Small Town Summit in Dexter, Maine

Posted by Stephen Witmer on November 18th, 2018

Wow, what an amazing day Saturday, November 17 was!

One day after a snowstorm, 85+ pastors, lay leaders, and Christian workers gathered at the First Baptist Church of Dexter, Maine for our Small Town Summit to sing together, eat together, worship Christ together, and consider together how the gospel of Jesus Christ distinctively shapes ministry in small places. New friendships and gospel partnerships began, and some who hadn’t seen each other for many years had the opportunity to re-connect. Our main sessions focused on the gospel shape of small-place ministry, preaching in small places, and fighting for joy in small places. In breakout sessions, we learned about family worship in small places, cultivating the life of the mind in small places, transitioning pastoral leadership successfully in small places, cultivating a Word-filled women’s ministry in small places, and revitalizing churches in small places.

This was our third Summit. We’ve now gathered leaders in the small places of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. In each case, we’ve been amazed and encouraged by the skilled, godly, passionate, humble Christian laypeople and pastors who are pouring out their lives for the glory of Christ in places many people overlook. Yesterday we met several bi-vocational pastors who are reaching their communities both inside and outside the church walls. We met a man wrestling with whether to remain in marketplace ministry or to enter church-based ministry. We met church planters, intentional interim pastors, women seeking to cultivate women’s ministries that will reach and resource those around them with the Bible, and many, many others. Some pastors at the Summit had been in ministry for 30+ years, some for 10 months. As we reflect upon how God is using these faithful, fruitful men and women, our hope is strong. God is on the move in Maine and beyond.

It gave us joy to partner at our Dexter Summit with The Gospel Coalition New England (the TGCNE Director, Paul Buckley, spent the day with us) and the Gospel Alliance of Maine, and we were well-fed and well-served by the wonderful people of the First Baptist Church of Dexter.

Please pray for the small places of Maine, that they will see and embrace the life-changing glory of God in Christ.

Guest blog by Ed Marino

Posted by Stephen Witmer on October 24th, 2018

It’s a pleasure to include here a guest blog by our church accountant (and former business administrator) Ed Marino, recommending several helpful resources.

Ed Marino

When I was homeschooling, I discovered a great weekly news publication for children called God’s World. The articles were age appropriate, informative, and - very importantly - written from a biblical perspective. Later I found that the organization that published God’s World also published an adult news magazine called World Magazine. I’ve been a subscriber for over 20 years, and I have found the content to be very helpful in maintaining a biblical perspective on world events, culture, and other matters. Unlike many news outlets, World is very upfront that it is biased, and its bias is the word of God. While its outlook tends to be conservative, it favors neither political party, and it reports honestly (sometimes painfully honestly) on Christian matters. Most of the time I agree with viewpoints I read in World, but even when I don’t, I feel that the editors are committed to the truth, and for them the ultimate truth is the Word of God.

Over the past 5 or so years, World has been joining the digital age. It now publishes the magazine electronically, and it also has a very good web site. You don’t need to subscribe to World to access the website and, as far as I can tell, you have access to the same content as subscribers. (A plug: World is a non-profit, funded by subscriptions and donations. It has some sponsors—similar to public TV and radio—but there are no intrusive ads or pop-ups.) Lately I’ve been enjoying The World and Everything In It, which is a 30 minute daily podcast of news and commentary. Think of it as NPR from a Christian perspective. The podcast can be streamed from the website, or downloaded from iTunes.

You are what you love

Posted by Stephen Witmer on October 3rd, 2018

In this past Sunday’s sermon I mentioned James K.A. Smith’s very helpful book You Are What You Love and shared some quotes from the book worth pondering.

‘Virtues are learned and acquired, through imitation and practice. It’s like we have moral muscles that are trained in the same way our biological muscles are trained when we practice a golf swing or piano scales.’

‘The church – the body of Christ – is the place where God invites us to renew our loves, reorient our desires, and retrain our appetites…the practices of the church are also a spiritual workout, inviting us into routines that train our heart muscles, our fundamental desires that govern how we move and act in the world.’

‘The church’s worship is the heart of discipleship. Yes, Christian formation is a life-encompassing, Monday through Saturday, week in and week out project; but it radiates from, and is nourished by, the worship life of the congregation gathered around Word and Table.’

And here’s the book, which I highly recommend.

Small Town Summit in Dexter, Maine on November 17

Posted by Stephen Witmer on September 17th, 2018

Small Town Summits will host its third Summit this coming November 17 in Dexter, Maine (not far from my hometown of Monson!) and I’m excited about gathering with Maine pastors, laypeople, and ministry leaders to consider how the gospel can shape our churches and our lives in small towns and rural areas. We’ve got a full day with some great breakout speakers from around the State of Maine and I’m praying God will use this to mightily encourage gospel workers.

If you know folks from Maine please encourage them to check out our website ( and register for the Maine Summit here.