Three Questions is a semi-regular series introducing individuals across the NAB by asking them about their story, their ministry, and what they are learning. This week, we hear from Rev. Joseph Thomas, the pastor of Neshaminy Valley Baptist Church in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. He will also be speaking at the 2024 Triennial during the Friday night General Session.
What’s your story?
I grew up in India in a Christian family and migrated to America in 1988. Having now spent more of my life in America than India, I have the benefit of two different cultures, values, and predominant religious backgrounds, with their many blessings and challenges. In my mid-20s, I did a risky and counter-cultural thing by falling in love and marrying Elizabeth of my own choice – she is Sri Lankan and grew up in America. Ours was not an arranged marriage, as is more typical for someone from India or Sri Lanka, and we are from two different countries, which means different languages, cultures, and so forth. Elizabeth and I have three adult children, and we have no dogs or cats, but we do have a koi fishpond.
What’s ministry like for you?
Prior to entering the ministry full time, I went to school and worked in the financial industry. Though my calling brought me to pastoral ministry, I have been able to broaden my “ministry” outside the “church” through entrepreneurial involvement. I’m in my 26th year of pastoring Neshaminy Valley Baptist Church in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. . . .
November 1, 2023.
Mark it on your calendar. Set a reminder on your phone. Create a colorful construction paper chain to help count down the days.
Do whatever you need to, but don’t forget that date, because that’s the day Triennial registration opens.
That’s right! Beginning November 1, you can register for the 2024 Triennial in St. Paul, Minnesota. The cost to register is $420 USD, but everyone who registers by January 31, 2024 will save $75! Not only that, but the first 50 to register will get a special gift as a thank you for registering early.
For this year’s Fall Offering, we are sharing a story of Christlike community found at one of our newest NAB churches. After River City Church in Vancouver, Washington, was brutally vandalized, Pastor Ryan Sidhom made an unusual request of the court: he asked that the church be one of the avenues through which the young vandal would fulfill his inevitable community service hours.
Ryan recognized that this young man was in need of a community that could circle around him and lovingly support him. River City was willing to be that community, but only because they were part of the larger NAB community that cared for and supported them.
One of the ways we strive to make the NAB different from the prevailing culture we find ourselves in is through fostering a sense of community among our churches and missionaries. But not just any community; we want to be a Christian community formed by God as his loving alternative to the ways of the world. When you give to the NAB’s Ministry Resource Fund, you are helping support ongoing efforts to foster, encourage, and grow this community across North America and around the world. Ultimately, your generosity gives hope to leaders like Pastor Ryan and others who are seeking to be focal points of grace and compassion in their communities.
There is a lot of great stuff on the horizon! In addition to Blue Ocean kicking off in a few weeks, there are a number of webinars and online workshops over the next month or so that we invite to take part in.
- Understanding Indigenous People Workshops – October 10 & 24 | The first two out of four workshops that will be a safe place to discuss the issues tied to understanding Indigenous peoples more.
- The Landing Fall Open House – October 12 | A chance for youth workers to connect with each other from across the NAB.
- When Church Stops Working – October 26 | A chance to hear from Andrew Root, author of When Church Stops Working, as he speaks with us around how we may have leaned our ladder against the wrong wall.
- Neighbourhood Life Workshop – November 2 | Come and see for yourself what missional initiatives is all about.
Whether you choose to take part in one or all of these events, we trust they will encourage you, challenge you, and help you connect more fully with other churches and leaders from across the NAB.