Another year, another opportunity

Happy anniversary, Wieuca! We are sixty one years old this week. For some of us, that seems ancient; for others, we remember being 61, don’t we?

What do you do when you celebrate an anniversary? Last year’s 60th event was a great experience for family and friends of Wieuca. It was great to reminisce with each other and with those who joined the reunions. We need to celebrate and honor the stories that have shaped us and guided us.

But anniversaries are not just about the past. Such occasions gives us a great opportunity to look ahead. What are the stories being written today? What stories will emerge? So …

  • What is God up to these days in our midst and are we joining Him in His work among us and in the world?
  • How do we become more missional, more purpose-driven in being the presence of Christ in this world?
  • How do we call out those in our number who have so much to give to increase our reach, grow our faith, impact our community, and accomplish our mission?
  • What does this mean to us, to me? “Loving God, Connecting People, Changing Lives”
  • What new inspirations can help us utilize our campus to greater effectiveness?
  • What new inspirations can help us get outside the walls and into the mission field beyond our campus?

People are searching. People are looking for answers. For a growing number, the church has become unnecessary, irrelevant. How do we change that story?

A man named Aaron Earls wrote an interesting article recently entitled: “Searching for a Savior: How comic book movies can point to Christ.” We have been deluged in the last few years with movies about larger-than-life action figures and there many more on the way. Why have these films created such a following? Earls writes: “One reason superhero moves have found a wide audience is because people are natural intrigued by battle between good and evil. In this super-hero obsessed culture, the church has an opportunity to point to the grand story of One who came to rescue us and defeat the enemy – but not without a little bit of drama. As Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, Spider-Man’s alter ego, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’”

No, I don’t think the answer is for us to each choose a super hero and parade around the neighborhood in a costume. I think we learn from our culture and realize that people do need meaning in their lives, that people want to hope, need to hope. We have a timeless message to share through word and deed. Our anniversary affords us another opportunity to deepen our resolve to matter in this world for the cause of Christ.

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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