Family Worship

Michael WilburnChurch Blog

Starting on Wednesday, June 5th, the 3rd summer of Family Worship begins. Family Worship is a weekly gathering dedicated to inter-generational worship and community missions. We are serious about spending our lives around God’s Word and prayer, and sharing the Gospel with neighbors and friends. Every Wednesday, June through August, Family Worship will gather in the Fellowship Hall at 6:30 pm. All people are welcome. All ages are included. All guests are invited.

At Family Worship, we sing, pray, and fellowship. Songs are printed in a booklet for you to sing at home what we sing together. This year, prayer will focus on three monthly themes: prayer for the family in June, prayer for the church in July, and prayer for the nations in August. Fellowship will include introductions and testimonies in the meeting, then staying around for members, parents, students, and children to talk and play together. In addition, you will hear about a summer book club and community projects.

Family Worship ties the home and church together under the authority and unity of Jesus Christ. I love Don Whitney’s motivating words about it. “Having your family in a Christ-exalting, gospel-centered, Bible-teaching local church is crucial to Christian parenting. But it is not enough for conveying to your family all you want to teach them about God and your beliefs. Moreover, it is unlikely that exposure to the church once or twice a week will impress your children enough with the greatness and glory of God that they will want to pursue him once they leave your home.” (Family Worship, p. 14)

I hope you will join us.


Pastor Michael Wilburn

New Leadership in Music

Michael WilburnAnnouncement

Dear Immanuel Family,

Liz Dillon

Liz Dillon has agreed to serve as Immanuel’s Music Director on an interim basis through the summer. Liz is the wife of Pastor Jon Dillion. She will work with Brian Evans through the summer as a transition period until Brian leaves to support a church plant in the Church Hill neighborhood. We anticipate Liz will take the full music ministry responsibilities this Fall. As with all church officer positions, the Music Director is a congregationly-approved position.

Who is Liz Dillon?

Liz started as a junior church pianist at 12 years old. By 15, she was regularly playing for worship services. All of her early music teachers were church musicians, which she considers a great blessing. Along the way, Liz learned to play woodwind instruments, percussion, and organ. She is a 1991 graduate of Bob Jones University in piano pedagogy. She learned choir leadership under the direction of Dr. Fred Coleman at BJU and Mr. Larry Carrier at Morningside Baptist Church.

Liz’s music ministry experience includes teaching music to students of all ages in studio, classroom, and choir settings, serving as church pianist at Community Baptist Church in Bradenton, Florida, and leading as Music Director at Evangel Baptist Church in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Liz also organized the church music as she and Jon planted LifeSpring Baptist Church in Arkansas.

All of her training and experience prepared Liz Dillon for a role as Immanuel’s Music Director working with the pastoral staff to coordinate worship gatherings, overseeing the worship leadership calendar, directing the adult choir seasons, leading the Easter Good Friday service and the Christmas Eve Candlelight service, and mentoring music department leaders and volunteers.

What is Ahead for Immanuel’s Music Ministry?

Liz Dillon will join weekly staff meetings to coordinate congregational music for services. Beginning this fall, Sunday night choir rehearsals will begin involving the choir in Sunday services and practicing for the Christmas Eve Candlelight service. Liz’s input will help the Vision Committee this year to develop a church-wide music philosophy statement.

Baby Dedications

Michael WilburnChurch Blog

Do you remember show and tell in elementary school? On Friday afternoons each student held up a prized possession from home, told what it was and how they got it, then passed it around the class for closer inspection. Some may think that baby dedications are a church-styled show and tell, but that is far from the point.

What is a baby dedication? Well, it is not presented in the Bible as a church ordinance. A baby dedication expresses a parent’s desire to shepherd his child’s heart to know and obey the Lord Jesus Christ. It expresses a church’s generational desire to see the faith carry on to the next generation. It is a pledge of Gospel hope, a promise by the parents, and a partnership with the Body of Christ.

The goal is to raise children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Every child with parents willing to make such a public promise to the Lord and partnership with the church is blessed by God, even before they know it, as Timothy was blessed by his mother and grandmother. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (2  Timothy 1:5).

On Mother’s Day, May 12th, these families will dedicate their children to the Lord. As a church family, we commit with them to pray, encourage, and help along the way.

