Tucked away in a small beach community along the Gulf Coast of Florida, is Pastor Paul Warriner of FBC Nokomis. Because of some unfortunate events, Warriner knows first-hand how the Florida Baptist Convention’s mission to come “right beside” churches is not just a catchy phrase, but a promise.
Due to financial trouble and a declining congregation, the Florida Baptist Convention stepped in to provide guidance, resources, and wisdom on how to navigate an increasingly difficult situation. Despite once dwindling down to only a hand few of members, FBC Nokomis is now experiencing revitalization and has been consistently running around 40 people.
Warriner continued to share how thankful he is for the Florida Baptist Convention and the friendship he has formed with his Southwest Regional Catalyst, Wayne Briant. “We have the opportunity to meet weekly. As my Regional Catalyst, Wayne is doing a great job. That fellowship with him has gotten me through some difficult times,” said Warriner.
Despite going through very difficult times, Warriner insists that God has continued to bless the church because of their initial decision to get out of debt and give to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. “We need to trust God, and not money,” said Warriner. “We gave five-thousand dollars even when we had nothing.”
Now being debt-free and growing in attendance, FBC Nokomis is excited to rebuild and move forward. They have opened up their building for the Study Center, which helps students overcome educational challenges. FBC Nokomis has also dedicated a lot of time and energy into door-to-door evangelism and visitation.
“Nokomis is an interesting area, so many people are in need of Jesus. My goal is to get the congregation involved in diligently witnessing and knocking on doors. For us not to just talk about it, but to go out and do it,” said Warriner. “Visitation is so important in connecting people and taking part in that fellowship.”
Though Warriner and FBC Nokomis have walked a tough road, they have not had to go through it alone. “I attempt to provide encouragement and support as the church moves forward,” said Briant. For Warriner, even in the good, bad, and ugly – the FBC has been “right beside” him.