with four grandchildren. 

Except for the time they were at Appalachian State and Ed’s first duty station in Lenoir, NC, the Dearmans have been part of Western Avenue. Ed was employed for the state of NC as a probation/parole officer and had a career for 31 years. Elaine taught kindergarten for 30 years. Ed’s time at WABC has included working with the youth, Sunday School teacher, deacon, usher and security. Elaine has taught in the church nursery for many years. 

The Dearmans appreciate the increased number of friends that have come into their lives and how they have all come from so many different places and backgrounds. He and Elaine have been witness to so many circumstances that have changed their lives including births, deaths, difficult relationships and great moments of joy. The Dearmans look forward to the continued growth of our church and its influence on our community. People take note and respond when you mention you are an active part of our church. WABC has weathered many controversial situations in the past but has continued to prevail. 

Posted by Meredith Collins at Thursday, February 14, 2019


Have you attended one of our IGNITE Vision Events yet? If you haven't, join us on Wednesday, February 13, at 6:30 pm. Jeff Spry will be presenting the session again. We had originally announced that all EU classes would not meet, however, all regular EU classes will meet in addition to the IGNITE presentation. See you Wednesday!


Posted by Meredith Collins at Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Original Building Fire

We awoke this morning to the sad news that the “old Western Avenue” was on fire. The news saddened us all and brought back many wonderful memories of great times of worship and service at the building on the corner of Western Avenue and Boulevard. So many of our current members worshipped there. So many others did not have the privilege of being a part of the Western Avenue family in that vibrant community of believers. We would like to invite you to share your memories and pictures Western Avenue at its former location in the comments below.  Please share!

Posted by Greg Mathews at Monday, February 11, 2019