Puritan Thomas Brooks on Christian Humility

Michael WilburnChurch Blog

Satan’s Device:
“Satan hath his devices to destroy the saints; and one great device that he hath to destroy the saints is, by working them first to be strange, and then to divide, and then to be bitter and jealous, and then ‘to bite and devour one another’ (Gal. 5:15). Our own woeful experience is too great a proof of this.”

The Christian’s Remedy:
Labour to be clothed with humility:

    • Humility makes a man peaceable among brethren fruitful in well-doing, cheerful in suffering, and constant in holy walking.
    • Humility fits for the highest service we owe to Christ, and yet will not neglect the lowest service to the meanest servant.
    • Humility will make a man bless him that curses him, and pray for those that persecute him.
    • Humility is the nurse of our graces, the preserver of our mercies, and the great promoter of holy duties.
    • Humility can sweep over other men’s weaknesses, and joy and rejoice over their graces.
    • Humility will make a man quiet and contented in the meanest condition, and it will preserve a man from ever envying other men’s prosperous condition.
    • Humility honors those that are strong in grace, and puts two hands under those that are weak in grace.
    • Humility makes a man richer than other men, and it makes a man judge himself the poorest among men.
    • Humility will see much good abroad, when it can see but little at home.
    • Humility will make a man have high thoughts of others and low thoughts of a man’s self.
    • Humility will make a man excellent at covering others’ infirmities, and at recording their gracious services, and at delighting in their graces.
    • Humility makes a man joy in every light that outshines his own, and every wind that blows others good.
    • Humility is better at believing than it is at questioning other men’s happiness.
    • “Ah, were Christians more humble, there would be less fire and more love among them than now is.”

Excerpt taken from Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices (1652)

Proverbs 22:4
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
is riches and honor and life.

Foundations: Bible Truths for Christian Growth

Jonathan WhiteChurch Blog

Beginning May 5th, Immanuel Baptist Church will offer a Sunday morning class for individuals who are new to the church and young in their faith. The Foundations class is a great place to begin learning about the Christian faith and exploring what the Bible has to say about your relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Our intentions are to walk alongside one another through this study, sharing the lessons we’ve learned and growing mature believers in Christ. Our hope is that we strengthen the biblical literacy of others, equipping and encouraging them to take what they have learned and pass it along to others.

A few of the topics and questions that will be covered:

  • Salvation – Recognizing who Jesus is and who we are in Him. So, what is the good news, bad news, and great news!
  • Eternal Security – Once a Christian, you are eternally secure in your salvation. But what if you commit a sin, are you still saved?
  • Baptism & Communion – The two ordinances of the church, as ordained by Christ as a memorial to His life and sacrifice. Why are these important to the Christian faith?
  • The Word of God – The Bible is the inerrant word of God. Why is that important? Why is it called the Word of God?
  • Evangelism – In Matthew 28, Jesus commands us to make disciples. What does it mean to evangelize in the Christian faith?

We look forward to providing this engaging class to cover these deep, important questions and more! Cost: $10 for the book, Foundations: Bible Truths for Christian Growth

Jon Dillon

Discipleship Pastor

Jonathan White

Jonathan White

Pastoral Intern

Mission RVA: That We May Serve

Paul DreillingChurch Blog, Events

Mission RVA 2019
Next weekend, Immanuel’s Spring Missions Conference will focus on local ministries and outreach. How fitting that we can set aside the weekend following the celebration of how Christ gave up his life for us, to encourage each other to give ourselves in service to others.  We have picked for our theme, “That We May Serve.” As Jesus said, “The greatest among you shall be your servant (Mt. 23:11).” Dr. David Apple from Philadelphia will be our keynote speaker. We will also hear from a number of our missionaries serving in RVA and throughout the US.  Hope you can join us.


