Point of View: When change takes us out of our comfort zone
by NANCY LEE BETHEA
Witness Correspondent

Article Date: May 27, 2014

I married my husband Stan in 2006 and moved to Callahan. We were both members of a large Baptist church. Three years later, Stan suggested changing our membership to a church in Callahan. Inwardly and outwardly, I griped. I didn’t want change.  

I listened for God at our church, and I heard Him there. Serving in media, music and children’s ministries, I loved my church. The city girl in me bucked at the idea of going to a "country church."   

We began attending First Baptist Church Callahan in January, 2010, and we joined in April. Since then, I’ve witnessed the church’s willingness to serve others here in Nassau County and throughout the world.  
 
Almost 11 years ago, our pastor, D. Lynn Hyatt, had a vision. If he brought missions to the church, members could become more involved in them. Starting in August, 2003, Hyatt hosted the church’s first Global Impact Celebration (GIC). Members and missionaries have connected, served and grown ever since.  
 
Using Jesus’ example of ministering in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the end of the Earth from Acts 1:8, First Baptist Callahan partners with local, regional, national and international missions through the annual GIC event. 
 
In April, Hyatt and his staff changed it up a little by bringing GIC to a more local level. Calling it “Glocal Impact Celebration,” the mini-conference highlights ministries in Callahan, Jacksonville and the state of Florida.
 
“The Lord’s been good with GIC,” Hyatt said, “with so many folks getting the vision for other parts of the world. But with the Glocal Impact Celebration, we wanted to put emphasis on local and regional missions opportunities and put the focus there.”  
 
Glocal hosted several local and regional missionaries at a churchwide banquet on April 26. The next day, missionaries met with Bible fellowship groups in the morning and participated in a ministry fair in the evening.  
 
Mike Browning with Upward Basketball, and Jon and Allison Egan with Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, took part in Glocal. All three are members of First Baptist Callahan. 
 
Two Tampa-area churches sent their pastors and wives to attend Glocal. Joel and Kristi Vincente from Open Arms Church in Ybor City came, as did Bobby and Yolanda Patton from New Life Baptist Church in Sulphur Springs.
 
Stan and I heard Mark Yeatman of Set Free Church Nassau in our Bible fellowship class. Yeatman’s year-old church in Yulee ministers to people with addictions by removing them from bad environments for 90 days. Providing them with intense discipleship, a chance to address sin in their lives and a Bible memorization program, Set Free’s success rate hovers around an impressive 40 percent, Yeatman said. 
 
“We don’t want them to become religious,” Yeatman said. “We want them to hear God.”
 
Stan and I would probably not know about Set Free Church Nassau and ways we can help them if our church had not hosted Glocal Impact Celebration. We wouldn’t be praying together about volunteering with Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, either. 
 
We’ve been hearing God right here in Callahan. 
 
Change is good.
 
Nancy Lee Bethea is a member of First Baptist Church in Callahan.

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