And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

Acts 19:8-10


1 Corinthians 3:10–11

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Looking back and looking ahead. That is what this moment is all about. In this booklet, you will find reports from ministry teams and lists of those who have been baptized or joined the church. You’ll see the names of those who will continue to serve in various ministry positions and even an overview of the budget for 2024. Remembering where you’ve been, what you’ve done, why you did it… those things matter. Equally important is what is on the horizon, coming up next, the path the Lord has for us going forward.


As we wrap up 2023, there have been some wonderful reasons to celebrate! In all we have had over 160 people participate in our Experiencing God Bible Study. God certainly moved and many accepted the invitation to join Him in deeper relationship, commitment, and service. It remains our prayer that the language of that study, the lessons learned, and the personal and corporate momentum gained will continue to have ripple effects through the lives and ministry of our EBC faith family for years to come. Over the spring and summer, we experienced several baptisms… we were seemingly eating cake weekly to celebrate! What a great reason to get sick of cake! Praise the Lord! Other notable events included an astounding VBS and VBS missions offering, a well-attended fall Financial Peace University study, mission trips to Letcher Co, Poland, and Bulgaria, a strong UPWARD basketball season, and continued local ministries like Whizkids and other community engagement. Along with these we saw the birth of new ministries and the recovery of old ones. Quilts of Love, a homebound ministry, and the WMU have had strong starts in their ministry impacts. 


Our emphasis this year in the midst of all these things has been on deepening relationships with Christ. If you remember, we even began January with a week of fasting and prayer to set our hearts and minds on Christ very early in the year and I truly believe, in so doing, it bore evidenced fruit in discipleship, salvations, ministry, and missions. 


As we look to the year ahead, we recognize the continued need to draw close to the Lord and a need to revisit the foundations. While neither flashy nor often the focus of our attention, foundations provide the undergirding from which strengthening, growth, and fruit are manifested. Without a solid foundation, houses, regardless of their constructions, simply will not stand the test of time. Without firm foundations, marriages, as happy as they may seem one moment, may not weather the storms of life and the arrows of the enemy. Without clear foundations, churches, even the fastest growing ones, will not be able to sustain health and ministry as challenges are presented from within and without. 


Over the next year, several foundations will be brought into focus here at EBC. Starting off the new year, our faith family will again be challenged to personal holiness and devotion with a week of prayer and fasting,  as well as an invitation to join in a corporate journey through a common 2024 devotional book. In the spring, it’s our desire to launch another church-wide study, this time on marriage, inviting the young and the old, the married and the single alike, into a conversation around the foundations of the family. Likewise, with recent decisions by the church, in 2024 EBC will be asked to revisit another foundation: her constitution and bylaws, addressing areas of church polity and church membership. What does it mean to have both paid and lay spiritual leadership, a team of Elders? What is expected of them? And what is expected of our membership? Who really makes up the called body of Erlanger Baptist? Pastor Eric and I will continue to meet with and equip potential lay elders who may be brought on through church affirmation as early as January 2025. This next year, EBC will also welcome a new student leader, Shane Hufford, on staff. Shane will begin laying the foundations for a youth ministry which we pray will yield great fruit for years to come under his leadership. Our Missions Ministry has also begun to take steps building a foundational platform from which to launch many more missions through our EBC family, starting with our first trip already planned for Poland in late January. Even our physical church campus, the homebase from which we operate, will be studied to see what changes and updates might be made to make things more functional and beneficial for ministry.


Foundations matter. They provide stability, clarity, guidance, grounding, continuity, and a common understanding from which we can move forward following God wherever, and however, He leads us next. The foundations of loving God, loving others, the primacy of Scripture, and the foundational mandate to spread the Gospel remain our overarching emphases. Healthy members and healthy churches are ready vessels for God to use to live out these principles and commands. It’s our prayer that the time and attention being given to these foundations only help to point us more to the Foundation of foundations, Jesus Christ, and our ever-deepening relationships and commitments to Him and His kingdom. Let’s build well in 2024!


