From Pastor Johnny

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C3 Formula - God's Formula for His Work at GABC-PC

On January 1, 2019, as far as anyone in my family knew, we were planning for God to continue to use us in a ministry field where we had served for the previous fourteen years. One of my favorite sayings is, “You never know what a day holds.” And so, it was for us, because on January 2, 2019 I received a voicemail that would ultimately and completely change the trajectory of the Ellison family.

After seeing a number on my caller i.d. that I did not recognize, and after allowing it to go to voicemail, I went about my business that day.  Some time later I paused to notice that a voicemail had been left, and I checked it.  It was the chairman of the search committee for Golden Acres Baptist Church in Phenix City, Alabama (a church that I had never heard of) requesting my resume’ for the purpose of talking with them to become their next Senior Pastor.  Though I had received a number of requests like this through the years – and had entertained none of those - this one was different. 

From January 2, 2019 until April 15, 2019, a whirlwind of activities took place that saw me and my family interview, preach, greet, announce my final weeks at Green Acres Baptist in Warner Robins, Georgia (yes…GABC-WR to GABC-PC…you can’t make this stuff up), begin my first day in the office on April 15 and preach my first Sunday on April 21 (Easter Sunday) at Golden Acres Baptist in Phenix City, Alabama as the Senior Pastor. 

Amidst all the activity that God would use to bring the Ellisons to serve at Golden Acres, one marker in particular was of special interest to me.  Golden Acres has a brand (or logo) that consists of three concentric arrows of gold, aqua and red.  Each of these arrows has purpose and meaning, and each of these arrows represents a different part of the formula of God’s plan at GABC-PC.

The first arrow is the gold arrow and it represents the calling to Celebrate!  Matthew 28:16-20 is very often seen as the marching orders – or Great Commission – to the church.   In this passage, the Scriptures read; “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”

It is in these verses that the church receives its primary goal for existing.  These verses involve reaching those who are not yet followers of Christ and teaching and equipping those who are.  And yet, oftentimes the two verses preceding this passage are not considered.  Matthew 28:16-17 reads; “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.” (Emphasis Added)

Before the call of Christ to the Great Commission, there was first worship by His followers.  And so today we are called to the same order of service.  Any truly effective ministry of the church begins with true worship, that is exalting, lifting up and celebrating the great God and Savior of the world. 

The gold arrow in the mission of Golden Acres is all about celebrating and lifting up the name of Jesus Christ.  This is the first step of our mission.

The second arrow in the GABC-PC purpose graphic is a turquoise color and it represents the call to Connect.  This connection is intended to be connecting with God on a deeper level, connecting with other believers in fellowship and connecting for the purpose of growing as believers. 

Matthew 28:19-20a reads; “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

This second arrow represents the call of the members of Golden Acres to grow and to invest in others that they might grow spiritually.  This growth – or connection – includes our Connect Small groups, our Bible teaching for children, youth and adults and our purposeful fellowships and gatherings to encourage.  Connecting with one another to connect deeper with Christ is an essential part of growth for believers.

The final, red arrow in the GABC-PC graphic is a call to commission.  The word commission involves authorizing and sending a person for the express purpose of carrying out a calling.  For every member of Golden Acres Baptist Church, the commission is found in Matthew 28:19; “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Emphasis Added)

 Every member of Golden Acres should have, as our personal calling, the intent of seeing those who are not part of God’s Kingdom become part of God’s Kingdom.  Our commission is to live, speak and act out Christ in such a way to others that they themselves turn to Christ and are made new.  Every believer is commissioned to invite and exhort others to be a part of the Kingdom of God!

As my family and I arrived at Golden Acres Baptist Church in April 2019, it became clear to me that God has a formula and plan for the days ahead.   This purpose and charge involves the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20 and is represented by the GABC-PC logo.  I believe the best days for Golden Acres are ahead, and I believe the Great Commission will be increasingly fulfilled as we go. 

I look forward to serving within the fellowship of Golden Acres and I look forward to God fulfilling the C3 Formula right here in southeastern Alabama!