Ten Things I’m Thankful for at MCBC
Ten Things I’m Thankful for at Mountain Creek in 2023:
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! – 1 Chronicles 16:34
As I wrote the list below, I realized very quickly that I could easily make a list of twenty-five or fifty or a hundred things that I’m thankful for, just at Mountain Creek, right now. There is so much for which we can give thanks to God! For the sake of time and space, I decided to keep it to my original ten, but if you asked me tomorrow, I’d probably give you a few different answers, and if you asked me the next day, maybe a few different still. So for now, I’ll offer these ten as public expressions of my gratefulness to God for what he is doing right now at Mountain Creek Baptist Church:
1. The college students attending from Furman, NGU, and other area schools.
For the past two-plus months, every Sunday at Mountain Creek I have had the privilege of meeting college students who were attending our church that day for the very first time. As I move around the sanctuary before the service, as I look out on the congregation while I preach, and as I talk to worshipers after the service, I have been blown away at the number of students who are worshiping Christ with us right now at MCBC. What an opportunity we have to invest in these students for a year or two or three, and then send them out with the gospel all over the world! These students are a gift from God to our body, and I am thankful. Which leads me to,
2. The hospitality that MCBC members are showing to college students.
I recently had someone tell me what he had heard from one of our college students at MCBC. The reason more and more college students are worshiping with us is in large part because of the reception they receive by the people of Mountain Creek. He commended us for not seeing college students just as those who are passing through for a couple of years, but instead for embracing them and welcoming them into the family. I agree wholeheartedly, and I’m incredibly grateful for each of you who are making the effort to show the love and hospitality of Christ to these students.
3. The gift of new life to families at Mountain Creek.
I’m thankful for the six babies born to Mountain Creek families over the last three months, and I’m thankful for the other expectant moms who will be bringing home new little ones very soon! Praise God for new life!
4. The multi-generational body that makes up Mountain Creek.
The first three on this list remind me that I’m thankful for the multiple generations who worship together every week at Mountain Creek. I was thinking yesterday of the last four new members who have joined our faith family: they were four ladies—two college students, and two senior citizens. Every week in our pews we have people who were born in each of the past ten decades worshiping Christ together. That’s not the case at every church, and it is a beautiful thing!
5. The work of our Life Group Leaders and Sunday School teachers.
I’m grateful for our Life Group leaders and for those who teach our kids and youth Sunday School. These men and women—again from high school students through senior citizens—spend time every week praying and preparing for the Bible studies they lead, praying for their group members, coordinating the meeting of needs in their groups, and finding ways to serve the community. They are crucial to the ministry of our church, and I am thankful for their service.
6. The prayerful service and care shown by our Deacons.
One of my favorite times each month is meeting with our Deacons. These faithful servants of the church meet practical needs in the body and serve in a variety of different ways throughout our church life, and they encourage me greatly as I serve. But without question the greatest thing we do together is pray. The first Sunday of every month I am lifted to the throne room of God by joining in the prayers of these men as we pray together for the needs of the church and the worship of God’s people that morning. For all the seen and unseen ways these men serve, I am grateful.
7. The opportunities God has given us to send out laborers to the harvest.
In addition to the thousands, literally thousands, who we support through the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board, we have two families from Mountain Creek currently on the field internationally, with one more individual on the way very soon. I am grateful for the ministries of J & H and Kevin and Alexis, and for M as she leaves very soon to train for her ministry. I am grateful for Melissa and our Mission House team who keep a home ready to welcome these families and others any time they are back in Greenville for a visit. I am grateful for the love and support shown by our church family for these families as they serve. And I am grateful to God who answers our prayers to send out laborers to the harvest from among our faith family.
8. The strong additions to our staff team in 2023.
We’ve added two new members to our staff team in 2023: our office administrator, Kayla Estep, and our Pastor for Groups and Young Adults, Cameron Adkins. I’m incredibly grateful to God for sending both Kayla and Cameron to serve his people at Mountain Creek, and I’m thankful for the way they are already making a strong team even better.
9. The great work being done by all our staff team.
I’m also thankful for the work of the veterans of our staff team. Brooklyn just completed her first year serving as our Children’s Ministry Director; Matt is doing great work with our youth and college ministries; Martha is leading our growing worship band and a choir full of new faces; and Brenda is the model of faithfulness with over 35 years of service to our church. And let me not fail to mention the work of Jamie Livingston, as well as two of our wonderful musicians, Cheryl Kestner and Judy McJunkin. I’m thankful for the privilege of working alongside each of these!
10. The continuing legacy of 200 years and counting at Mountain Creek.
As we turn the calendar to 2024 in just a few weeks, we’ll turn to the year in which we will celebrate 200 years of worshiping Christ at Mountain Creek. Since 1824, God’s people have gathered to pray, to sing, to hear the word, to worship in the spot where we gather together each and every Sunday. God has been faithful to his people at Mountain Creek throughout the last 200 years; God is faithful over us today; and as we go into the future, we go confident of his continued faithfulness. I’ve had a member at Mountain Creek tell me a few times along the way, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.” That’s a bright future! And I’m grateful to follow Jesus with you into all that God has for us in the days to come.
Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.