On Mother’s Day in 2019, Bible faculty member Dr. Josh Thompson preached his first message as the official pastor of Fairfield Drive Baptist Church in Pensacola. It was an exciting time for Thompson, who had been preaching occasionally at the church since the previous fall when the church’s pastor of 42 years retired. What had simply begun as an act of service to help the church during a transition time became a full-time passion for Thompson as God began to give him a burden for the people at the church.
“We [Thompson and his wife Holli] patiently prayed about the situation knowing that God would have to work out all of the details,” Thompson said. “Over time, God brought our burden for the church into alignment with the necessary circumstances. The church called us, and we accepted the call. We are thrilled to be part of a fantastic church family.”
From preparing sermons to completing administrative tasks, Thompson now finds himself fulfilling a variety of pastoral responsibilities. “I am also connecting with our people, providing counseling, working on building updates, [and] planning the church calendar.”
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Thompson has been encouraged by the growth he has seen in his church members and their excitement about furthering the gospel. “One way they have grown is in their embrace of change,” explained Thompson. “Many of our members have attended for over 30 years, and every new piece of furniture, every brushstroke of new paint removes or covers a memory. Despite the difficulty of these changes, they have determined to push forward for the sake of the gospel. It is amazing to watch them get excited about what God is doing and about the future we have in serving Him.”
While embracing his role as a pastor, Thompson has also continued teaching Bible classes at PCC; he has found the blend of both to be extremely valuable. “Being a pastor while a member of the Bible faculty gives me the best of both worlds,” Thompson said. “I have the privilege of studying and teaching the timeless facts and truths of the Bible, but I am also constantly reminded that the Bible is not simply about facts, it’s about changed hearts. It’s about real people living to serve God and to glorify Him in every area of life. Whether in the classroom or the church auditorium, I minister to people with that end in mind.”
Thompson added, “The practical experience in my church is tremendously helpful as I invest in those preparing for the ministry. I am able to share my experiences in the classroom, have men from my classes preach in my church, and have interns that serve in our church from PCC and PTS in whom we can invest.”
Thompson is looking forward to many of the upcoming events planned for Fairfield Drive Baptist Church. Some of the events include a baptism service for several young people and an apologetics emphasis month.
“God is doing some wonderful things at our church, and we are excited to see the great things He has for our future!”