HARRISBURG (BRN) – For more than 50 years, the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania and South Jersey (BRN) has served as a resourcing hub for Baptist churches across the two states.
Years of divine guidance and devoted leadership have contributed to the BRN being able to come alongside hundreds of churches and missionaries, while also sustaining a gospel-driven mission of accelerating Kingdom movement.
Some of these leaders include: Rev. Joseph Waltz, who served as the first Executive Director for the, then, Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey (1970-1971); Rev. G.W. Bullard (1972-1978); Pastor Ellis Bush (1978-1986); Rev. J.N. Evans, who served as interim executive director for a year (1986-1987); Pastor Wallace Williams (1987-1992); Rev. David Waltz (1993-2016); and Dr. Stan Smith, who stepped in as interim executive director until 2017.
At that time, Dr. Barry Whitworth, who was serving as the BRN’s multiplying churches team leader, was approached by the BRN’s executive committee and asked to take over the executive director position.
“My first response to being asked was, ‘Are you sure?’”
Whitworth continued, “So, it was overwhelming [and] I wasn’t sure that I was really the guy for it. But others around me felt like it was time…so I think it was just part of the journey that God started out in 2004 and when 2017 came around it was my time for me to follow the call.”
Prior to his time as executive director, Whitworth served as a mission pastor, associate pastor, church planter, pastor, lead church planting catalyst, church planting director and multiplying churches team leader.
“What I’ve done over the years, whatever the Lord has asked me to do, I’ve stepped forward to do it,” said Whitworth.
“I’ve been so blessed that the Lord has chosen to use me from time to time to serve Him in so many different capacities. Now, don’t get me wrong I love to preach…but when I say Jesus called me, he called me to serve him.”
Over the course of more than 30 years, Whitworth has witnessed God use ministry to change and transform his heart.
“I think he’s really worked in my life to show me that, you know, God has a place for everybody. Now when I look at people, I look at them and wonder what’s their place? Because God is on the move and God creates everything for His purpose and for His glory.”
Whitworth continued: “Now, as a leader within an organization, I want to do everything I can to make that happen…if I can be that instrument, then God can use me to help others to become everything that he wants them to be. That’s what I want for everybody – seek first the Kingdom; seek what Jesus wants for you.”
For the past five years, Dr. Whitworth has led the BRN with this passion for seeing others accelerate Kingdom movement through their God-given talents. This including the BRN team that operates under Whitworth’s direction.
“I think our team in the past, and not of any fault of anyone in the past, but just because of the way we were kind of wired and set up we would operate more in silos.
Well, we’ve worked really hard to become one team. We’ve got one mission and that’s to help our churches accelerate Kingdom movement. We have one vision to see every church become a healthy, multiplying church,” said Whitworth.
He continued: “We want to so do that around a strategy that every person that’s a part of our team is a part of working the strategy together to help our churches to really accelerate forward to what Jesus wants them to do.”
To bring this vision to fruition, Whitworth is calling on churches and missionaries to go to the One who’s plans always prevail and ask “for whatever he’s wanting to do next.”
“It all comes down to this, we need a prayer movement that will create a Kingdom movement. God’s people need to be begging God for God to show up in his way at his time, for whatever he’s wanting to do next through us,” said Whitworth.
“The greatest need we have, the greatest thing I would love to see, is throughout the BRN that we are a people committed to prayer, [because] when we’re in a position to listen and respond, then he as the King will do whatever he needs to do to advance his Kingdom through his people and through the churches across the BRN.”
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The “50 Stories of Transformation” series, told in honor of the Baptist Resource Network’s 50th anniversary, highlights the many ways God has moved throughout Pennsylvania, South Jersey and beyond. Your generous support of the Cooperative Program makes this ministry possible and fuels evangelism and outreach in our local churches and all over the world! Thank you!