The Heart of the Pastor drives Faith Baptist Church

The Heart of the Pastor drives Faith Baptist Church

Sonya Newman

The Ashland Beacon


     With October comes the chill in the air, the leaves changing from green to vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges, and the honoring of pastors everywhere during Pastor Appreciation Month. Churches big and small are celebrating their pastors in all sorts of ways. They’re showing them how much their hard work, dedication, and commitment to their calling are appreciated by their congregation. Faith Baptist Church of Westwood is no exception, as they pour their appreciation on Gary Newman, who has been the Pastor of Faith since October 2018.  Since accepting the call to pastor and lead a congregation, Gary has poured his heart and soul into encouraging the members of Faith and growing ministries old and new. 

“Two years ago, I challenged the congregation right smack dab in the middle of Covid that everyone in the church should have a ministry that was purposed to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus and would serve the Westwood Community,” Newman shared, “I see these as the vital elements of a small congregation that overachieves. That’s what my vision for Faith is: a small church that does gigantic things.”

     Newman led by example, as he established a new ministry of worship called the  ReFuel Worship Project. Since January 2019, the first Saturday of each month is designated for ReFuel, which is a reflection of Newman’s heart.  “When I first arrived at Faith, I wanted to be fed and I wanted to have a service that was centered around worship,” he explained, “so we try to bring in guest preachers, and sometimes singers, and everything we do in this service is centered in worship. We testify to worship, we pray to worship, and  we hear the preached Word in worship”  It’s my favorite time of the month!”

     First Baptist Church of Grayson Pastor, Josh Schmidt agrees. “Being a part of ReFuel has been some of my favorite moments in ministry.  No stress, no pressure, no reason to perform for anyone else than Lord Jesus,” Schmidt explained, “Pastor Gary has been such a blessing to me.  I look forward to preaching at Faith again!”

     In addition, to ReFuel, Faith has added a production ministry as the result of the heartfelt calling of one of the congregation members, Tracey Rowsey said he’d always wanted to do a podcast. What started as a small podcast evolved to be a huge outreach, that produces weekly programming that is community involved and gives gospel opportunities. Rowsey and Newman partnered to create shows for the Fairview coaches to talk about their programs and continue being involved in the community. They did the Daniel Armstrong Show, the Mo Mullins Show, and the Roger Newton show.  “Pastor Gary gives unconditionally to his church family and the community of Westwood.  He spends many hours helping the school athletics program with Public Address announcing, hosting Fairview coaches shows, just encouraging participants,” Roger Newton explained, “He exhibits love and care for the school and Westwood! I was blessed to have him host my coaches show and get to know him deeper and see his heart for meeting the needs of others.”

     One of the benefits of a small church with a small congregation, is you get to know and love each member as a family. Gary’s not only invested in a callin but his heart is invested in this congregation. “A few years ago we had been searching for a church. Over the years we visited many. We were invited to visit Faith Baptist Church. We fell in love with the little church in Westwood especially the pastor, Gary Newman,” Church member Tammy Rowsey conveyed, “Is he different from other preachers? Oh yes!! He loves unconditionally, he sees good in everyone, and his heart and smile show the love of Jesus like no other. His sense of humor is over the top. If he doesn't make you laugh something is wrong. He shares the word of God with everyone. I call him, Preacher Man, and this month I cannot express how much our family appreciates him as a Pastor, Preacher, and Friend.” She continued, “As he says, ‘Raise a Prayer, Raise a Praise’ and for the Lord leading us to the little church in Westwood I say Raise a Hallelujah!”

     Ministries are growing, people are learning, the community is being reached, and the church is led by a man with a heart for the Lord, the congregation, and the community. Gary’s vision is for what God can do with a small church in a small community. If Faith Baptist is one of the hidden gems of Westwood, Gary Newman will surely be the one polishing it and preparing it for what’s next. 

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