"Imagine the impact" of Ashdown First Baptist Church at 125 years: Opinion

On Sunday, April 28, 2019, Ashdown First Baptist Church will celebrate one hundred and twenty five years of ministry in this community - a major milestone by any standard.

Indeed, Ashdown FBC has been continuously promoting Christ's love for more than 45,000 days and just over 1,000,000 hours in Ashdown. Not only that, missions have always been important, and monies raised by the church have gone around the world; while mission trips have sent members to help all sorts of individuals and churches during that time.

Imagine the impact of Ashdown FBC during its 125 years.

Children and teenagers give the church vigor and excitement, but Glenda Riddle has provided something more: structure and Christian instruction. As the permanent student minister for 15 years, she is a one person army who works countless hours as a piano-playing maestro, youth worship leader and children's choir director. How lucky is Ashdown FBC to have a professional musician with a heart for young people?

Imagine the impact on the lives of Ashdown's kids and youth.

It may be hard to envision 65 million minutes, but that's the amount of time that hymns and Christian music have played an important role in the community and this church. More recently - for almost 20 years - Ashdown FBC has been fortunate to have an Ark-La-Tex church music legend, Charles Vance. He is a music director who is known all over the state of Arkansas and throughout Northeast Texas as a stellar choir and worship leader.

Imagine the impact of this music on Ashdown and its people.

For almost 30 years, Ashdown FBC has been blessed to have a pastor like Butch Riddle that not only knows the Bible inside and out but can communicate warmth and caring with just a glance while also guiding the church's finances in a such a way that the next 125 years look bright.

Imagine the impact of having such an accomplished pastor.

The history of Ashdown FBC is the history of Ashdown, Arkansas. It would be very hard to separate the two. Throughout the years, there very have been very happy moments, but we all know there have been dark days as well - for both the city and Little River County. But since 1894, Ashdown FBC has been there - to lift people up in hard times but also to celebrate the good times - and, of course, hold people accountable to the high standards of this great church body when necessary.

Imagine the impact of all the members and visitors that have received instruction from Ashdown FBC who later pass on that biblical knowledge of Christ and Christian service they learned in Ashdown with communities across the Ark-La-Tex and even around the world.

An anniversary of one hundred twenty five years is an amazing feat. It's a time to reflect on those in the church who have been lost to car accidents, suicide, drug overdoses, war, disease and natural causes. But it's also a time to look forward to the future and to bright days ahead.

Just close your eyes and imagine the impact of Ashdown First Baptist Church during the last 125 years and say a quiet prayer that this church body's next 125 years will have the same high standard of Christian servants and community service - which have all led up to the amazing celebration service and fellowship meal that follows on Sunday, April 28, 2019.

And just imagine the impact - and all the smiles in heaven up above - of a job well done.
His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord'" (Matthew 25:16-23).