Introductions, Commissioning & Prayer

Let’s get to know the members of our Pastoral Selection Committee!

These are the men and women elected by our congregation to lead us in discerning who God is calling to be our next Senior Pastor. You probably already know many of them as they have been highly engaged and involved in the mission and ministries of our church. They represent a cross-section of who we are – across worship services, ministry areas, longevity of membership, age groups – and are united by a deep love for Christ and for First Baptist Church.

Take a look at the video below and get to know each one personally. Hear their excitement and hope for the future of First Baptist Church.



Update May 2021

FBC Wilmington’s Pastor Search Committee has an update they would like to share with the church. Join us in praying for them, and the work they are doing to help discern who God has called to be our next senior pastor.

Update December 2020

Transition Update from the Leadership Council

Times of transition can be unsettling with many questions still to be answered.  But they can also be rich times of trusting in God and watching his plans and provision unfold.  Let us look to the future together with hope and confidence that God has great things in store for First Baptist Church. 2020 Leadership Council

View the Christmas message and Pastor search update from Dr. Randy Ashcraft, our Transition Facilitator.

Update May 4, 2020

A Letter to the Congregation:

Hello First Baptist friends!

This is the first letter you have received from the church office in several weeks but we can assure you that the ministerial staff and support team has continued functioning at full capacity though the church office has been temporarily closed to visitors since late March.

Our church has found creative ways to continue connecting with each other and providing the best ministry possible in times of crisis. The Leadership Council/Transition Team has remained vigilant in guiding the church through this maze of fluidity as the effects of COVID-19 continue to disrupt the best-made plans that we had for our future.

As of today, our church continues to follow the social distancing and sheltering orders set forth by Governor Cooper. We do not know when we will begin gathering in our facilities to worship, meet as small groups for discipleship and large groups for fellowship, recreation or resume serving our neighbors in need outside of our Tuesday Night Ministry of providing dinner for our hungry neighbors. However, First Baptist Church is alive, well, and providing many vibrant lights of unwavering hope within our congregation and across our region.

We look forward to the days when we can come together as a congregation to share in the corporate joy of being devoted followers of Jesus, but we are going to be prudent and careful to provide the safest environment possible for the entirety of our congregation as we consider when that may be.

Because our church has suspended meeting as a large group since March 8, and had to postpone Congregational Conversations 2 and 3 of forming the Church Profile and Pastor Profile for our Pastoral Search Process, and after consultation with Dr. Randy Ashcraft—our Church Facilitator—the Leadership Council/Transition Team has decided to halt the Pastoral Search Process until the church can resume congregational gatherings. We had a great start to the Search Process, and we have an excellent Pastoral Search Team already in place. However, every member of our congregation should have input for this important process of transitioning to our next Pastor. This cannot be done while we are meeting virtually, and some members do not have access or the capability to take part.

Please continue to pray for our world in the midst of this global pandemic, take part in the virtual worship services offered by our pastoral staff, join a small group ZOOM meeting, remain engaged on our Facebook page, pray using the Pause daily devotionals, and read the expanded weekly E-Connect and monthly Kingdom News email. In addition, please continue providing your financial offerings by giving online at or mailing your checks to the church office at 411 Market Street, 28401.

Your servants,

Mr. Bruce Lennon, Leadership Council/Transition Team Chair
Dr. Janelle Rhyne, Diaconate Chair
Dr. Jim Everette, Interim Chief of Staff

Update April 28, 2020

View a message from Bruce Lennon, Chair of the Leadership Council, concerning our Pastor Transition in light of the circumstances due to Covid-19.

Update March 31, 2020

A letter to FBC from the Leadership Council – Click Here

Our plan at this moment is to have our second conversation on May 17, the date originally scheduled for our third meeting.  So, keep May 17 on your calendar!

The work of the transition continues to move ahead, albeit on a somewhat less certain schedule.  As with everything else going on around us right now, we will stay flexible and creative going forward and will adapt however we need to.

 [READ letter here]

A letter to FBC from Randy Ashcraft – Click Here

When we began this interim process together back in January, no one, and I do mean not one of us, could have imagined we would be in this situation. Church, by definition, necessitates people being together in corporate worship, fellowship, and ministry.  Remember, “Where two or three are gathered in my name there I will be also” (Matthew 18:20). Our togetherness has been altered and certainly the way we “do church” has changed drastically.  I have been impressed and inspired by the way First Baptist Wilmington has been “church” in these trying days. 

