First Baptist Murphy Welcomes New Pastor
First Baptist Murphy (FBM) hired Ben Phillips as their full-time pastor and youth pastor. His first sermon as pastor of FBM was given on Easter Sunday, 2018. Phillips details his responsibilities as pastor and youth pastor of FBM, “I will preach weekly, provide leadership for the church, relaunch the student ministry and look for ways to engage in ministry in the community.”
Before coming to FBM, Phillips worked for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention in multiple capacities. He consulted with church staff and lay leaders to revitalize and multiply the kingdom impact of churches through marriage enrichment, parent training, church safety seminars and preaching. He believes the quote, “Healthy relationships build healthy homes, and healthy homes build healthy churches.” He has a desire to impact young couples through pre-marital and marital counseling and a passion to equip parents to be the primary disciple maker for their children. He said, “Most parents want to invest in their children’s spirituality but haven’t seen that modeled. I want to model that and help them develop a plan to disciple their kids.”
Murphy resident, John Nohrenberg was the Chairman of the Pastor Search Committee (PSC). He provided a glimpse into how Phillips was chosen, “The PSC worked with the church body to obtain survey results, providing a “road-map of qualifications” of the type of candidate the church was looking for. This road map became a baseline for our candidate evaluation. The PSC evaluated over 70 resumes from interested candidates, ranging from locations here in Murphy to as far away as Alaska. The candidates were independently evaluated and ranked by each of the 7 members of the committee, then evaluated and ranked again after committee discussion and debate. The top candidates were then approached by the committee for a series of interviews with the committee and reference checks, which eventually led us to focus on Ben Phillips.”
One of Phillips favorite quotes is, “A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.” (D. Elton Trueblood) He applies the concept to FBM in that it speaks to making a multi-generational impact in the community. He said, “FBM has a lot of history and its future holds great potential. I want to build on what has been built and grow into the future, even beyond my lifetime.”
He describes the congregation at FBM to be very welcoming and open to taking the next steps to grow and build and make a bigger effort to reach the community. He said there is a good mix of younger and older families which creates opportunity for cross-generational ministries. He is also pleased to see that there is a nice representation of different cultures at FBM which he feels reflects the community.
He is excited to begin planning future events and has a missions event scheduled for the youth in June. VBS will be held June 25-28. There will be monthly youth gatherings including food, games and challenges from scripture and weekly discipleship times. In the fall he plans to launch weekly parent discipleship classes.
Phillips has a degree in Biological Sciences from Southern Illinois University (1991) and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary focusing on family discipleship. He served full time with ABSC for 21 years, served as an interim pastor in five churches and youth pastor in four churches. He is married and has three children.
FBM moved from its original location at FM544 and Murphy Road to the current location at 800 N. Murphy Road in July of 2008, and was restored and completed in 2009. The average attendance in worship from January to March of 2018 was 80 people. On Easter Sunday there were 130 people. They are currently averaging 99 people each Sunday.