Letter from Senior Pastor, Mike Glenn
As most of you know by now, I have announced my intention to step down as Senior Pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church at the end of 2023. We moved here when my boys were in the second grade. People warned me and now I know it’s true—time flies!
As I have looked back on our journey, I have been overcome with gratitude for all that we’ve been part of. Think about it! We’ve established seven healthy campuses. We’ve built out the master plan at 7777 Concord Road, including a worship facility for the deaf and the Rowen Glenn Center for Special Needs.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. Just know this– all of this and so much more has been possible only because of your generosity. Time and time again, you gave above and beyond to make sure we accomplished the moments to which God was calling us.
And there’s more to do! From Bill Wilson to me to our next pastor, God has so much more in store for us! Let’s not grow weary in well doing. Continue to invest your time, talents, and resources in Kingdom work in and through Brentwood Baptist Church.
Things change. That’s just life. What doesn’t change is our Savior’s love for His lost world. Let’s not miss the chance to be on mission with Him.
One of the highest honors of my life is to be the pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church!
Letter from 2022 Trustee Chair, Joey Moss
As we reflect on 2022, I’m truly overwhelmed at what the Lord tasked us with and the faithfulness of our church in responding. Across all campuses, we’ve consistently averaged over 5,000 people in weekly on-campus attendance along with an estimated 4,000 additional online viewers.
Thousands of our members have engaged in service or missions, and over 500 new people have joined the church. All the while we’ve added services, affirmed the launch of a new campus in Columbia, found a permanent home for Avenue South, and completed multiple other projects for our facilities. Most importantly, we’ve had well over 200 individuals profess their faith in Jesus Christ through baptism!
The Lord’s faithfulness, goodness, and our obedience to His call have been hallmarks of Brentwood Baptist Church and all its campuses in 2022. Thank you for serving. Thank you for giving. And thank you for joining in our mission of engaging the whole person with the whole gospel of Jesus Christ. I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Jesus said, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38). We definitely saw the Lord raise up workers for His harvest in 2022. Here’s a glimpse of God’s victories through the people of Ave South:
Some Were Called
We added 11 new adult discipleship groups in 2022. One mentoring group had a man in his 50s make a first-time profession of faith and be baptized. What a reminder that it’s never too late for God! Next Gen also grew with the addition of 34 new leaders enabling us to reach 55 kids with the gospel through Backyard Kids Clubs. However, the most memorable (and humbling) highlight is from our first student ministry journey to New Orleans. Not only did our high school students engage in over 200 gospel conversations, but they also returned home asking, “Why shouldn’t we go to downtown Nashville more often and share gospel conversations like we did in downtown New Orleans?!”
Some Were Sent
After the campus-wide focus on global missions in June, three graduating college students felt God’s call to overseas missions. Farris, Ashley, and Eliza are currently preparing to serve in Europe. Closer to home, our habit of providing food to our homeless neighbors during staff meetings has allowed some of these men and women to experience the sense of being a genuine part of our church family. One even pledged to the Pursue campaign! Also, our Foster and Adoption Ministry (FAM) worked both with and for local DCS workers. Monthly meals were provided by volunteers to DCS workers and kids at one of the safe houses, and we partnered with other campuses to host a DCS staff Christmas party. The workers were so encouraged by the party that some of them called co-workers at the DCS office and urged them to come experience it!
Eager for the Future
We celebrated two staff additions: Meg Nelson as our Missions & Connection minister and Nic Gonzales, our first full-time Worship Minister. Along with new staff, the 96 people we equipped through gospel conversation training, and the evident stirring in the hearts of our students and connections with DCS, we look forward to seeing how God will use us to spread the gospel in 2023!
The mission of our church is to engage the whole person with the whole gospel of Jesus Christ anywhere, anytime, and with anybody. But the church isn’t an organization or a building – it’s people. You are the church. You are sent to engage others with the gospel, and you did just that in many ways during 2022. Because of people like you, we were able to renovate our Worship Center, Atrium, and more.
We also saw growth because of your outreach. The Brentwood campus had a 12% increase in in-person attendance overall with a 28% increase from May – December while we met in Hudson Hall. We also celebrated 79 baptisms (29% more than in 2021) and enjoyed record Christmas attendance: over 3,000 attended the Brentwood Christmas event, the concert drew 8,951 attendees, and we had 5,009 worshippers on Christmas Eve. The first weekend in the newly renovated worship center packed in a jaw-dropping 11,665 people! By God’s grace, attendance grew to exceed pre-pandemic levels. But our greatest stories, our greatest wins, are all in our people. People like you who make church happen on the six days we don’t meet together.
Brock joined the Kairos team as Connection Intern in the spring of 2022 after attending Kairos and being baptized in 2021. In the fall at the age of 21, Brock obeyed God’s call to serve in Greece and bring the gospel to the nations. He is the first missionary sent from Kairos in five years. We were excited to send him in August and even more so to take a mission journey in October to support our brother! Brock has been a true success story for discipleship and the power of God to equip those who are called according to His purpose.
Living Hope ministry experienced God’s work in diverse age groups. Most of the clients involved in the substance abuse program ended up receiving Jesus as their Savior, and 14 children also responded to the gospel by accepting Christ at a children’s holiday club. But one young mother’s story stands out: she wanted an abortion but was too far along, so she decided to give the baby up for adoption. However, after giving birth, she pled to have her baby returned and received counseling and support. She has been reunited with her baby, accepted Jesus as Lord, attends the First 1000 Days program at Living Hope, and is now a changed woman!
Kevin and his wife relocated to this area about a year ago. When they moved, Kevin sought out fellowship with other men and came across our men’s event, Factor. Without knowing a single person, he attended Factor and was quickly befriended by a couple of guys who also invited him to a couple’s group. Through a series of connections, Kevin met with Matt Purdom, and the two began meeting regularly. Now Kevin is leading his own Tuesday morning group. His story displays God’s work through an event to bring a man in his 30s into an ongoing biblical community and raise him up to lead other men!
The Brentwood students also celebrated a phenomenal year in 2022 with several multi-campus events such as the student camp, Mission 615, a Chicago mission trip, and the annual fall retreat. The Chicago trip resulted in one person giving their life to the Lord, and the fall retreat brought about 20 decisions by students – some accepted the gift of salvation, while others obeyed a call to baptism or ministry. We celebrate this next generation of God-fearing men and women and are honored to disciple them.
Between lingering pandemic impacts and surging inflation, growing food insecurity in our area led to amazing ministry opportunities. Luke 3:11 records Jesus instructing those who have food to share it with the hungry, and we were blessed to see God work when we obeyed! Through our food pantry, we are finding ways to reach our community with the gospel.
The Harpeth Heights Food pantry served record numbers of people in 2022. Besides providing food support for 1,523 families (over 6,000 people), we had over 2,000 gospel conversations! In addition, over half of our current volunteers come from outside our church family. This provides incredible opportunities to share the gospel with them as well as the people we help. God’s goodness is getting attention in the community, too. A group of Hindu neighbors served by one of our teams now wants their children to know more about our God and how we love our neighbors. We pray He continues to reveal Himself to them and others like them!
God’s work in the food pantry carried over into our small groups, as several new group members first connected with our church through the food pantry. Our groups are growing and meeting both on and off campus. The Young Professionals group is thriving by honoring God as they walk through life together. One area of significant growth we saw in 2022 was in participation: 100% of our groups participated in our December service projects! These projects helped 25 church members share the gospel with over 400 people in the Appalachian Mountains. Through the generosity of our groups, gifts and needed items were provided to 112 children in an underserved region. Our groups continue to spread the good news of Jesus and share His love with our community and beyond as they allow Jesus to shape their lives.
Paul wrote, “I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-4). Partnerships in the gospel are important, and our campus enjoys ministry growth through partnerships with Warner Arts Magnet School and Barefoot Republic, among others. Through outreach into our community and working alongside parachurch ministries, we are able to reach people who might not otherwise walk through the doors of a church building.
Warner Arts Magnet School
We began a partnership with Warner Arts Magnet School in 2020, and God continues to grow it. During 2022, the Church at Lockeland Springs served over 100 students, faculty, and staff of the school at a back-to-school festival. By God’s grace, we were also able to provide over 100 bikes, 500 toys, and 300 food boxes to the families of the elementary school for the Christmas holidays – enough that every family was able to provide Christmas gifts for their children. We are eager to see how God will use our affiliation with this multi-ethnic school for the gospel in 2023!
Barefoot Republic Day Camp
After a three-year hiatus due to tornado damage and pandemic restrictions, Barefoot Republic Day Camp was able to return to the Church at Lockeland Springs for the first time since 2019. We have loved partnering with Barefoot and hosting this summer day camp for kids from kindergarten through sixth grade. Barefoot’s mission is to develop Christ-centered relationships between individuals from diverse racial, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds through an equally diverse platform of artistic, athletic, and team-building programs. Through our partnership with them, nearly 100 children attended, and over 70% of the attendees enjoyed a Christ-centered camp experience with a full scholarship! We are excited to continue supporting and growing our partnership with them in 2023.
Nolensville has experienced God’s work in outreach ministry and through seeing the truth of the gospel come alive in the hearts and lives of people. With stories such as families who attended worship gatherings mere days after losing family members, a fifth-grade student who taught his classmates about the 3 Circles evangelism tool, and an unbeliever hearing the gospel through attending a group, it can be hard to nail down the most compelling moments. Yet, watching one member transform her passion into action for the glory of God is a definite highlight – faith in action, just as James encouraged in James 2:15-17.
Nolensville Clothing Closet
Christa Tidwell came to me with a heartfelt passion to serve our community by providing one of the most basic of needs: clothing. With the strong support of our church, we’ve had hundreds of people give aid to our community over the course of the year through the Clothing Closet. Volunteers serve by sorting, folding, and hanging clothes as well as providing childcare, doing administrative work, and shopping with participants. Our Thursday morning shopping day serves as many as 90 families each month.
We featured our Nolensville Clothing Closet at Cedar Grove Elementary School during our Engage Middle Tennessee event, and it has grown continuously ever since! We’ve added fun opportunities like providing Spanish Bibles for shoppers and a Spanish storyteller for the children. In December, we prepared surprise Christmas stockings with age and gender-specific content for all the parents to give to their children. But Christa wasn’t ready to stop there! She also partnered with our Foster and Adoption Ministry and provided clothes and brand-new shoes for school to any and all foster and adoptive families we could reach in both our community and surrounding areas.
We are excited about the opportunities ahead in 2023 for us to dive deeper into relationships with these families as well as continue to provide them with opportunities (such as ESL) to thrive in our growing city and learn about Jesus.
“May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me” (John 17:20). The prayer Jesus offered for unity seemed to stir many hearts at Station Hill during 2022. We’ve seen God in action growing our gospel footprint and drawing us into unity in the Spirit.
Unity in the Body of Christ
The attendance at our free English as a Second Language (ESL) classes continues to grow along with our city. Through the ESL program, we’ve had incredible chances to share the gospel while loving our neighbors. A need for native Spanish speakers to have a service in their heart language led us to begin a Sunday afternoon service in Spanish. Finally, wonderful new relationships are growing out of a partnership with Connection Hill Church, a historically African American church in Thompson’s Station. We’ve held joint prayer meetings, collaborated on local mission projects, and several ladies from both congregations share a weekly prayer call.
Foster & Adoption Ministry
God also allowed our church to serve the Columbia Department of Children’s Services (DCS). Our Foster & Adoption Ministry team created a respite room for the weary workers where they visit and pray with and for the workers. We also hosted a dinner for over 90 DCS workers and their spouses in December. As a result of God’s care and the support shown by His church, one worker’s husband made a profession of faith and was baptized. With each of these ministries, God is using our church to open doors for gospel conversations in unique and powerful ways. We are so humbled by His faithfulness as we see Him at work bringing unity within the body of Christ to a watching world!
Throughout 2022, our campus has enjoyed watching God increase the trust of those who obey Him because they are connected to Jesus, the Vine (John 15). We want to share three such stories of God’s personal involvement in the spiritual growth of His children from our members.
Baptism: Terri and C. A. Stilwell
The Lord called us to the Church at West Franklin in 2022. During the Discover classes, we learned the reasoning behind baptism by immersion. Although both of us had previously received baptism by sprinkling and had accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we realized immersion was necessary for membership in our new church home. However, Terri’s lifelong struggle with asthma and breathing difficulties made the thought of going underwater terrifying. Through comforting conversations with our pastors, prayer, and the desire to serve as an example for our 5-year-old grandson, the Spirit convicted us to submit to baptism by immersion. Mere days after our baptisms, viral pneumonia combined with asthma kept Terri in the hospital for eight days. Had the illness struck before baptism, the immersion would have caused much more anxiety. God’s providence is apparent to us, and we are eager to proceed in our faith.
Oak Cottage for Women
I was there to attend a graduation, but it felt like a New Testament house church straight from the book of Acts. I went to support two women, and I left reminded of a good, redeeming, merciful God who forgives past mistakes and sets people free to embrace a new life with Him. West Franklin has the incredible privilege of partnering with Oak Cottage for Women, a ministry providing a Christ-saturated atmosphere for women released from prison to help them acclimate back into society in a healthy way. Several Oak Cottage women have attended our worship gatherings and developed deep relationships with our members. Ministering to these ladies has reminded me how ministry works because they also minister to me. In their stories, I see God and am reminded of His goodness and love, His ability to rescue, and transforming power. I am shown how the church isn’t just an idea, but a reality.
During 2022, I had the opportunity to participate in a mission trip to Wynne, Arkansas, but my mother passed away shortly before the trip. I considered backing out, but I went. Along with a small group from West Franklin, I spent four days helping a church in Wynne prepare a halfway house for people who had nowhere else to go. Over the course of those four days, grief was lost in gratitude for being allowed to be part of God’s plan. One man I worked with in Wynne said something to me that really hit home, “Do what God tells you to do.” I learned when you obey, you will see that God has a perfect plan. He will put you exactly where you need to be, exactly when you need to be there. I went to Wynne trip hoping to be a blessing to someone and left realizing that I was the one who was blessed beyond measure. Do what God tells you to do.
“The Lord had done great things for us; we were joyful” (Psalm 126:3, CSB). This verse comes to mind as we reflect on all the Lord has done here at the Church at Woodbine. It would be easy for us to talk about our first mission journey to Mexico, discuss the 10 family units who are serving as Global Workers, provide stats from our Summer Day Camp, Medical-Dental Units, and the Fall Fiesta, or share about God’s incredible work through partnerships. Instead, we want to tell you about two people who had a profound impact on our church family in 2022.
Mary Beth Walton
The first is Mary Beth Walton. Mary Beth faithfully served as the Church Secretary at Woodbine for 47 years. Let that sink in for a second: 47 years!!!! Mary Beth was more than just an administrative assistant; she was an excellent listener, encourager, and prayer warrior. Her office was a counseling center, a prayer room, and the hub of Woodbine. Mary Beth passed away in the fall of 2022, and she is dearly missed by all. We are so grateful to Jesus for how He used Mary Beth for almost a half-century to love people, encourage them, and connect them to one another and to the Lord Jesus at the Church at Woodbine.
The second is a Project Connect client we’ll call “Frank.” Frank’s sobering story begins with a physical disability at birth, continues through 42 different foster homes before graduating high school, includes succumbing to drugs and illegal activities, and led to over a dozen years in federal prison. In prison, God intervened, and by His grace, Frank gave his life to Jesus. Once released from prison, he became involved in Project Connect Nashville. In 2022, Frank became an active member of Woodbine and faithfully serves every week. Although he continues to suffer from his disability and from the long-term consequences of his past choices, he knows that Scripture says, “. . .we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37, CSB). Through the guidance of Project Connect and dear brothers and sisters at Woodbine, cycles of poverty are being broken in Frank’s life. He is learning how to trust Jesus every day, and we are grateful for our brother Frank and how we see Jesus moving powerfully in his life. We can’t wait to see what God will do in our midst in 2023!
Ministry Residency Program
Our ministry residency program currently has a total of eight residents serving across all eight campuses in a variety of roles. Truett Ross a second-year resident in Pastoral Ministry, had the joy of teaching Ave South college students as well as preaching at four North Region campuses. Besides teaching and preaching, he’s helped lead and organize the first-ever Ave South college mission journey and cast vision for the college leadership team.
Another resident, Cameron Russell, is appreciative that several more experienced pastors are willing to welcome him to their pulpits. The ability to preach in multiple campuses allows residents to hone their craft while making much of the Lord and gaining experience in a wide variety of church contexts. And as important as the cohort, growth, and explorations of their various giftings is, having a safe place to fail and learn from it cannot be underestimated. The depth of hands-on experience, deep relationships from the cohort learning environment, and mentored supervision equip the next generation of church leaders for effective kingdom work in the church.
TNT (Timothy and Titus): Lay Leadership Equipping
Our Timothy and Titus (TNT) leadership class saw 20 graduates in the past year with another 20 currently enrolled. TNT is a one-year leadership development initiative that equips and encourages lay leaders within the church to grow as spiritual leaders and to live for Christ in all areas, including ministry, disciple-making, and the advancement of the kingdom of God. The course is broken into four quarters covering Biblical Studies with an emphasis on the Gospels, Basic Christian Theology, Ministry in the Twenty-first Century, and Spiritual Leadership. The course concludes with the student’s ministry presentation on how he or she will serve God’s kingdom inside or outside the walls of the church. We look forward to seeing how God will use these men and women to grow His kingdom!
If They Can Give—
Despite living in a makeshift camp, a homeless man who attends Avenue South pledged to the Pursue campaign. He represents a large community of homeless people welcomed by Avenue South who have found a sense of belonging and a desire to be a part of God’s work. Another humbling story is that of a single mom from the Station Hill campus who works for a non-profit ministry to support herself, her six children, and her aunt. She made her pledge with great excitement despite the financial obstacles she faces. Additionally, at both the Avenue South and Brentwood campuses, children made pledges and have contributed towards Pursue. It’s as challenging as it is encouraging to see members of our church family who trust God so completely!
A Continual Pursuit
As Jesus taught His disciples in Mark 12:41-44, the victory in giving does not come from the sum of the gift, nor did the Lord commend those who gave from a place of financial security. The victories and glories of giving are spiritual – a sacrificial gift stemming from whole-hearted trust in the God who provides, a chance to teach the next generation about stewarding the resources God gives, and the incredible joy to be had in being a part of something far bigger than yourself. What those who give generously from their little understand is this: when you invest in something, your heart follows in caring about it. Thank you to all who gave to help us Pursue God’s work!
*Giving for 2022 fell below our budget goal of $29 million. As a result, the Finance Ministry Team and Trustees have implemented a spending plan for 2023 of $2 million less than our budget goal of $31 million.