“And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”- Matthew 28:20b


I hope you want more. Not more of this world or even more from this world. Not more counterfeits, idols, and sideshows… but more of what really matters, or better said, Who really matters. More of God. Do you? Every believer ought to. That which should fuel us is not worldly success, gratification, or comfort, but a longing for more, more of Him.


In Exodus 33, just after Moses comes down from Mt. Sinai, he doesn’t thank God for the mountain top experience as if it were sufficient… instead he asks only for more. “I pray You, show me Your glory!” (v.18) Show me your glory! What a potentially unexpected request. He has just been with God forty days. No one else in human history had yet experienced anything close to that! But, his life was being transformed getting to know the God who had made him, spared him, and used him in the deliverance of His people. And after these initial experiences and forty days on the mountain in His presence, Moses wants more.


I want more. I want to live in faith and by faith, trusting more and more of God. I want to delight more in the joy of my salvation and see the mighty hands of my God not excused from action, but invited and anticipated in action. I want to see the lost saved, the bound freed, the fearful strengthened, the downtrodden leaping for joy, the broken mended, the hopeless resolute, the timid courageous, and the deceived enlightened. I want to know God more richly and deeply and see Him at work both around me and in me. I want to see Him drawing our faith family closer and warming our hearts as we experience Him. 


I certainly know that I don’t want less. I don’t want to go through motions, prop up an institution, scrape through life, and feel good about myself or others for simply surviving, only to die one day and enter a reality which had been much closer and real to me during my life than I had ever imagined. 


It’s been five years now that I’ve been at Erlanger Baptist. Five years chocked full of ups and downs, twists and turns. We’ve weathered a lot. We’ve faced everything from significant renovations to a pandemic. In our faith family, we’ve seen precious saints come and go and various leaders cycle through. We’ve watched family members and new faces come to faith. And we’ve lamented as we’ve watched others, for myriads of reasons, leave. Through it, we’ve sought to keep our ears open to our Savior’s commands and our hearts open to follow.


In those years, we have had different emphases: discipleship, evangelism, missions, family ministry, and obedience to the Word, all of these themes stemming from the very first message I preached here, out of Matthew 28:19-20. We have focused on aspects of these final words of our Savior before His ascension: make disciples, go into all the world, and teaching them to obey… now, we finish verse 20… maybe where we should have begun, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”


Jesus, returning to the Father, sent the Holy Spirit to be with us forever. God did not leave encounters with Him to a sparse OT collection of men and moments or to a limited three years of His Son’s ministry. He went further, He sent Himself in the Person of the Spirit, that we might not just know of Him, but truly experience Him.


Have you had an experience with God? Do you regularly experience Him in your life? Are you encountering Him routinely? Are you in on-going relationship with Him? That’s our emphasis for this next year. Do we grasp His promise to be with us forever? Do we embrace the fullness of His promised presence in us and in our lives? Do we experience Him in all we do? That’s the more I want. That’s the more I need. And that’s my desire in 2023. I’m praying it will be yours as well.

What a difference a year makes! Or does it? The differences… Even as the world has experienced significant change from events (war, inflation, Roe v. Wade, floods in Eastern KY), EBC has seen some significant events and changes too. Our youth minister was called to pastor a church in Finchville. Simultaneously, EBC called Jimmy Cantwell as our new Worship and Missions Leader. Our Elder Exploratory Team worked with the body to affirm a biblical understanding of the role of elders/pastors. There has been a lot of change this year.


But, as I reflect on this year’s theme, “Time to Follow,” corresponding to the weekly messages out of Matthew, I am burdened wondering how much more have we indeed followed? In pockets, I see where things have grown or developed. But, there are other areas where perceivably little has seemed to change; only a hand-full of baptisms, very little numerical growth in service and LifeGroups, giving is flat and may ultimately end up trailing last year’s totals. We’ve come out of a pandemic seemingly plateaued.


