Shortly before his 25th anniversary as pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, Jack Graham told his congregation something that spoke quite succinctly to the vision and mission of one of the largest and most dynamic churches in the country.
"I'm praying in these days that God would do a greater work in all of us; that our church would shine brighter and better for the Lord Jesus Christ," said Graham, who celebrated his silver anniversary this past summer. "I'm praying that in these days, until He comes again, we will fulfill the mission of Christ; that this church would be ablaze, aflame with the power and the presence of God Almighty ... so full of Jesus that the whole world will know He is Lord!"
In the quarter of a century that Graham has led the church in the Dallas Metroplex, much has changed.
Prestonwood has grown from 8,000 members to more than 37,000 members, and from one campus to three campuses in Plano, Prosper and Dallas. In the past 25 years, more than 19,000 people have been baptized and more than 15,000 members of the church have served on mission trips all over the country and the world.
At the same time, however, little has changed.
"The message is the same," Graham said. "I'm still preaching the message of the gospel and the saving grace of Jesus Christ."
Graham said the great thing about the Prestonwood family is that it refuses to be content. So, the church keeps "hooks in the water" at all times.
"We are seeing a new generation of young believers called, equipped and launched into ministry," Graham said. "We are seeing our children take the baton and run the race of faith. We are seeing a growing ethnicity and diversity of the Prestonwood family from nations and languages around the globe. We are developing new ideas and innovations for dynamic ministries in the 21st century. We are proclaiming the gospel together through media and technology. We are reaching the least and the lost in our communities."
In the past 25 years, more than 5,400 children have been baptized; more than 15,400 have attended AWANA; and nearly 100,000 have participated in Vacation Bible School.
In the Student Ministry, more than 3,600 students have been baptized. A new initiative, "Called to Ministry," helps guide students who feel led to the ministry. Since 2013, 253 have been called to ministry.
More than 400 young men and women have been trained and discipled in the past 25 years through the church's Intern Program. Many are currently serving on church staffs, some are pastoring churches and others have gone on to plant churches through the Prestonwood Network.
The Prestonwood Network includes 22 church plants across the U.S. and Canada. Nearly 3,000 church members have served on missions, ministering in various ways at these church plants.
Prestonwood en Español, the fastest-growing ministry at the church, has grown to an attendance of about 800 in five years. More than 300 have been baptized, and nearly 280 have made professions of faith.
PowerPoint Ministries continues growing, reaching millions locally, nationally and internationally with the life-transforming message of the gospel preached in the Prestonwood pulpit.
"The powerful thing is that Pastor Graham lives and leads us with the belief that we are just getting started," said Minister of Spiritual Development Jeff Young.
Ron Murff, a founding member of the church and a lay leader, said there truly is so much more left for Prestonwood to do.
"We're blessed by the past, and that's wonderful," he said. "But what are we doing for God today? What are we doing to serve Him? What can we do better? What can we, individually, be stronger at that will help the body of Christ and help this church?"
Graham has always said that Prestonwood exists for "those not yet here."
"The legacy of Prestonwood lives because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever," Graham said. "Until the last person within the scope of our influence is won for Christ, our mission is not complete."
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