Disciple-making starts at home: “I watch their faith and their dedication to trust and follow me because I follow Jesus”

By Izah Broadus

When people think about the ministry of a church, they probably think of the pastors and ministers and what they do. What people might take for granted? The ministers’ families!  

Our family talks about the ministry at New Faith. I mean, it’s a big part of our lives. I make sure my family is involved—that they are not just members but they are also growing in the Lord and growing with the church.

But something I always want to make sure of is that I’m not pressuring them into something. My hope is that they will seek the Lord because they want to. Like Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) At the same time, I watch their faith and their dedication to trust and follow me because I follow Jesus.

Right now our family lives in Little Rock, and we have two daughters in Pine Bluff. Because of the distance, my girls are not able to be a part of everything that happens at the church. Even so, God is using our family to make an impact.

My wife isn’t in West Helena all the time, but when she is in town the young ladies come to her for advice and look up to her. And our children! They have a funny, on-going argument about who is going to open the service or read Scripture for our Youth Sunday every month. It’s amazing how God is using them to bring others to the church and bringing them into a relationship with Jesus.

In the last few weeks, my wife has been talking about how it’s time for us to move to West Helena. It brought joy to my heart to know that she sees what God is doing in West Helena through New Faith! I think I almost cried because it has been on my heart and I didn’t want to pressure her into moving.

After a lot of prayer, we both feel that’s what God is leading our family to do. Please be in prayer for us as we are looking at some houses and plan to make that transition at the end of the year.

Seeing God’s hand

Because we see how God has blessed what we are doing, we have dreams. With the after-school program and our six-week summer program (starting June 12) bringing new kids to New Faith, we want to continue creating more events that focus on children and youth. We want the church to be open every day of the week!

And we have lots of helpers. My kids and other youth in the church are eager to be there and eager to serve. I’ve also seen God’s anointing on a young man named Stanley.

Stanley—who is now 17 years old—came to New Faith with his father about a year ago. Even though his dad left, Stanley stayed. I’m amazed when I hear him talk, and all the kids in the church look up to him.

I thought that Stanley would want to find himself a job after just graduating from high school, but he wants to be involved in what the church is doing. He plays the drums for New Faith, and he volunteers with our after-school program. I’ve noticed how he mentors the kids, and I think about how he could have easily found a job instead. But God has used him here!  

Actually, Stanley recently said he feels God is leading him into ministry. He wants to stick around at the church and go to a local community college to continue his education.

God is truly at work in New Faith Baptist Church and West Helena!

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What’s your focus?

By Anthony Banks

Whether you are bi-vocational or in ministry full-time, you are in for a ride. As a pastor, minister, or church planter, a lot of times people don’t really understand what you are going through balancing family, work, and church. Nothing is easy, and sometimes you will struggle to find the motivation to continue.

That’s why it is so important that your motivation comes from constantly staying in prayer!

I know I’m not telling you anything new when I say you need focus. You know good and well that you can’t let anything slip. “Slipping” happens when you forget to do things at home because of the ministry, or when you struggle to find time at church because of your work.

There is no way, decent or above decent, to love my family, take care of the ministry, or maintain my job if I am not focused on the Lord! 

First, there is my family. My wife needs me, and my kids need me. They need my love and my care and my affection and my time. Scripture says my family is my priority, because if I can’t lead and care for my family well, then how can I take care of the church? (1 Timothy 3:1-5)

{ There is no way, decent or above decent, to love my family, take care of the ministry, or maintain my job if I am not focused on the Lord! }


Then there is Second Baptist Turrell, where the people need a teacher and a listener and a counselor. I don’t want to neglect one of them because they’re all important. I’m not a hired hand but a servant, one who serves by giving of himself and leading his sheep, and I am responsible to God for how I lead.

And last, but not least, is work. Of course I must do the job I have been hired to do. Unlike in the ministry where I want to be like Christ going after one sheep gone astray, at work I am more like a shepherd looking for all the other sheep! My drive and focus at work tends to be different from the ministry. 

I pray and talk with Him about these things—what all these people want from me—and then pray for myself! You and I must have His help if we are to do all these things as He would have us to do.

But I’m just warning you: stepping out in this feels like quicksand. You’re going to have to trust. Because when thoughts and distractions come flooding in, that’s when you have to continue to keep your eyes on Him.

Remember how Peter was walking on the water toward Jesus? I am like Peter sometimes because when He wants me to come out on the water, I go, but then I get distracted by the wind and the waves. I would say to a pastor or church planter, “Don’t take your eyes off Him!”

Distractions are a form of worrying. I would say that if you’re going to pray, then why worry? You have to do one or the other. Worrying can’t add anything to your life but stress. Worrying doesn’t add time or days to your life.

If you are worrying, then you are not trusting Him because worry won’t allow you to trust. Worrying is like saying that someone is standing behind you and strong enough to catch you, but you’re still worried about them catching you when you fall. You aren’t trusting them.

{ …when thoughts and distractions come flooding in, that’s when you have to continue to keep your eyes on Him. }


Maybe at the church you’re worried about an increase in visitors, salvations, or baptisms. Are you worrying why there aren’t more? Are you worrying about what you’re doing or not doing? Scripture says, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God gave the increase…” (1 Corinthians 3:6-8)

You just plant! Water if you have to, but God will send the increase. That is what the Word says: to trust Him! If we’re focusing on other things like Peter, then we’ll start sinking. We must continue to focus on Him.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Come to your family with complete trust in Him. Come to your ministry with complete trust in Him. Come to your job with complete trust in Him. If you’re not focused on God, why are you doing any of it? God should be the focus first, always.

Without Him, there is no us. That’s the reason we have to get up in the morning and say, “You have given me this morning, and You are the reason I woke up this morning.”

A lot of times we “lose it” because we lose focus. At the end of a long day we are tired and lose focus, but in the morning we wake up with a fresh look! We don’t wake up because we’re good; we wake up because He is good!

He has given us this day. That’s focus.

Returning to my roots

By Anthony Banks

Where did you come from? Who had a role in your spiritual journey to bring you to where you are today? Take a moment to remember the people in your life who have shaped you…

I think it’s always good to fellowship with where you came from. For me, that’s my first church home: Second Baptist in West Helena. This is where the Lord brought me after running from Him (read my first blog for the full story). It’s where I grew, and the Lord really blessed me by bringing me up there.  

But just like a man who leaves his father and mother, I now have my own family as pastor of Second Baptist Church in Turrell. Even though I’m pastoring another church in another town, we have kept a connection.

The first service we had in Turrell in May 2016, my pastor from West Helena preached for us. Then in December 2016, my West Helena church family came to Turrell and we had service together. Everybody had a wonderful time. I’ve told my congregation that it’s like they were meeting extended family for the first time. Even if there were some people they hadn’t met before, we’ve got the same blood.

{ It’s a gift and a testimony because of what God has done in my life. }

It’s a gift and a testimony because of what God has done in my life. The members of my home church in West Helena have told me how glad they are to see the Lord using me. One expressed how much they’ve enjoyed seeing how I’ve grown.

Our West Helena family was proud to be able to fellowship with us because the Lord used their pastor and members to speak His truth into my life years ago. And now they are seeing the fruit of their labor because now they have touched people through Second Baptist Turrell.

I thank God and pray that He will continue to use the Second Baptists of West Helena and Turrell to grow the Kingdom!