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SBC DIGEST: FBC Woodstock looks to Morton as Hunt’s successor; LifeWay stores welcome Proverbs 31 Ministries and Passion

FBC Woodstock looks to Jeremy Morton as Johnny Hunt successor

WOODSTOCK, Ga. (BP) — Members of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., voted overwhelmingly Sept. 16 for Atlanta-area pastor Jeremy Morton to serve alongside Johnny Hunt as co-pastor.

Morton, 37, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Cartersville, preached in both Sunday morning services Sept. 16 in view of a call to serve alongside Hunt, who has been named as senior vice president for evangelism and leadership for the North American Mission Board.

“Jeremy will ultimately become the senior pastor,” according to an FBC Woodstock news release, “but not until he and Pastor Johnny feel the timing is best for the church.”

“Since I was a teen pastor Johnny Hunt has been one of my heroes,” Morton told The Christian Index of the Georgia Baptist Convention. “Now, to work at his side as co-pastor is an honor more meaningful than I can describe.”

Hunt, in praying through the time of transition, said, “I asked the Lord to show me His man. I feel that Jeremy fits every quality I felt needed to lead FBCW to its best days. He’s a great family man, a great Bible preacher, a personal soul-winner, and tremendous at building relationships with God’s people.

“I’m elated that he will pastor my children, grandchildren and my wife Janet and me,” Hunt, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said.

Morton, a native of Warner Robins, Ga., has led FBC Cartersville the past five years, previously serving 13 years as the founding pastor/church planter of Cross Point Baptist Church in the central Georgia town of Perry. A graduate of Brewton-Parker College in Mt. Vernon, Ga., and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Morton is currently working on his doctor of ministry degree in expository preaching through Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas.

He and his wife Carrie have three children, Zeke, Madie and Abe.

Since Hunt arrived at FBC Woodstock in 1986, worship attendance has grown from 200 to more than 6,000 and small group attendance has grown from 100 on Sundays to more than 5,500 weekly. In missions, under Hunt’s leadership First Baptist has planted 130 churches, taken hundreds of members on short-term mission trips annually, and supported 45 families commissioned from the its congregation. This year the church reported giving $2.1 million toward missions causes.

LifeWay stores welcome Proverbs 31 Ministries and Passion

NASHVILLE (BP) — LifeWay Christian Stores in select cities are getting new additions to their floor plans as Proverbs 31 Ministries and Passion have teamed up with LifeWay to provide a fresh shopping experience for guests.

“We’re taking a store-within-a-store approach” with Proverbs 31 and Passion, said Faith Whatley, director of adult ministries.

The “mini-stores” will have a unique look reflective of each ministry. The Proverbs 31 Ministries store features a boutique-like atmosphere accented with gold textures and greenery, while the Passion store features an urban industrial feel with mixed wood and metal textures. The mini-stores will feature books, CDs, Bible studies, gifts and apparel tied to the ministries.

“LifeWay is excited to be the exclusive retailer for Proverbs 31 Ministries and Passion,” Whatley said. “We look forward to introducing our customers to these ministries, while welcoming their audiences to our stores.”

This is already the case for the LifeWay store in the Pineville, N.C. — one of the first to feature a Proverbs 31 Ministries mini-store. Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries recently posted a picture of the display on her Instagram account.

“I remember walking around LifeWay stores and dreaming about one day writing a book and seeing it tucked on one of their shelves,” TerKeurst captioned the post. “Never, ever, ever, could I have imagined having an entire Proverbs 31 Ministries section as part of their store.

“Thank you LifeWay Women for dreaming big,” she wrote. “Believing in what we could not see. And linking arms and hearts in ministry.”

TerKeurst said she’s also excited about the partnership because Proverbs 31 Ministries has never had a physical store.

“Our desire is to help women and their families focus on the Word of God and make it part of their everyday lives,” she said. “We know LifeWay is passionate about the same thing, which makes this partnership a perfect fit.”

Louie Giglio, founder of the Passion conference movement, said he looks forward to the impact of the store-within-a-store models.

“For years, LifeWay and Passion have shared a special partnership in our mission to make available resources that lift the name of Jesus and help people grow in their relationship with Him,” Giglio said. “We are thrilled to expand this partnership with the launch of the Passion Store in select LifeWay locations across the country.

“Our prayer is that this space — designed with intentionality and care — will help people connect with Jesus and see their place in His story,” Giglio said.

LifeWay has already received positive reports about the stores within a store.

“Customers are amazed at how beautiful the Proverbs 31 Ministries section is,” said Wesley Caldwell, manager of the Pineville store. “I’m greeted with gasps multiple times a day as guests enter the store and see the new display.”

Richard Ivester, manager of the LifeWay Store in Buford, Ga., reported similar reactions from guests to the first Passion store within a store. “The mini-store has been an instant draw with our guests,” Ivester said.

Store-within-a-store displays are planned for the following LifeWay locations:

Proverbs 31 Ministries, in addition to Pineville — Denver; Kennesaw, Ga.; and Woodlands, Texas.

Passion, in addition to Buford — Olathe, Kan.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Webster, Texas.

The LifeWay Store in Franklin, Tenn., will include both Proverbs 31 Ministries and Passion stores as part of an extensive remodel. All other LifeWay Stores will have branded destinations where customers can buy resources from both ministries.

    About the Author

  • Christian Index, LifeWay & BP Staff

    Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston from reporting by Scott Barkley of The Christian Index of the Georgia Baptist Convention and Aaron Wilson of LifeWay Christian Resources.

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