Stone accepts position at church in Paragould

Thursday, July 20, 2006
MOVING ON: Bruce Stone, pastor of Mammoth Spring First Baptist Church, will give his last sermon at the church July 30. See story on page 16.

MAMMOTH SPRING -- For 17 years Bruce Stone has served as pastor of Mammoth Spring First Baptist Church. He will preach his last sermon at the church July 30.

Stone has taken a position as pastor of the Immanuel Baptist Church in Paragould, Ark. He and his wife Judy will be moving and leaving behind a community and a church family that he said is treasured and will be missed.

Stone said during his time with the church at Mammoth Spring he has enjoyed God's blessing with 275 people baptized.

"We feel like we have made some improvements while I've been a pastor at this church. As a church we have purchased an additional 10 city lots for parking, 40 acres for a family recreation area for the church and a new parsonage and they are all paid for," the pastor said.

Stone said the church started an additional morning worship service, modified the old church parsonage for classrooms and has decided to build a new building as funds allow.

The Stones are parents of three grown, married children. "We have been blessed with three grandchildren (so far)," he said.

Stone said he was convicted of the Holy Spirit and surrendered his life to the Lord at the age of 10. "After several years as a rebellious youth and young adult I rededicated my life to Christ and have been faithfully active in ministry since 1982," he said.

Stone received his associate's degree in theology from Williams Baptist College. He also accumulated an additional 36 credit hours while pastoring nearby.

Stone has served as director of missions for the Big Creek Baptist Association that serves Fulton and Sharp counties. "This is a part-time position for me. I serve 10 churches in our association. I am primarily responsible for planning all meetings, camps, conferences as well as counseling other pastors and church leaders," Stone said.

He said dealing with conflicts in the churches with a Christ-like spirit and thus avoiding painful divisions has been one of the most rewarding parts of ministry.

Stone will start his new position Aug. 6.

"If I have been half as good a pastor as this church and this community has been to me, I have accomplished something," he said.

He said the church will be staffed by a part-time secretary when he leaves, along with two summer youth interns. Stone said church officials have told him they plan to hire an interim pastor.

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