[READ letter here]

Update January 30, 2020

Join your church family around tables as we tell stories about First Baptist Church – what we love, what we value and our hopes for the future.  We will laugh a lot, and maybe even cry a little, as we remember, dream and affirm one another as we seek God’s direction for our future.  What we share is important as it will be used to assist our Pastoral Selection Committee. You will be blessed by these Congregational Conversations led by Randy Ashcraft, our Facilitator during this transition to our next pastor.

The first Conversation will be on March 1, from 4:00-5:30 pm at the Activities Center, followed by subsequent gatherings on April 19 & May 17.  All three meetings will cover different topics and will be hosted by members of the Leadership Council.

  • Child care will be provided for all children birth through 5th grade.
  • Our congregation values the input of our young people so anyone 6th grade and above are encouraged to come and be a part of the conversation.

Update January 12, 2020

A letter to FBC from Randy Ashcraft CLICK HERE

Sermon- January 12, 2020| 2020 Vision: Looking Forward Together

“The Most Important Words You Will Ever Hear”- Matthew 3:13-17, Isaiah 42:1-9

All of us long to know we matter; to God and to others. Nothing is more disconcerting than not knowing where we stand in the world. So many voices seek to define us on a daily basis. What if all we need is one voice telling us who we are and whose we are?

Update: December 15, 2019

The Personnel Committee (Christy Aley, Scott Burrell, Meredith Everhart, Alan Hunt, Tony Lopatka (C), Ann Millard, Dennis Pittman, Brooke Sumner & Phillip Sutton) are pleased to announce that they have hired Randy Ashcraft as our church facilitator. Randy will join us on Sunday, January 12, 2020. Please make plans now to be present.

Randy Ashcraft has served as a Senior Minister in congregations across the United States for over 30 years. He currently serves as Pastor in Residence at the Virginia Baptist Mission Board specializing in Ministerial Health and Wellness, and Contemplative Spirituality. He is a certified Thomas Concept instructor and received his training in coaching through the Center for Congregational Health in Winston-Salem, N.C. He is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Texas Christian University where he received a Doctor of Ministry degree with an emphasis in transitional leadership. Randy is the principal at REDclay Concepts, a leadership and coaching organization focused on strategic planning, non profit board development, and executive coaching. REDclay works primarily in the health care field with clients such as Bon Secours and Inova Health Care System of Northern Virginia. Randy also works as a Congregational Engagement consultant for Bon Secours, Richmond. He currently serves on the Duke Divinity School Baptist House Board and is a member of Metro Ministers, a peer learning community promoting ministerial excellence. Randy resides in Richmond, Va. For enjoyment Randy prefers to be behind the wheel of an old British sports car. Read articles by Randy Ashcraft.

Update December 1, 2019

On Sunday, December 1, 2019, our church gathered in a regular business meeting. Our Pastoral Selection Committee was approved by unanimous consent. The Committee will be receiving training by our Facilitator in early 2020.

Pastoral Selection Committee

Update October 28, 2019

The Diaconate prayerfully recommends these nominees to serve as the Pastoral Selection Committee. These members are involved in the heart of the mission and ministry of our church. They represent a cross-section of worship services, ministry areas, the longevity of membership and age groups within the church.

After careful consideration of more than 681 eligible church members, the Nominating Committee of the Diaconate narrowed the selection to nine Pastoral Selection Committee nominees as designated by the Constitution of our church.

View the Pastoral Selection Committee nominees here.


Update November 6, 2019

The Personnel Committee (Christy Aley, Scott Burrell, Meredith Everhart, Alan Hunt, Tony Lopatka (C), Ann Millard, Dennis Pittman, Brooke Sumner & Phillip Sutton) are hard at work selecting our church facilitator. We have met five times since our church business meeting on October 6th. We have received and reviewed several resumes from interested applicants. As of November 4th, we have conducted video conferences with several candidates and are hoping to be led into a contract agreement soon.  We expect our potential candidate will begin in December or in January (2020).  If you have questions about the process feel free to reach out to one of the committee members.