In some recent events, there are areas we can be excited about development. We recently went on a mission trip to Eastern KY. We had 35 ladies experience a great women’s retreat in November. We have had around 29 people walk through a 13-week small group discipleship process. We have also had three baptisms as of late and have additional plans for more coming forth soon..


Abiding, trusting, and experiencing Him and His power and plan in and through us. The knowledge of truth, the call to obedience, the disconnect with turning truth into action? Missing power. The things of earth will grow strangely dim… in the light of his glory and grace…


"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father

and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;

and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Matthew 28:19

So often the difference between experiencing the vibrancy of the Christian life and missing out, is in obedience.

It’s not that we don’t know what to do… it’s that we don’t do what we know. Over the past four years of ministry

at EBC, we have taken time to focus on discipleship, evangelism, missions, and family ministry. We’ve sought

to intentionally help non-believers and believers alike move closer and closer to Jesus. It has been our over-

arching theme, ALL2Jesus. It’s our desire to see all grow closer to Christ.

In the garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus drew close to His Father in preparation for His last earthly act of

obedience, He returned to his sleeping disciples to offer these weighty words, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh

is weak.” For any of us who have “lived” the Christian life long, we understand the significance and poignancy

of that remark. So often, it isn’t for lack of knowledge, but for lack of application the believer suffers defeat,

failure, stagnation, and impotence in their spiritual journey.

Frankly, many of us know much more of what we are supposed to do and how we are supposed to live than

we ever see lived out in our experiences. Inconsistency, desires of the flesh, pride, and a host of other issues

plague us as we self-shackle to past identities, momentary gratifications, and ambitious self-focused goals.

The famous “tyranny of the urgent” and our seductive, self-proclaiming culture combine to create a headwind,

which on our own and in our own strength, we simply cannot overcome. The deck is stacked too high against


In this reality, what are we to do? We are called to the victorious Christian life by our Savior, one that both

experiences the truths of Scriptures and also passes them on to others. So how are we at EBC to answer that

call? How are we to see biblical truths become our practice?

In 2022, our emphasis will be found where Jesus left it at the end of His earthly ministry. In Matthew 28:19-20,

Jesus commissions His people with a multifaceted mission. We know well the command to “make disciples”

and “go into all nations;” we have spent time over the last several years building out those commands here in

Erlanger. But next year our focus will be on the next clause, “teaching them to observe all that I have

commanded you.”

It is our prayer that we come alongside children, seniors, the young and old; single, married, and everyone in

between; parents, grandparents, and those never-nesters and empty nesters. It is our prayer that we come

alongside one another… all those trying, struggling, hurting, seeking, searching, longing, beaten up or broken

down… to see true and sustained transformation in how God works in us and on us to be more and more

conformed to the image of Christ over this next year. It’s our prayer, through God and one another, that we

move from head to heart to feet, from knowledge to practice, that together we would live out the truths of

Scripture and experience the vibrancy and transformative life found in Christ.

We hope you will join us, earnestly and honestly, on this journey. May God do more than we can think or

imagine as we yield more and more to His will, His ways, and His Holy Spirit in our lives.


Two years ago, we launched what has come to be known as A2J, or All-2-Jesus. It was our hope then that we would develop a plan not only to move our people into closer walk with Christ, but also intentionally seek to introduce our community to that same opportunity of knowing Jesus. Discipleship and Evangelism, both being used to move people into and towards deeper intimacy with God. We set high goals for discipleship and evangelism. We truly want every person who is connected to Erlanger Baptist Church growing, experiencing life-change through Jesus Christ!


