WINTER HAVEN, Fla.—Faith Baptist Church honored Nathan O. Osborne III for 20 years of service as its pastor.
In 1995 Faith Baptist Church had been without a pastor for nearly two years when Osborne, having accepted the church’s call, arrived with his wife, Jill, and their four children.
Faith’s assistant to the pastor and music director, Stephen Simpson, spent his teen and college years under Osborne’s ministry and then joined the staff. In a recent church blog, he writes about Pastor Osborne, keying in on three characteristics: vision, servanthood, and faithfulness.
Simpson says that Osborne prays big prayers and dreams big dreams. His vision led Faith Baptist to pay off debt early, purchase property, and build a million-dollar building debt-free. His vision also led the church to establish its missions program called Faith’s 100 and, after Evangelical Baptist Missions closed, create Faith Baptist Mission to assist former EBM missionaries in Africa. But, says Simpson, these gains were not made through vision alone; they were coupled with faith. “Pastor had the vision and also the faith to believe that God could accomplish his vision.”
Perhaps more than his vision, people are drawn to Osborne’s heart. Simpson says, “We have a pastor who loves us and who genuinely serves us. If you ask him for help, he will help you. He works tirelessly to meet our needs, both spiritual and physical. He will come pray with you in the hospital. He will come to your house in the middle of the night. He will come hold your hand when your loved one dies. For 20 years, FBC has been blessed with a pastor who gives far more than he receives.”
But, says Simpson, Osborne’s faithfulness is more important than his vision or his servant’s heart. “We have a pastor who has not failed. He has remained faithful to God. He has remained faithful to his wife. He has remained faithful to his children. He has remained faithful to all of us.”
Like her husband, Jill Osborne has vision and a faithful servant’s heart. She serves through the church’s music and nursery programs and heads the church’s women’s ministries. And, of course, she assists her husband in his myriad ministries, including the times he calls her to the platform to illustrate a point about marriage or relationships.
Both Nathan and Jill teach and speak when called upon. Women may remember Jill leading a workshop at the 2014 GARBC Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Nathan spoke at the 2005 GARBC Conference in Lakeland. On May 15 and 16, they will speak on “Harmony at Home” at a couple’s retreat of the Sunshine Baptist Fellowship. Nathan is also author of Just Let Me Preach: The Biography of Paul Tassell. Tassell, who went to be with the Lord in 2002, was Jill’s father and GARBC national representative from 1979 to 1994.
On March 29, Faith Baptist Church presented the Osbornes with a thank-you gift. In responding, Pastor Osborne says, “Twenty years have flown by. We have enjoyed serving the Lord here at Faith Baptist Church. We’ve enjoyed as a family growing up here in Winter Haven. We have loved each other, and we truly love you.”
Simpson says God could not have given the church a gift greater than a faithful pastor. “For 20 years, we have been blessed beyond comprehension by Pastor and Jill Osborne.”