First Baptist Church of Dawsonville had many gifts to be thankful for this past Sunday when members, friends, and visitors commemorated the churchs 158th anniversary.
It was a special day especially for Dr. Jim Gaines and his family as the church also celebrated his 15th year as pastor.
Gaines and wife Debbie have been involved in ministry for 43 years. Along the way, the couple has made some strong friendships, including the guest speaker of the Homecoming service, Gov. Nathan Deal.
Deal focused his message on Romans 12: 6-8, which speaks about each of us having different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. Deal highlighted the gifts of prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading and showing mercy.
We are here today to celebrate the gifts that have been shared with this church, Deal said. I believe to be a pastor of a Baptist church it requires you to have all of those gifts, and that you develop them to their fullest. I believe thats what Jim has done. He has manifested that in your presence and as a result, your community and your church in particular has prospered as a result of his service.
Gaines was then given a Commendation by the Governor.
Mayor James Grogan, a member of FBC, also presented Gaines with a special recognition from the City of Dawsonville.
A proclamation was made by Grogan to recognize Aug. 4 as Dr. James D. Gaines Appreciation Day in the City of Dawsonville.
FBC member Jane Stuckey presented Gaines with a Bible signed by most of the churchs members and attendees of the special Homecoming Service. This represents our love and appreciation for you and how you lead us in worship, Stuckey said.
An emotional Dr. Gaines delivered a heartfelt message to his friends and church family members.
We thank you so much for loving all of our family, he said, with his wife, three children and spouses, and five grandchildren by his side. Youve been gracious, kind, encouraging and loving to us in the good and the bad times.
He continued by recognizing many who were an instrumental part of the churchs strength.
I am more grateful for the 158 years that this church has stood strong, he said.
I think about men like Don Gordon, Billy Wallace, Dr. Robinson, Charlie Ridley, and theres just so many that have gone on to be with the Lord. We miss them so much. But, the legacy they left for us is to be bold and strong. And to be that kind of christian and influence on our neighbors.
Bill Minor, deacon chairman at FBC, said this is the kind of christian Dr. Gaines is during his message to the congregation. His main concern is not for himself, he said. It's for the hearts and souls of those he loves. The hearts desire of Jim Gaines is to share the love and grace of God for people not for his glory but for the glory of God.
Several FBC members spoke about their love for the church.
Blanch Robinson is the wife of the late Dr. Herbert Robinson, namesake of Robinson Elementary School. She has attended FBC for 72 years and is the eldest female member. Her late husband was only 19-years-old when he began teaching a Sunday school class at FBC.
This place has always been home to me, I guess you could say, she said with a smile. It used to be we knew everybody that came to church here, but it has grown so much.
And thats okay, she added. That just means theres are a lot of new people who love our church, too.
Janice Darnell is a newer member of FBC, where she has worshiped for five years. She agrees with Robinson saying that, the place just feels like home.
When we came here of course the music touched my heart", said Darnell who is the churchs pianist. Its a very welcoming place, and there is a tremendous amount of support. I am just able to feel Gods spirit here. And Pastor Gaines really has a heart for people and truly cares. You can see that, its not superficial.
Gaines said the church emphasizes more on family and his style of preaching is situational.
I try to take scripture and apply it to every day life, he said, And give a focus to be a christian and have a family life.