Over this past year we have continued the Discipleship initiative by utilizing our common curriculum in our LifeGroups ministry, Gospel Project, as well as provided for connections cross-generationally through combined classes, prayer walking, and even a combined LifeGroup time in the gym. Beyond this, small group discipleship continues to take place. Women, men, and LifeGroups have held studies and read books together. Pastorally, I have been introducing a book from NavPress entitled Growing In Christ, a thirteen-week study focusing on our assurance of salvation and Christian living. To date over 20 people has gone through this book. All new believers are being taken through this book and several others have been taken through it as well, with the intent they will lead their own groups in the future. This grass-roots effort is an attempt to help each member of our congregation the opportunity to be grounded in truth and progressing toward intimacy and dependence upon God through the power of the Holy Spirit who has not only made us new, but empowers us to live a life fulfilling the call and purposes of God (Eph. 2:10).


2019 saw great emphasis on the evangelistic efforts of our church. In April, we held a revival to kick-start this emphasis. After weeks of corporate prayer leading up to this event, we welcomed our now Executive Director, Todd Gray, as our preacher for the week. Since that week, Todd has remained in contact with me, praying for EBC and our ministry. I am grateful for an Executive Director whose passion is to see lost people saved! Todd has a heart for EBC and our community. The month of May was then used to train and equip using the Three-Circles evangelism method. I will tell you, preaching the “Gospel Propelled” and mastering the Three-Circles presentation has done tons in my own life opening me to an excitement for sharing the message of the Gospel! I hope it has you as well!


Summer was then “go time!” Over the course of just over two months, EBC members faithfully participated in outreach opportunities. Each Wednesday night we walked neighborhood streets sharing the Gospel. One Saturday in June we held a Saturday of Service in which over 85 volunteers participated in door-to-door evangelism, car washing, park visiting, cookie making, and visits to local first responders. In all, over the past six months, we have reached over 900 homes, covered over 45 streets, while averaging over 30 people weekly throughout the summer visiting neighborhoods. We had many gospel presentation opportunities and have seen new people visit and get connected to our congregation. We have even some make initial professions of faith, though I’m praying for many more!


But with over 8800 homes in Erlanger, the work is not done! 2020 is set to be a great opportunity to continue what God has started in and through EBC! And even with the work to be done, we continue to add layers in order to fulfill our Christ-commanded purposes. Acts 1:8 reminds us that the mission field starts in Erlanger, but it continues to the ends of the earth! So in 2020, we add that next step. Even as we continue to get more and more involved in our D-Groups using the GIC books and even as we continue to reach Erlanger and plan future door-to-door evangelistic nights, we are seeing opportunity this year to go around the world on mission. EBC is currently planning at least two mission trip, one likely in April to Queretaro, MX and others to India in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021.


As a church we must stay balanced to the whole command of Christ. Growing in our spiritual intimacy, sharing the gospel in our community and helping to impact the globe for Christ is the call God has not just for the Church, but for Erlanger Baptist Church specifically! Don’t sit this out. Be involved with us in kingdom work in 2020.


A new decade begins in January… let’s seek God, follow God, and allow God to work in and through us to make it the greatest God-moving decade EBC has ever seen!


 Last year, we launched a two-year goal to address two fundamental needs and commands of Christ: discipleship and evangelism (Matt 28:19-20). Based off the verses above, I believe God has challenged us at Erlanger Baptist to both personally grow in our faith and reach out to our community, effectively sharing the Gospel through word and deed. This isn’t an easy task. It will take a movement of God’s Spirit, a dependence on His power, and a willingness by us to join in a work that may become messy and uncomfortable… but eternally worth it! Paul faced adversaries and setbacks; but he persevered and saw God move in mighty ways. I believe God can do the same things here through us!


Looking back over this past year, we have worked through a Discipleship Team and our LifeGroup Ministries to address some of the discipleship needs of our church. I was very excited as every LifeGroup embraced a church-wide Gospel Project journey through Scripture and I look forward to continuing to connect lessons learned there with sermons and illustrations during our worship times on Sundays. With our Discipleship Team, we have been looking at the needs of EBC and how best to address them. It is clear that we still have a ways to go in this, but I’m excited to see discipleship relationships popping up in small group contexts around our church. I look forward to more of these as we continue into next year.