Saturday, April 27th
6:00 PM | Room 107
“It’s Not About Me”

Sunday, April 28th
9:30 AM | Sanctuary
“Mercy is for Everyone”

10:45 AM | Sanctuary
“More Than Tea and Cookies”

Missions Luncheon: REGISTER ONLINE
1:30 PM | Fellowship Hall
Q&A – Wrap Up

David AppleDr. David S. Apple has directed the Mercy Ministry of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, since 1988. He presently oversees over 200 volunteer staff in outreach, evangelism and hospitality to homeless and addicted persons, nursing home residents, incarcerated men and women, people living on the fringe, and others. His ministry includes deacon training and equipping churches across the United States for ministry in their communities. He is the author of Not Just a Soup Kitchen: How Mercy Ministry in the Local Church Transforms Us All and Neighborology: Practicing Compassion as a Way of Life.

In his many years of experience, David has had two philosophies of ministry: 1) There is no mercy without the gospel–we must provide an alternative to what the world offers; and 2) Don’t work harder than the people coming for help–encourage independence, not dependence. These philosophies are seen plainly in his work.

David grew up in Paterson, New Jersey in a non-religious Jewish home and attended Eastside High, the school made famous in the film, Lean on Me. From an early age he was taught the principles of justice and reconciliation. In 1963 and 1964, he participated in civil rights marches and spoke at youth rallies in support of his rabbi and other “Freedom Riders.” As a college freshman, he came to salvation in Christ through the ministry of an urban church plant in the Northside of Paterson. David worked in crisis intervention and public advocacy for many years, and then managed a printing business before injuries from an auto accident put him on disability.

David earned a B.A. from Calvin College, a Pastoral Counseling Certificate from Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation, and a MATS and D.Min. from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to these earned degrees, he has learned much in “Jesus’s School of Life”: From paralysis and loss of an eye from a skull fracture, childhood sexual abuse, single parenthood, and loss of job-income-health after being hit by a drunk driver. All of this to show that “His power is made known in my weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

David has served in diaconal and mercy ministry for over forty years. Building on both success and failure, he loves training deacons and equipping churches for ministry. He enjoys Sunday crossword puzzles and baseball. He is a lifetime Brooklyn Dodgers fan.

2019 Shepherds’ Conference Highlights

Mike Srisam-angChurch Blog

“The mission of the Shepherds’ Conference is to provide the opportunity for men in church leadership to be challenged in their commitment to biblical ministry and to find encouragement together as servants of the chief Shepherd.”

This year I had the privilege of attending my fourth Shepherds’ Conference. It was from March 5-8that Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. This conference attracted 4,500 men from 67 different countries and men from all 50 of the United States were represented. This year was especially unique because it is also the commemoration of 50 years of God’s faithfulness in the life and ministry of John MacArthur as pastor of Grace Community Church.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Faithful.” All the sermons and breakout sessions were geared towards being faithful as a Christian, and in particular, being faithful in pastoral ministry. The topics covered included being faithful in humility, faithful in personal holiness, faithful to love, faithful to disciple, faithful in the midst of persecution, faithful in the home, faithful to worship, faithful in response to criticism, faithful to guard the truth, faithful to pray, faithful in the culture, faithful to evangelize, faithful in the pulpit, and being faithful to the end because God is faithful.

This conference has been, and continues to be, a huge blessing and an encouragement to me. I would like to share with you just three highlights of my time there:

First, the gathering of the saints (pastors, shepherds, preachers) from all over the world giving glory to God.

It was an absolute joy and a beautiful picture to see God’s amazing grace and mercy in calling people from all over the world to salvation in Christ, to be used by him to shepherd his church. This reminded me that God is so much bigger than I often give him praise for. God is working all over the world all the time and it is humbling to know that God is using me to proclaim his word and to make his name known where he has placed me.

Another incredible experience is hearing 4,500+ men singing and praising the one true living God for what he has done and for his faithfulness in their lives. The sound of all the voices coming together and singing biblical truth was emotionally powerful and filled my heart with thanksgiving.

 – Secondly, the fellowship of the saints (former classmates, pastor friends, ministry co-laborers).

One of the things that I always look forward to when attending this conference is reconnecting with friends and getting to know new friends. One of the blessings was getting to enjoy this conference with my twin brother Rob, who is currently getting his Mdiv at The Master’s Seminary. I was able to see our beloved brother David Andersen as well. I was even able to meet and talk to a former Immanuel youth pastor, Jim Newcomer. The Lord’s work is never accomplished alone and this was a good reminder that I am but one member of a larger body in God’s family.

