This month I’d like to introduce you to Reverend Steve Mapp. Steve is a friend and we have something in common in that the Lord called us both into ministry after a career in banking. Steve’s 40-year banking career began after he graduated from Hampden Sydney College. Steve has always been passionate about Bible study and small group ministry. He found his true passion in helping his fellow co-workers who sought spiritual support. It was this passion that led Steve to enter Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (BTSR) with the goal of becoming a corporate chaplain. He clearly heard the words of Jesus that we find in Matthew 9:36 and following. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” Steve graduated BTSR in 2013 with a Master’s Degree in Divinity. While in seminary, Steve heard God’s voice and felt His direction to minister in the congregational setting.
Steve recently retired from his full-time position as Minister of Discipleship and Pastoral Care at Winfree Memorial Baptist Church, where he served for 10 years. While at Winfree, Steve focused much of his time and energy in serving those who have found themselves in the wilderness of grief. Steve says, “The work of grief can be the hardest work we do in life. We are ill-equipped to deal with loss. From cradle to grave we endure losses of all kinds; from physical loss through the death of a loved one, from divorce, from unfulfilled dreams and expectations, and from unexpected changes in life. Losses often leave us emotionally incomplete. That incompleteness is all too often the reason that we get stuck in grief.” Steve has completed several courses of study in grief work that have given him the tools to help people move forward. Steve says, “Using these tools help us complete the emotional incompleteness that allow us to move forward. God is with us the entire way. His grace sustains us. But there is work we must do if we are to rise from our grief and experience life as God intends us to.” You’ll get an opportunity to meet Steve and learn more about his ministry on Sunday, January 16. Steve will be our guest speaker for Brotherhood Sunday. At that time we will also share details on how you can be involved in one of Steve’s Grief Recovery Classes. We’re blessed that he’s agreed to offer this ministry at Bethel this year. Steve says, “There is no question in my mind that God has led me to this specific purpose and I’m excited about the opportunity to help the folks at Bethel.” I’m looking forward to Steve’s visit with us on the 16th. Until then, may you have a happy and most blessed New Year, and may God bless Steve Mapp and Bethel Baptist Church. Amen.