ELIZABETHTOWN — In the Bible, Jesus warned His followers of the folly of building on sand, encouraging them instead to start with a foundation of rock — His Word. One Bladen County church is taking the exhortation to heart.
In May 2016, the Revs. Jason Williams and Barry Galyean and their families began meeting in Williams’ home for worship and prayer. Both men, fresh off serving together at a local church, were seeking direction for the future.
“The burden of a church plant really started earlier,” said Williams, “but I wasn’t sure. I was lined up to preach at Carolina Crossroads, and really sensed during that service His Spirit convicting me that He wanted me to start a work in Elizabethtown.”
Around the same time, Williams had a phone call from an acquaintance inquiring about his plans and affirming that God had led him in the direction of a church plant as well. He joined, as others did, and by the end of May, the group in Williams’ home had swelled to 50 or more and forced relocation.
Through what Williams described as “a move of the Spirit,” the group was offered a space at Healthworks for meeting on Sunday mornings. By August, however, the congregation — by now Incorporated as Foundation Bible Church — had outgrown that space as well and went searching again, finally settling in Village Shops across from Burger King in Elizabethtown.
From that site, the church, which topped 160 attendees two weeks ago, continues to focus on one thing — its Foundation. The non-denominational assembly derives its name from I Corinthians 3:11, which states “No man can lay any foundation except the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
“Our focus is to build on the foundation of Christ,” said Williams. “When I study what Jesus did, pouring into His 12 disciples, He taught and encouraged them, they walked and talked with Him, and then He deployed them in service. That’s the purpose of the church — to develop and deploy leaders for the Great Commission, so that’s our heartbeat — intentional, relational investment.”
To that end, the church has yet to, and may never, develop some of the practices often stereotypically associated with Christian congregations — Sunday school, potluck dinners, strict adherence to bylaws, and committees, committees and more committees. The Sunday morning service is comprised solely of worship and preaching, the worship time being led by a variety of instrumentalists and vocalists singing and playing a mix of traditional hymns and contemporary praise and worship songs. The praise team might be wearing jeans and T-shirts and, during the service, the Amen Corner isn’t shy. Sunday evening services, a Tuesday night men’s Bible study, and Wednesday night services round out the week’s activities.
So serious is the focus to make disciples that an evangelist has been invited to speak. Georgia native John Reed, whose sermons were used to bring a massive revival at Galeed Baptist several years ago, will be bringing a message at Foundation Sunday.
“I remember the first time I heard him at Tar Heel,” said Williams. “He’s an amazing communicator of Scripture, and he’s definitely called to be an evangelist. No matter what your position, even if you’re a preacher, he encourages you to make sure you have made the most important decision of your life and surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ. He does it in an amazing way, and you walk away saying you’re thankful you were there.”
Reed will be speaking Jan. 29 at 10 a.m.
For the leadership, though, it’s not about activity or numbers.
“If people are just looking to fill their lives with activity and positions, Foundation is not for them,” said Williams. “But if they’re looking to be intentional and to make Christ their Foundation, this would be a good place, because that’s our focus, that’s our heartbeat, it’s what sets us apart.”
Foundation Bible Church meets Sundays at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and is located in Village Shops. For more information, follow them on Facebook, visit cometothefoundation.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.