This past summer, President Brian Rex Davis and his wife, Sondra, started a journey across the United States visiting with churches and World Bible School volunteers. At the end of July of 2023, WBS marked 50 years of empowering the brotherhood to share Jesus. As we reflect upon how God has used forward-thinking Christians within our past, we are inspired to continue God’s work for the next 50 years and beyond. This is why in 2024, we will be celebrating Fifty Forward!
The journey began with Brian and Sondra at the Portland church of Christ in Tennessee. This is where WBS founder, Jimmie Lovell grew up and was baptized into Christ. They still have the record of his baptism in the church library! WBS owes a great debt of gratitude to this vibrant and faithful congregation as they taught a young man to love Jesus and to love the lost! Through Jimmie’s vision, tens of thousands of Study Helpers have taught millions of Students around the world!
The second stop was the Connect Conference in Nashville, Tennessee in which WBS participated. The entire conference is focused on evangelism. As such, organizers like Phil Sanders of “In Search of the Lord’s Way” television program, value WBS tools and our participation in the conference. There were over 1,200 participants in the Crieve Hall church of Christ auditorium being challenged to share Jesus with our nation and with the world. Several sessions were conducted by WBS as we contributed to this great endeavor of the churches of Christ.
The third stop was with the Central church of Christ in Paducah, Kentucky with Adam Faughn and Noah Davis (Brian & Sondra’s oldest son). This congregation is excited about sharing Jesus! Among their evangelism approaches are WBS tools: Mathetis, postal correspondence with WBS Printed Lesson, the WBS Study Edition Bible, and the new Ocean Bridge correspondence. When good tools are deployed together, a synergy happens that produces fruit for the Kingdom. We are so thankful for the eldership, the ministry team, and the vibrant congregation of the Central church of Christ!
The fifth stop of the trip was to see Keith Rall, a WBS Board member (pictured right), who introduced Brian and Sondra to the WBS team at the Taylor Street church of Christ in Hobbs, New Mexico. Their coordinator (and an elder of the congregation), Bob Hamilton, has been leading WBS evangelism in their congregation for several decades. Bob is pictured next to Brian along with one of the members of their youth group. This WBS team regularly involves their youth in grading WBS lessons. What a wonderful way to pass on the value of evangelism to the
Traveling into the ninth state on this trip (Arizona), Sondra often drives while Brian works remotely from the back seat of their van. Answering e-mails and phone calls, writing lessons, and attending ZOOM meetings all take place while on the road. Don’t worry, Sondra was stopped in road construction traffic when she smiled for this picture.
After starting in Portland, Tennessee where Jimmie Lovell was born and baptized, the Davis’ arrived in southern California where Jimmie lived and published ACTION!. John Reese, WBS President Emeritus, and his wife, Beth, were able to join the Davis’ for a special presentation to Patsie Trowbridge, Jimmie Lovell’s daughter. John presented Patsie with a new WBS story book that we are to print soon. Patsie has been on the Board of Directors of WBS since its beginning, and still is. WBS honored Patsie and her late husband, Doug, with a plaque on the WBS Founder’s Wall
While speaking at the Lincoln & Tunnel church of Christ in Santa Maria, California, the leaders told Brian that Jake Coppinger, WBS’ first full-time Follow-up worker, preached for them. Joel, Jake’s son, and his wife Pat took up the work after Jake was unable to continue. Joel and Pat embody the value of honoring the past 50 years while energetically anticipating what God will do with WBS in the next 50 years.
For the last stop of this trip, Sondra and Brian toured the Roseville church of Christ WBS program. Jim & Virginia McPeak (far left) not only serve with WBS but have served the Lord’s church with a print ministry for many years. Their work has blessed so many countries and ministries! The joy of this team was infectious as they were printing and collating WBS in Swahili and other languages.