Rev. John Rice

Dear FBC Friends and Family,

On Sunday the 13th I joyfully announced the calling of Rev. John Rice as our new Associate Pastor. Since that time, words of encouragement, congratulations, and affirmation have resounded from both within FBC and throughout the network of Baptists who know both John and our congregation. We are truly fortunate and blessed to welcome John and Sara to the family and to the ministry team.

Over the past weeks I have met with John on multiple occasions and he has quietly spent time with our staff, and the HR and Management Teams. We are unanimously impressed with John and clearly recognize the matching of his particular skills to our needs, personality, and values at this pivotal time. God’s fingerprints appear to be all over the matching of man and ministry. I believe that with all my heart.

When I came to St. Pete I told the church that while we would be patient and prudent with ministry and staff commitments, we would repeatedly be called on to act on our faith in God and our people making and meeting new financial obligations. By this boldness, God has brought together Chris, Aimee, and Sara alongside me to serve you. Each time, the finances were not fully present to fund their salaries and ministries. These callings that we were certain of all came with some measure of financial uncertainty. Yet, we acted in faith and our ever-increasing faithfulness, generosity, and new growth have carried the day. And it needs to again as John, for our foreseeable future, will complete our ministry team. I believe in this decision. And I believe in you.

I believe God has ordered the gathering of this ministry team to fully lead FBC into a new era of ministry. And I trust our people to take our giving to a new level to fund it. It’s not the first time this storied church has stepped up to meet such a challenge, nor will it be the last. Yet, as we are faithful to God, God continues to be faithful to us. We have proved that together already. And so has He.

I’ll have more to say in the days ahead. But today I thank you for your growing support as we live out the love of Christ together in St. Pete and beyond.

Faithfully yours,