Will Continue Working with Fresh Expressions US
Posted: 2/10/16 at 8:15am.
Richmond, Va. – Travis Collins has announced his calling to serve as the 41st pastor of the First Baptist Church of Huntsville, Alabama. Before coming to work as Director of Mission Advancement with Fresh Expressions in 2014, Collins served as senior pastor of Bon Air Baptist Church in Richmond for 12 years.
“Travis is one of those gifted persons that uniquely blends a missional heart with a pastoral call,” said John Upton, Executive Director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV). “His call to the church is cause for great celebration. I’m particularly thrilled that Travis will be able to continue working with Fresh Expressions as it partners with FBC Huntsville. God has given all of us a wonderful blessing!”
Collins served as interim preacher for FBC Huntsville from August 2014 through September 2015, shuttling back and forth between his Virginia home and the 206-year-old church each weekend. Collins and his wife, Keri, visited the church this past weekend in view of a call. Collins preached for both services, after which the congregation took a voice vote.
“Travis Collins is a gifted preacher and visionary leader, a pastor who has a missionary’s passion for those far from God, and a shepherd who loves and cares for the people,” wrote Mike Kirk, Chairman of the Pastor Search Committee, to the congregation. “I am convinced that God directed every step of our journey and led us to His chosen pastor. I agree with the many who told us that Travis and Keri are ‘a perfect fit for FBC.’”
In addition to serving as pastor, Collins will also continue working with Fresh Expressions. “My sense of calling to that movement was too strong for me to walk away from it,” he said. “The church is graciously allowing me to continue in that strategic role.”
“We are grateful for the season that Travis was able to give primary attention to the ever-increasing ministry of Fresh Expressions both in Virginia and throughout the US,” Chris Backert, National Director of Fresh Expressions, US, said. “I believe strongly that this new arrangement is exactly the Lord’s provision for this next stage of the journey as well, both locally and nationally. As I see it today, the Southeast is the developing region of our ministry and this further supports what is already an increasing national mission for the BGAV. Furthermore, I know that First Baptist will be an excellent partner in strengthening the ministry of Fresh Expressions in the Southeast. We can be confident in moments like this that Jesus is truly ahead of us – working where we cannot see just yet.”
FBC Huntsville agreed to allow him to work an average of one day per week and spend up to six weekends per year outside Huntsville in support of Fresh Expressions.
“From my time among you…it seems to me that God has prepared us for each other ‘for such a time as this,’” Collins shared with the church. “To be the next pastor of First Baptist would be a great honor for me.”
Both Collins and Keri are originally from Alabama. He is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and earned the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. His twenty-five plus years of ministry have included missionary service in Nigeria. He is the author of Directionally Challenged, Tough Calls, and Fresh Expressions of Church. Collins will begin serving the church March 20.
The Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) is a cooperative missions and ministry organization that consists of over 1,400 autonomous churches in the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as churches from Seoul, South Korea, Toronto, Ontario, the District of Columbia, and the states of California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.