Moving forward, 2019 will be a year where we look outside the doors, to a community that desperately needs us to live out and speak forth the Gospel as the city on a hill and light on the lampstand. In April, we are preparing to launch a two-month emphasis on equipping followers of Christ to follow Christ into the mission field of Erlanger, KY. We are planning to incorporate prayer, prayer-walking, a Spring revival, Wednesday night evangelism training, and sermon topics to build toward a summer of focused missions mobilization. Summer of 2019, we are going on mission! Right here, and everywhere your summer plans may take your family, you will be challenged to consider yourself as God does… on mission as His ambassador! We will be connecting with local officials and schools to see how we can serve this community through service projects. We will be going door to door throughout our community, praying for needs and offering the hope of Christ. We will be using special events like VBS, a block party, the Farmer’s Market, Fall Family Night, a mission trip to North Dakota, and others to stretch us and minister to our neighborhoods in Erlanger.


This will require everyone to be involved. It is no small task and it is not for a few to complete. I want to challenge you in 2019, along with every member of Erlanger Baptist, to step out, grow in your faith, and share with others this glorious message of love, forgiveness, redemption, and grace provided through our Savior Jesus!


Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us;

we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 5:20


Throughout the book of Acts, many faithful believers were used by God to spread the Gospel throughout the known world.  In Acts 19, Paul has been led to the city of Ephesus. There he did as he always had, he went to the synagogues and preached. As he preached, some believed, but others rejected. But then Scripture doesn’t say that afterwards he left Ephesus. Instead, Paul continues sharing with the Gentiles there and does so for two whole years with the effect that “all who lived in Asia heard the Word of the Lord.” What an amazing thought! That through his consistent and maintained ministry in that area, the Gospel went forth somehow to everyone!


So, how did that happen? Did Paul himself meet personally with everyone in Asia over the course of those two years? Obviously not, since he was also regularly teaching. Some, to be sure came to hear him, but what about the rest? Here’s where I believe the power of the Gospel lies… those disciples whom he was teaching must have been the very ones reaching out with the Gospel even as they were receiving it! Discipleship and Evangelism were working hand in hand! So powerfully was this affect that all Asia was reached over the course of just two years!


How does that tie into today? What about Erlanger Baptist Church? Through His Word, God has given us a model of ministry. It isn’t a prescribed method that we must meet and teach daily to see these results, but it does show us this: For everyone to hear about Jesus, EBC need to be growing disciples.


Over the course of the next two years, it is my prayer that “ALL 2 JESUS” become our motivating drive. Over that time, this idea will be unpacked and details will be filled in. “ALL 2 JESUS” will have two parts: EBC working intentionally to make disciples in the church and EBC working intentionally to reach everyone in the Erlanger community, with the goal that by 2020 (over the next two years) we engage every member of our community with the Gospel even as we are intentionally engaging in it ourselves.


Interestingly, in Acts 20:20 Paul is looking back on those two years in Ephesus and states this, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house…”


Over the next two years, with God’s leading and power, we are going to be developing a discipleship model in which we will ask every member of EBC to participate, and we are going to be developing an evangelism and outreach strategy so that every door in Erlanger is reached. By 2020, it is our prayer that every member of Erlanger Baptist has come closer to Jesus in their walk and that everyone in our community has been offered the opportunity to come to Jesus too. Over the next two years, we want ALL, those inside and outside our church, to come to Jesus! Discipleship and Evangelism, through these two. It doesn’t matter who you are, we want to bring ALL 2 JESUS!


I am so excited to be here at Erlanger Baptist, to come along this church at this unique moment to help us fall in love with our Savior and reach out with the hope we have found in Him alone!