February 11th, 2017

AIPM at West View Baptist Church, Hartlepool 2002-2003

By: Chuck McComb

Early in AIPM’s ministry at Thornaby, an opportunity to serve at West View Baptist Church in Hartlepool opened up. The Lord was clearly in this assignment because the candidate, Dwayne Burks, heard about AIPM in a most round-about way. Dwayne served in children’s Bible study one Sunday at his church in Charlotte, NC and missed the worship service. A friend of Dwayne’s heard visiting preacher Neil McClendon’s message and reported on some of Neil’s comments to Dwayne.

Dwayne’s friend said that Neil had mentioned an unusual ministry in England. Neil knew about AIPM from his friend, John Wills, then Minister of Education at Sagemont and a staunch supporter of AIPM from the outset. When Dwayne got the details, he contacted John Wills. John Wills contacted John Rhodes (recall that name from AIPM’s starting at Cambridge Road!). Dwayne said that he could visit England and preach with a view to volunteering in a church for 6-months as he had just left the banking business . Rhodes arranged for Dwayne to preach at West View Baptist Church! Rhodes had commitments on the Saturday and asked Chuck and Pat McComb who were then serving at Thornaby to host Dwayne for the day. That went very well and Dwayne’s message at West View went even better–they invited him to serve as volunteer interim pastor from July 2002 to January 2003.

Dwayne and Charlotte Burks and Family

Dwayne baptized 7 at West View including his own daughter. When the Burks’ pastor in NC learned of their plans to serve in England, another “Hand of God” event occurred. The pastor told Dwayne that if the NC church could use their house for missionary housing while they were in England, they would pay the mortgage and utilities payments! And, the local church helped with the extra cost of airline tickets for their 4 children!

West View Baptist Church

A great example of the way GOD KEEPS ON BLESSING—The Burks’ relationship with West View in Hartlepool, England has continued the 15 years since they served there. And while serving as a layman at West View, God impressed on Dwayne that He wanted him in Gospel ministry. Dwayne answered that call was ordained to the Gospel ministry and served 13 years as bi-vocational pastor of Bethany Baptist Church in Gastonia, North Carolina!

The Burks’ have hosted 13 visits from Hartlepool folk over the years and the Burks visited West View 2 times. Two West View young people served in Bethany Baptist Church in youth worker internships. And it continues—the oldest Burks’ daughter will visit Hartlepool in April 2017!

West View has continued as a strong evangelical church and 2 of its members recently left to plant another evangelical church in Hartlepool. And, a member of West View that was baptized on the Burks’ last day at that church is now serving in Nevada with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. It blesses our hearts to see churches where AIPM has served doing so well for the cause of Jesus Christ!