Hello, and welcome to the University Baptist Church of Starkville! As pastor, I'd like to share with you a few characteristics which, I think, make UBC a unique congregation:
(1) We do not own a building.
Renting space from the Wesley Foundation on MSU's campus, we gather together on Sunday mornings in their wonderful new worship center. Not owning a building allows us to devote more of our resources to ministry needs in our community and around the world.
(2) We do not have deacons or elders, and only a few committees.
We believe in the traditional Baptist notion of the priesthood of all believers – all are ministers and all are servants. We believe that God gives unique gifts to everyone, and in the community of faith those gifts are called out, developed, and allowed to shine. We have a monthly community meeting following a fellowship meal in which everyone has an equal voice.
(3) And, we do not have a staff of “professional” ministers.
Sunday morning services are planned and led by some of our members, so each Sunday worship service is different. Some services are quite traditional with hymns and a piano; others are more "contemporary" with videos, guitars and praise/worship music; and still others are a blend of worship styles.
Although I am the pastor, I am first and foremost a member of this community of faith. Like everyone else, I have “day jobs” (teaching and writing) during the week. Though I bring a message on Sundays, ultimately neither I nor anyone else speaks for the entire congregation.
Members of UBC are all over the socio-political spectrum; we see our purpose as a church to hold each of us to the higher unifying call to follow Jesus. Differences of opinion are common at UBC, as they are in most families; however, we also laugh a lot and enjoy being together. Our commitment to treating each other with love and respect as sisters and brothers in Christ trumps our differences, and it binds us together.
In my four years as pastor, I have experienced University Baptist Church not as an organization or an institution; rather, UBC is, in every sense of the word, a community.
Our website, like UBC itself, is a continuing work-in-progress. I hope you'll look around the site and read more about us; and I hope that if you like what you see, you'll come visit sometime and let us get to know you.
Blessings and peace,
Welcome (from the Pastor)