 – Thirdly, the preaching ministry of the saints.

This conference is committed to challenging and encouraging church leaders through the preaching of God’s word. I not only love to preach God’s word, but I delight in hearing God’s word preached. Throughout the span of four days, I was able to listen to 13 sermons, two q&a sessions, and attend two breakout seminars. It was a highlight for me to sit under faithful men who exposit the word and have a high view of scripture.

I want to thank our Immanuel church family for allowing me to attend this conference, and Hannah, Charlotte, Lucy, and I to enjoy some time with our family and friends in California. All the prayers and support were greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Mike Srisam-ang
Student Ministries Pastor
IBC Richmond

What is a disciple-making church?

Jon DillonChurch Blog

disciple-making church

What is a disciple-making church?

Towards the end of February, I attended a seminar held at Grace Church of Mentor, in Mentor, Ohio, and it was called “Sustaining a Disciple-Making Culture in Your Church.” The pastor, Tim Potter, led the seminar, and his approach was not to give a lecture on discipleship but to testify of what God had done in their church since they became intentional about making disciples as Jesus commands in Matthew 28. According to this passage, making disciples involves evangelizing the lost by preaching the gospel and baptizing those who respond in faith, and then instructing them from God’s Word about doctrine and practice.

Traditionally, many churches have faithfully preached the gospel and baptized those who responded in faith, but for the majority, discipleship has only been facilitated through regular church attendance and participating in small group Bible study. While these are needed and helpful toward spiritual development, often they aren’t enough for most people to realize real, spiritual growth and be motivated to reach others with the truth of God’s grace.

Biblical discipleship is much more personal and requires a relationship commitment between a mentor and a disciple.  We see this intimacy in the life of the Lord Jesus and the Apostles as they taught their disciples.  Jesus’ command in Matthew 28 wasn’t a mandate for an organization but for individuals.

Allow me to share a few of the disciple-making principles I learned at the seminar.  Disciple-making is:

  • A normative, local church, individual responsibility that God the Spirit empowers as Christ builds His church.
  • Each saint shouldering the responsibility to spiritually reproduce
  • The commitment of a life to another life for life.
  • A relationship in process, not a program.

The idea is that every member in a local church body should be actively pursuing redemptive relationships with unbelievers with whom they come in contact in his/her everyday life. In the course of the relationship, he/she would look for opportunities to invite that person to consider who Jesus is and what he has done for them in hopes of a faith response unto salvation. If the unbeliever accepts Christ, then the one who led them would assume the personal responsibility to disciple the new believer for life or as long as possible.

Now disciple-making in the church is not limited to this particular situation.  As new people come into the church, saved or unsaved, there needs to be a continual awareness among the members to form disciple-making relationships.  Even among believers who have been saved for some time, there is a need for one-on-one discipleship.  In fact, at Grace Church of Mentor, every member is encouraged to win one—pray to see a friend to come to Christ; lead one—disciple another believer; follow one—be a follower of a spiritually mature believer; and take one—grow in knowledge by taking one Bible class a year.  The result is a body of believers who are faithfully fulfilling the Great Commission, growing together in their faith, and building a bond of unity in purpose and love.  In the 15 years that they have been cultivating this disciple-making approach, they have seen many God-intended, unexpected blessings in the form of salvation decisions, body cohesiveness, and church-planting, just to name a few.

As the Pastor of Discipleship here at IBC, my hope is that making disciples in our community would be a ministry priority of every member and that it would become our identity as a church for the glory of God. If you have any questions about how you might play a part in developing a disciple-making culture in the church, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Jon Dillon
Discipleship Pastor

New Faces in the Office

Michael WilburnChurch Blog

Creative Director 

Sara Bunn will join Immanuel’s staff on Monday, April 1st, as Creative Director. For the past four years, Sara has managed the church social media pages. In addition to these, Sara will oversee Immanuel’s website, mobile app, church-wide email, and printed publications. We are blessed and thankful for Sara’s talent on our staff. 

