The Bates Family

A New Phase of Life

by Kelly on September 30, 2012

  We embarked upon an exciting new adventure with the blessings and encouragement of our dear pastor, Jack Gwinn. Pastor Gwinn has been such an incredible inspiration to us these past 4 years. He has a long legacy of faithful service as pastor. He has served in West Virginia and Peoria, Illinois through the years, but God knew we needed his example and leadership in Knoxville at Still Waters Baptist Church. His testimony and life example helped us step out of our comfort zone to plant a church close to our home.

  About 18 years ago, Gil walked a little church aisle one Sunday morning when our first pastor, Mark Williams, preached a message: "Vessels of Honor." Gil told the Lord that morning that he would preach whenever the Lord opened the doors of opportunity. Gil has never asked to speak anywhere, but over the years on occasion, God has allowed him to preach at various churches. In recent years, several families approached asking if God had been directing Gil to pastor a church. It’s certainly easier to "attend" church, so we hid from the idea of such a huge responsibility and undertaking. Nonetheless, Gil began speaking to Pastor Gwinn about the tugging at his heart. God has a way of prompting and prodding us to do something that we are in no ways capable of doing on our own! Pastor Gwinn, with his typical exhorting mannerisms, said, "Boy, hurry up and get to work! And make sure you start the services on time! Don’t be late!"

  Three weeks ago, with the generous help of our loving Still Waters Baptist Church family we met at the brand new Bible Baptist Church for our very first service! We are temporarily meeting in the conference room of Holiday Inn Express in Clinton, Tn., but we know God has a wonderful future in store for us… through the mountain top experiences and through the valleys!

  We’ve already seen His hand of provision in so many ways! Our Still Waters Church family and Pastor Gwinn donated our keyboard! Pastor Mike Samples of New Testament Baptist donated 100 hymnals! With mixed emotions of leaving our precious friends at Still Waters, we rejoice through our tears to see God faithfully walk us hand in hand, as little children, on this very new step of faith.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeannie January 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Thats the majestic thing about how the LoRd works and uses the Spirit to tug on our hearts… sometimes it comes quick like lightening but for most its gentle rain. In a way I do wonder if the LoRd uses that subtle tugging to make sure we are still listening to that still quiet voice He has. A testing sort to see if we still have a willing heart to follow where He leads us and if we are willing to just TRUST in HIM.

Blessings to you and your family as yall embark on this adventure together


Nicole Pelkey January 14, 2013 at 5:04 am

It was so encouraging to read this. Praise the Lord for Gil answeting that call. We too are at Bible Baptist Church and will soon within the next year and a half be leaving to start a new church plant in Waterville, Maine. Its exciting times!!
Keep trusting the Lord!!


Nikki January 23, 2013 at 3:10 am

Hi, Kelly. I trust everything is going well with the church. Praying for you all. Are ya’ll still meeting at the Holiday Inn? Our family may come out that way sometime in the spring/summer and would like to visit.



Kelly January 23, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Dear Nikki,
The church has been a tremendous and exciting change in our life! The new schedule for Gil preparing sermons is challenging for him at times, but we are all benefitting greatly! Love, Kelly


Lori January 29, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Our family will be up there this weekend and we are looking for a great church for Sunday. We are friends with the Baas family that was blessed to worship with you all after the Natl BibleBee event in November, and they suggested we join you of course. Are you still at this same location at 10am?
p.s. Chloe said to tell Carlin & Josie, “hello” :)


Kelly February 1, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Dear Lori,
We’d love to have you visit our church anytime. You’ll find the information on our homepage. Love, Kelly


Larry February 2, 2013 at 1:37 am

Soli Deo Gloria!!!! Will Gil be attending a seminary?


Jennifer March 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm

We were wondering if you family will be in town Sunday, April 7th? Are you still at the holiday Inn. Our family will be passing through and would love yo join your services. Just checking so we can make plans as we travel through Tennessee that weekend.


Kelly March 25, 2013 at 7:44 am

Dear Jennifer,
As far as I know, we’ll be here and would love to have you visit church! We’ll look forward to meeting you! Love, Kelly


Norie April 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Hi Kelly,
We talked to Micheala at the ATI conf in CA. My husband and I are hoping to come to Tenn in June to visit friends in Cookeville. Hoping we can visit your church. Will you be in town. Amy says hi to Micheala. With Love, The McGees


Kelly April 30, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Dear Norie,
Oh we’d love to see you. Hope it works out for you to visit! God bless, Kelly


Mary Allen June 3, 2013 at 5:16 am

Dear Kelly
I live in kingsville Texas
My wish is one day to meet u and ur wonderful family
But what hurts y’all live far from we’re i live
God bless ur family


Mark December 5, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Our family of 8 children are following yours and we are praying for you all. God bless you.


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