Yesterday we celebrated the 49th anniversary of the New Testament Baptist Church in Largo, Florida. We were able to recognize individuals and families who have been a part of the work for decades. Some have been members for more than forty years. One mentioned that she could account for forty-nine years and several months as she was around before the church was organized. They have seen a lot of changes – in the church and in the world around us.

It is fitting that we remember the devoted efforts and sacrificial labor of so many throughout the years. Early on the church met in a borrowed space at Belcher Elementary School. Before that families gathered to worship in a carport.

Pastor Dick Freeman followed the Lord’s leading and organized a local church that would minister to the needs of the community which at that time held a lot more orange groves than it does now. Several years later, Pastor & Mrs. H. F. Ramsey came to lead the work “for six months or so.” They had plans to provide assistance before moving out west. Thirty-four years later they were still standing strong and doing the work of the ministry. I had the great privilege of learning from and working with “Preacher and Mrs. R” for years.

Many things have changed through the years. Belcher Road is quite a bit wider than it was in 1961, and thousands more travel it every day. The width of men’s ties and the hairstyles of ladies are different (check out the black-and-white photos along the Adult Ed. hallway). We have an abundance of amenities that were absent as the formative group met in a carport.

However, man’s basic need is still the same. God’s Word still has the one answer for that need. I trust that our church will continue to be a witness for the great gospel of Jesus Christ that can change people’s lives for eternity.

2 Tim. 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.