Welcome to the historic First Baptist Church of Memphis, serving Memphis & the Mid-South since 1839. You will find exciting ministries, mission opportunities, and vibrant worship.

Sunday Mornings:

9:30am Sunday School
11:00am Worship

Wednesday Evenings:

5:00pm Dinner
6:00pm Bible Study

200 East Parkway North, Memphis, TN 38112 ⋅ Office: 901.454.1131



Getting the Basics

It’s the first of August.  School is starting.  To some of our children, there is nothing odd about that.  That’s all they have ever known.   But to many of us that still feels weird.  “August is supposed to be a part of summer, don’t they know!” we exclaim.  And yet that is true no longer.  And so it’s time to pull things back together from the hopefully restful, scattered sabbatical of summer and get focused once again, back into the routine, fully engaged in the educational and vocational tasks before us.

But even though school starts earlier, some things about it remain the same.  Even though students return nearly a month earlier than many of us used to, that first month will still be mostly organization, orientation, and review from the year before.  It will be a time of going over the basics and “getting them down pat,” so that the students can, hopefully, go well beyond the those basics in the year to come.

Well, I don’t know that we’ve ever approached the beginning of the school year in the same fashion at church.  But this August we’re going to engage in a similar exercise in getting of getting re-focused.

In past years we have had a stewardship campaign in January and February.  What that has meant has been a pledge card drive with considerable publicity and an accompanying sermon or two.  It’s been fine and has worked to a degree.   But statistics show, both ours and those from across the religious spectrum, that the power of such a campaign is not what it once was. What is having better results is a more consistent conversational, educational, and testimonial approach.  To that end, our Finance Committee has been offering consistent testimonies in worship.  And now they are leading us in an all church study during the latter half of this month, and the first half of September.  During that time all Sunday School classes—adult, youth, and children—will utilize a curriculum entitled “First Things,” based on the book, “shiny gods,” by Mike Slaughter.  It’s an excellent, challenging, yet encouraging literature that we think all will find interesting and helpful.

Now, to one way of thinking, stewardship might not seem like a “basic.”  Indeed some might see it not as one of the introductory disciplines of our faith, but one that happens as the result of having all the other basics down.   I get that train of thought. But I can certainly make the argument to the contrary.  What’s more basic than understanding that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those that dwell therein” (PS 24:1), than understanding that “every good and perfect gift comes from above” (James 1:17), than understanding that we have been entrusted with whatever comes our way to make the most of it and to utilize it not just for ourselves but for others as well.  Furthermore, what’s more basic to following Jesus, than to seek to give as he gave—as much, not as little, as we can.  

I think the truth of the matter is that when it comes to serving God and following Jesus, and the disciplines involved therein, there is no proper place to begin or end.  There will be times when you learn something and your heart will be moved, and you will give and serve more readily.   At other times, as scripture says, “wherever your treasure is, your heart will follow,” (MT 6:21, LK 12:34) your faithfulness to give and serve will lead you to your passion.  The important thing is to respond to the gospel that is set before us as best we know how, and to keep on doing that.

This study will set the gospel before us.  Let us enter it into with open hearts and minds, ready to respond.  Let us follow our children’s lead this August and make sure we know our basics.

Grace, David 

This article was written by Rev. Dr. David Breckenridge and originally published in the August edition of Together.

Posted by Bridget Ellis at 8:00 AM
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200 East Parkway North, Memphis TN 38112
Office: 901.454.1131 ⋅ Fax: 901.454.1135
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