Sara enjoys serving the church in this way, along with her communications work with Capitol Ministries. She grew up as an Army Brat in Germany where she came to know the Lord as a teenager and developed a heart for serving in any way God guides, especially in the little, unseen ways, “until the whole world hears” (Matthew 24:14). She met Peter here at IBC and they have an 11-year old son, Jesse. Some random things they enjoy: homeschooling, geocaching, disc golf, traveling, playing games with friends and family. Education: B.S. in Bible and Education, Clarks Summit University

Administrative Assistant—Receptionist

Mary Davis and Christina Kinder will fill in for the next few months as Administrative Assistants working alongside Brenda Bowles. Mary Davis has attended Immanuel for a couple of years after moving from Roanoke, Virginia to live closer to family. Mary joined in February and actively participates in Bible Study Fellowship’s leadership on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Christina Kinder and her husband John have been members of Immanuel for over five years. She regularly supports and serves in the Mothers Uplifting Mothers (MUMS) ministry.

Immanuel is seeking a permanent Administrative Assistant—Receptionist on staff. It is a support staff position responsible for helping pastors and ministry leaders accomplish their responsibility to lead and serve Immanuel Baptist Church. It generally requires 20 hours of work on three days a week. If you are interested in the position, please contact our church administrator, Paul Dreiling, at


“Life in Community” Review by Pastor Jon Dillon

Jon DillonChurch Blog

Simply defined, a community is a group of people with common interests who live in a specific location.  You could then say that a church community is a group of people with a common faith in Christ who meet in a specific location.  But is this definition an adequate description of what God intended the church to be?  Dustin Willis, the author of “Life in Community,” doesn’t think so.  He proposes that community life in the church is people who have experienced the mercy and grace of God coming together to love and help one another for the sake of their spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being.  He likens the church community to a table where a family gathers to enjoy one another and to share their lives.  And that table, which belongs to God, has room for anyone who wants a seat at it.

He begins by describing the importance of being a community and how it is formed in the church.  He points out our innate desire to belong or be a part of a community as God designed us so.  Due to our culture’s push for individualism and the convenience of social media, many people around us have isolated themselves from a physical or emotional connection with other people and are experiencing great loneliness.  They long for meaningful relationships in “a community that discovers and clings to identity, worth, and value.”  God created the Church to be a “community with a deeper foundation and a brighter future than anything the world has to offer.”  The local church should function as a Gospel community reaching the “hurting, the lonely, the has-beens, the have-nots, the accomplished, the rebellious, and the self-righteous” to bring them into a relationship with Jesus Christ and others who believe in Him which would effectively eradicate their spiritual loneliness and despair.

A community is then formed in the church through the discovery of the common ground found in our need for a Savior and the mercy of God because of our sin nature.   Dustin says, “you can’t have a community without common ground, and through the gospel, we have the deepest commonality that exists:  the blood of Christ that unites us as family.”  This gospel community is perpetuated through the continual transformation of each member into the image of Christ as Dustin says, “living out our faith was never intended to be done in isolation but within a community.  The gospel is the driving force to our transformation, and community is the context where the greatest growth and revolution takes place.”

In the next section of his book, Dustin describes the values for living in community as given to us from the Scripture.  The foundation of these values is based on the truth that we are members of the Body of Christ and each of us is especially gifted by the Holy Spirit to individually minister for the good of the whole body, not just on Sunday when we gather together, but every day.  In order to foster a genuine biblical community, we must be transparent and sincere.  We cannot function as a community without truth and honesty.  Dustin goes on then to point out the importance of believers in a gospel community to develop a hatred for sin and love or pursuit of righteousness.  In this kind of community, people care enough about each other to say something when a person is in sin and offer help to that person for the sake of his/her soul and the community at large.  People in a gospel community choose and practice love to one another; they come alongside those who are struggling or hurting to help them persevere; they meet the needs of those who are lacking; they pursue Biblical hospitality as a way of welcoming people into a community.

“Life in Community” is an easy book to read, but its message is not so easy to receive as the author continually challenges his readers to evaluate their perspective and approach to church in relation to God’s intention for the church, as given in Scripture, to be a gospel community which ministers God’s grace to the members for their spiritual growth and reaches the world for Him.  As a way to encourage you to read this book, I will be giving away 3 copies in the upcoming evening gathering.

Jon Dillon
Discipleship Pastor