Our History & 2024 Future Vision

Our History & 2024 Future Vision
One of our young adults JOYFULLY serving the Lord at one of various public ministry efforts in 2023! The Laodicean church world can have its dead, do-nothing religion. Thank God He sent our church, folks that want to be "DOERS of the WORD"!

Beloved Saints of God,

Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I’m thankful for all the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon our small assembly of believers in 2023.

The highlight of our year was our 3rd Annual Bible Conference: A Heart Cry for Christian Charity. It was, without a doubt, a MUCH-needed theme. Our guest preachers preached the Word powerfully, yet charitably. All the messages are worth listening to again as a jump-start for 2024, and can be found on our YouTube channel HERE!

Our public evangelism for 2023 was very exciting and fruitful. Thousands of tracts went out, hundreds of souls were talked to one-on-one, and the gospel was preached open-air into ears that otherwise would have avoided listening to gospel truth. THANK YOU for praying, laboring, and giving of your finances so Pilgrim Baptist Church can effectively evangelize Cookeville, TN.

In addition to our local evangelistic efforts, it’s an honor to be able to support 11 missionaries and Christian ministries, 3 of which we took on for support in 2023. When our family came to Cookeville, TN as missionaries in 2018, we started with a commitment to support missionaries. As a result, we will always have missions as an integral part of our local church.

Our online viewership has also grown tremendously.

Our YouTube channel received 248,673 views that brought us 1,668 new subscribers in 2023.

YouTube also allowed us to reach 86 countries: with the US, India, Philippines, Kenya, and Indonesia being the top 5. Go figure!

Additionally, "Sermon Audio" allowed us to reach 49 states in the US, plus an additional 74 countries. CLICK HERE to view our "Sermon Audio" site.

-- Our Past Blessings & Our Future Vision for 2024 --

Many of you know that Pilgrim Baptist Church held its 1st church service in a small conference room with 9 believers at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Cookeville, TN on November 4, 2018.

By the time December rolled around, we already had to make our first move into the conference room at the nearby Holiday Inn.

By January 2019, the Lord made a provision for us to make our 2nd move into a small office building right off Hwy 111 in Sparta.

This came about after we met Dale Walker through one of our public evangelism outreaches. The Lord touched Dale’s heart regarding our church’s willingness to stand up for Jesus in the public arena. As a result, he allowed us to meet in the conference room of his office building, rent-free! Although this meeting house was out of the Cookeville area, we fully trusted God’s providential hand as He moved us.

It was a huge break for Pilgrim, because it allowed us the freedom to conduct a Sunday evening service, as well as a mid-week service.

We joyfully met at 3661 Roberts Matthews Hwy in Sparta for 10 months. If you drive by that address, staying on Hwy 111, you can see Pilgrim Baptist Church’s banner that reads: Repent ye, and believe the gospel!

To have a billboard displayed on Hwy 111 would cost thousands of dollars each year. But our banner is displayed free of charge because 1 man believed in the evangelistic mission of our small little flock! PRAISE GOD!

However, the Lord wasn’t quite done moving our church yet; and our small flock was beginning to appreciate why our church name was “PILGRIM” Baptist. The next door of opportunity the Lord opened, allowed us to move back into the Cookeville area, by putting us in a church-house, which was formerly called Bible Baptist Church.

This happened in November 2019. The pastor at that time was up in years, struggling with health issues, and praying about retiring. So, with the allowance from Bible Baptist, Pilgrim Baptist was able to meet in their building.

Over the past 4 years we were able to host 3 Bible Conferences, conduct 8 believers’ baptism’s, start our YouTube ministry, conduct 2 funerals, hold monthly fellowship lunches, and minister to the spiritual needs of countless families. This had a GREAT impact on all those involved!

Although this current building wasn’t ours, we were happy to have a meeting place to gather together and worship the Lord. We all know the church isn’t a building; but having an official-looking church-house to meet in, gave a much better impression than the hotel & office conference rooms we came from.

During this past year, a strong desire for Pilgrim Baptist to have a building of its own became important.

For one, it’s Christian courtesy to give occupancy back to Bible Baptist, so they can take some time to discern what the Lord would have for their ministry.

For two, the surrounding area isn’t the best.

We’ve had countless problems over the past 4 years, ranging from homeless people loitering on church property, to drugs being used in our back pavilion. We’ve had our electric meter stolen, as well as the church house being broken into. I’ve had to call the cops on multiple occasions. At least once a year, we have a random person high on drugs or alcohol come in and disturb our church services. On one occasion, a man approached the pulpit while I was preaching.

Thankfully, all these incidences were only harmless interruptions.

Although I’ve worked overtime to try to make where we’re currently at, as safe as possible, the reality is: our current location will always bring with it “lewd fellows of the baser sort.”

It’s not a safe, long-term solution of safety or growth, for our church family.

The Good News!

With all that said, the good news is: the Lord put in front of us an opportunity to acquire a small, little church-house, in the very desirable area within Cookeville, called Algood, TN.

This church-house has been vacant for at least 4 years. It needs some TLC, but it is an excellent spot to relocate to and safely minister to families.

We see the Lord’s hand in all of this and are very excited about finally having a church-house to call our own!

Of course, with a new building comes the additional expense of fixing it up and furnishing it to be presentable for public worship and for God’s glory.

We are tentatively planning to open our new church-house for public worship on Sunday, March 31st.

If the Lord makes a way for us to start meeting there earlier, we’ll let you know. In the meantime, we’ll trust God to work out all those details. We’ll also trust His providential hand as He provides laborers for His work.

Giving You a VISUAL for our VISION!

We’ve got a lot of work and a lot of expenses ahead of us. We’ve detailed a list of those expenses for your review here:

We’ve also created a “Picture Page” on our church website. This page will be updated weekly and will allow you to see the progress of our new building renovation project.

You can view those pictures here:

Finally, I want to thank YOU for your faithfulness in 2023.

I’m looking forward to serving together with you in 2024, as we do more to strengthen our families, evangelize the lost, and prepare our new building for Christ-centered worship, family fellowship and expository Bible teaching.

In His Grip,

Pastor Fortunato

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish.