In 1995, Tony Celelli came to Crestview as Minister of Youth and Education. Tony is now president of Stark College and Seminary in Corpus Christi with branches located in the Rio Grande Valley. Tony was unusually effective in both student ministry and education ministry. He led out in the development of our use of technology. He and his wife Dee Ann were very helpful on our drive to build our current preschool and children’s building as well as our gymnasium. Tony did well in ministry to youth also and pioneered some efforts to do city wide ministry with other youth groups in Georgetown. In 1996 Lewis Sims transitioned from Minister of Music to Minister of Senior Adults. He developed our Senior Choir now known as the Encore Choir. Lewis was great at ministry to Seniors along with his wife, Fran. Phil May began work as part time Minister of Music in 1996 and later became full time serving until 2018. His wife Gayla became pianist for one of our two services with Linda Spence covering the other service. Gayla did great work with our children’s choir also. Some outstanding children’s musicals were done. The choir grew under Phil’s leadership.
In those days Shannon Wooldridge, my wife, led out in Children’s Ministry, and Sharon Thomason led out in the Preschool Ministry. The church experienced great growth and adjustments had to be made while we waited on a new children’s building to be built. The preschool wing was made into a children’s area and the preschool was moved to the old children’s area. Modular buildings were leased and placed on the lot near where our fountain now is. An additional modular was leased and placed near where the big tree now stands. We purchased our first house which once stood in the midst of our present park. This purchase was not a unanimous decision, but proved to be a great blessing to us and still is so.
Lisa Burkett worked as a volunteer leading us to the first Camp Crestview in 1996. We called it, “Camp Safari” that year. We closed out the week of camp with a picnic on the grounds of the house we purchased and had the author of “Amarillo By Morning”, Clifton Jansky, who is a Christian singer and song writer, perform. Crestview was making waves in Georgetown
Crestview tried to find a historian several years ago and after an attempt or two decided not to fill the post. I hope in a set of blogs to provide some history from my perspective that might be useful to those wanting some kind of a written record of some two and one half decades.
In 1995 Don Cramer led a pastor search team made up of several members of Crestview to begin talking with me about the possibility of moving from First Baptist Church Kingsville to Crestview Baptist in Georgetown. Ken Exum was also on that team. I mention them since they are still living and active in the ministry here today. First Baptist Kingsville was a dynamic church that had grown to be the leading church in the Coastal Bend of Texas. I had no particular reason to want to leave. However, my wife, Shannon, had been bringing me to Georgetown for years to a family reunion held in San Gabriel Park. Her mother was born in Georgetown. On one of those trips I had actually driven on to the lot at Crestview and sensed it was no accident that I was seeing this church and its location. It was a Saturday. I did not even know it was a church at first, and then did not know it was Baptist until I finally saw a sign on Williams Drive. Had I not had that experience, I do not think I would have been inclined to engage with the Search Team.
Crestview was a fairly strong church running a little over two hundred people on a good Sunday in those days. It was not nearly as strong as First Baptist Kingsville, but I knew there would be a great opportunity for growth. Sun City did not have even one house completed. Georgetown was headed for change and growth, and I decided to take the risk of leading Crestview to respond to the growth that was coming.
The day we spoke at Crestview they voted unanimously to invite us to come. I had not told anyone that I was asking for a unanimous vote in my prayers as a sign of God’s will. There had been some conflict in the church, and I needed a sign that we could find unity. Unity is always essential to a healthy church.
This summer has already proven to be a summer to remember. We just finished the biggest Camp Crestview ever. We saw over 200 professions of faith during camp. We are continuing to be on mission around the world in India, Houston, Moldova, England, the Pacific Northwest, Myanmar and right here in Georgetown. We are having many new members come to Join us. We have just completed our second highest quarter in giving to our budget in April, May, and June, and that was during the struggle to get back into our building. We had a record summer attendance on the first Sunday in July., and are on pace to have the highest summer attendance ever. Need I say more. We are a blessed people!
We will decide in a few days about expanding our parking by eighty or more spaces which will help us prepare for attendance in the fall. With the growth of Georgetown and the blessing of God, we anticipate great things in the coming months.
I feel the need to put in written form that a new day has dawned at Crestview Baptist Church in Georgetown. We have suddenly taken a leap forward in our attendance. We have just finished the greatest summer of attendance ever and have set records at the end of August. We even set a Labor Day weekend record that would rival our highest attendance all last year. We are working to adjust to new realities by creative use of space. The need for a new worship center is becoming more and more apparent, but in the meantime we have the technology to expand without building a new building by live feeds into other spaces in the building. We are blessed. My prayer every day is that we can be good stewards of these blessings.
I may need to go back to blogging to provide other avenues of speaking into the lives of the growing number of people who are coming to Georgetown.
Until then . . .
In a conversation with a couple who are new members with us, I was asked if I ever recommend books. Of course, I do so in sermons, but I have also used this blog from time to time. Here are some older books just in case you still have not read them. Some are in the Crestview library.
ETERNITY IN THEIR HEARTS by Don Richardson
LORDS OF THE EARTH by Don Richardson
THE PEACE CHILD by Don Richardson
Don is one of the most engaging missions writers ever. His books are hard for me to put down.
BILL WALLACE OF CHINA by Jess Flethcer
I know Jess Fletcher personally and studied under him at Logsdon in Abilene. I wept when I had finished this book. I was deeply moved.
FINDING GOD IN UNEXPECTED PLACES by Philip Yancey
WHAT’S SO AMAZING ABOUT GRACE by Philip Yancey
COME BEFORE WINTER by Chuck Swindoll
Any book you can find by J. Sidlow Baxter. I sat under his preaching for a week on one occasion and have never forgotten how profound the experience was for me.
MORE TO COME . . .