A young minister and his family have taken the position as pastor at Faith Baptist Church this January.
The Rev. Matt Edwards and his wife Tonya and children, Andrew, 7, Emily, 3, and Melody, 2, previously lived in the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, area before coming to Sedalia.
“We actually moved on my birthday which was Jan. 21,” Edwards said Thursday at the church. “My first official Sunday here was the 24th.”
Both Edwards and his wife grew up in Dayton, Ohio. For the past 12 years the family has lived in Margate, Florida, where Edwards served as assistant pastor before coming to Missouri.
“We moved from Florida to Ohio and spent a few months with family,” he added. “Then we came from Ohio to here.”
He said it was a big climate change but they were ready for four seasons again.
“My wife and I grew up in Ohio so we are used to the cold weather,” he said. “We actually missed it a little bit. We were in south Florida and it was just hot every day of the year. So, we never really got used to the heat down there.”
Edwards, a graduate of Pensacola Christian College, said the decision to leave Florida was because he felt it was time to move on and that God was calling him elsewhere.
“… I just felt like the Lord was calling me to be a senior pastor somewhere,” Edwards said. “I prayed about and talked to my pastor about it, in Florida, and he encouraged us and helped us and gave us counsel. He sort of put my name out there.”
He added that he felt like Sedalia Faith Baptist Church was a good fit.
“They invited me to come in December,” he noted. “We visited the first Sunday in December and we really, really loved the church, loved the people. They are very nice people, it seems like there’s a good spirit, a good attitude in the church. They asked me to come back in January.”
The family came back Jan. 10 and the church officially voted to have Edwards become pastor.
“We just felt like it was the right thing,” he added.
Edwards has several goals as pastor. One is to bring back Faith Baptist’s Christian school.
“They closed the school about seven years ago,” Edwards said. “I’d like to someday open it back up.”
He would also like to see the church grow and to see young families to move into the congregation.
“We’d like to see a lot of visitors come our to our services,” he said. “We want to get our name out in the community and let them know we are available to help when we can. I definitely want to see the church grow.
“We are looking specifically for families,” he added. “We want families with children. That’s the fastest way to grow the church is to get families.”
The Edwards family is happy to be part of the Sedalia community too.
“We love the town of Sedalia,” Edwards said. “We’re getting acclimated with where everything is. It’s a smaller town compared to what we’re used to, but we wanted something smaller. Where we were in Florida everything was city, you couldn’t drive anywhere and get away from the city.”
He added that the people of Sedalia have been friendly and helpful.
“It is a growing area,” he noted. “That’s one of the reasons that I wanted to come to this city was because I know it is a growing city. There are a lot of churches here already, but it is a growing area and there are those people who need to be reached.”
Faith Baptist Church has Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. with the main service at 10:45 a.m. Sunday. Sunday evening service is at 6 p.m. with Wednesday service at 7 p.m. For more information, call the church at 827-1394.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.