Five years into my first pastorate (and having had plenty of conversations with other pastors about the state of congregational life), I think what makes Tabernacle unique is simply its willingness to embrace the ideas, vision and leadership of new people.

Plenty of congregations pay lip service to the need for change and renewal, but when these possibilities knock at the door, they go unrecognized and unheeded. In claiming a desire for growth, these churches spend more time lamenting the loss of the good old days and less time wondering what God might be working on today and tomorrow.

As a result, newcomers are recruited to be little more than seat fillers or to reinforce outdated structures. Long-timers refuse to trust the vision and leadership of folks who haven’t “paid their dues,” and fresh shoots of growth and life are snuffed out before they have a chance to mature and become fruitful.
The beauty of Tabernacle – and a key to its vitality – is that it is not that kind of church.

From the stories of creation, with its reminders that each of is made in God’s image, to our Baptist beliefs about soul competency, we confess that all people are precious. Tabernacle puts this conviction into practice, celebrating the gifts of all comers as they contribute to richness of the community.


Rev. Justin Joplin, Pastor

Westover Baptist Church

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