Update October 6, 2019

The congregation approved the recommendation from the Leadership Council and Deacons to contract with a Facilitator to assist us during this time of transition to our next Pastor. The congregation also unanimously approved the recommendation that Dr. Jim Everette serve as Chief of Staff during our transition. Let us look to the future together with hope and confidence that God has great things in store for First Baptist Church.

Update September 19, 2019

Jesus was up to something good when He established the first Baptist church in Wilmington over 200 years ago. He has empowered it and guided it through great days of celebration and lean times of uncertainty, times when our lights shined bright and when the steeple laid in the street. First Baptist Church has always been the Bride of Christ and always will.
After meetings that involved significant times of consideration, conversation and prayer, the Leadership Council of our current congregation believes Jesus is leading us to hire a Facilitator to help prepare our church for our next Pastor and assist the Pastor Selection Committee, that the church will choose to represent us. That being the case, the Leadership Council has unanimously approved the following recommendation that was approved unanimously by the Deacons. However, it is the congregation that makes the final decision on this recommendation and plan going further.
Therefore, per the by-laws of our church, we will have a Called Business Meeting on Sunday, October 6 at 10:00 am in the Sanctuary for the purpose of formally presenting the following recommendation to be voted on by the church. Members of the Leadership Council will entertain questions and provide clarification as needed and prefer to do so prior to the business meeting.

Update August 13, 2019

Your Leadership Council is hard at work getting ready for our upcoming transition as a congregation when Matt Cook steps down as our Senior Pastor on August 30.

What you can expect over the next several months.

  • SAYING GOODBYE TO THE COOK FAMILY – For the remainder of August, our main focus is on the Cook family, thanking Matt, Allyson, Nathaniel and Caroline for all that they have brought to the life of our congregation and wishing them well in their new calling.  A Drop In Reception for the Cooks will be on August 25 from 4:30-6:30 pm at the Activities Center.
  • SPIRITUAL PREPARATION – 40 Days of Purpose begins on September 8.  This time of spiritual preparation is designed to focus our attention as a congregation on who we are called to be as the church and to listen for how God might be wanting to shape us and the mission for which God has created us.
  • IDENTIFYING TRANSITIONAL LEADERSHIP – During any interim, the daily work of the church continues while, at the same time, we are afforded the opportunity to take a fresh look at who we are as a congregation and where God is leading us into the future that He has created.  The Leadership Council is working on determining what type of transitional leadership will be the most helpful, both for daily operations and continuity in the pulpit, as well as for expertise as we seek clarity in congregational identity  – who we are and what is needed in our next pastor – and guidance in the process of pastor selection.
  • PASTOR SEARCH TEAM – Under our Constitution, the Diaconate is charged with identifying a Pastor Search Team representative of the congregation. The Diaconate will take on that work and will make a recommendation to the congregation when they have finished that process.

Times of transition can be unsettling with many questions still to be answered.  But they can also be rich times of trusting in God and watching his plans and provision unfold.  Let us look to the future together with hope and confidence that God has great things in store for First Baptist Church.

Update July 15, 2019

On Sunday, July 14th, Dr. Matt Cook shared with the congregation that he will be resigning as our Senior Pastor.  His last day will be August 30th.  Matt shared a letter at the conclusion of both services on Sunday, expressing his thoughts about his tenure at FBC and describing the new calling that he and Allyson believe God has placed on their lives.

He has accepted a position as the Assistant Director of the Center for Healthy Churches and will assist churches across the country in defining and clarifying their purpose in response to God’s call.  We encourage all of the congregation to let Matt, Allyson, and their children know how much they have been appreciated in service to our Christian community here at First Baptist Church and to wish them well as they respond to God’s call to a new ministry.

Click HERE to read a copy of the letter

The Leadership Council has begun a discussion on transition planning to include a spiritual preparation time through the study of the 40 Days of Purpose to begin in September, identification and selection of an interim Senior Pastor, and identification and selection of a Senior Pastor Search Committee.  Our discussions and preparations are in the beginning stages and will include a plan to seek congregational input and plans for open communications.  More to come…

Click HERE for 2019 Leadership Council