Welcome to Faith Tabernacle, a church where southern charm meets passionate worship and dynamic preaching. Located in South Alabama, the coastal community of Foley — alive with friendly people, historical sites, beautiful beaches and many other attractions — is home to the Pentecostals of Foley, a church that is committed to its community. Pastor J.B. Sims and Faith Tabernacle are fulfilling their vision to be the body of Christ to our world, providing faith, hope and love to all.
Bro. Sims was raised in an Apostolic home and spent his childhood years in Florida where he received the Holy Ghost and was baptized at the age of 14. “I first felt God dealing with me about the ministry in April of 1981,” said Bro. Sims. “My wife and I lived in Gainesville, Georgia. Rev. C.R. Duke was our pastor and we were in revival with Rev. Sammy Bozeman. I preached my first message that year in November. My scripture text was Matthew 8:19-22. My sermon title was, ‘How Far Will You Go?’” It was the beginning of the journey for Bro. Sims, and today he can look back and see just how far he has come.
After receiving his call to the ministry in 1981, Bro. Sims made himself available to serve in any capacity that he could. “I served in the bus ministry from 1981-1985,” explains Bro. Sims, “then we moved to Tallahassee where I served as youth pastor until 1988. Rev. Larry Sims, who is my brother, invited us to serve as his assistant pastor in 1988, and for the next ten years, he made the greatest sacrifice and investment into our ministry. We are truly grateful and indebted to him and his wife Pam.”
Bro. Sims preached his first sermon at Faith Tabernacle on October 26, 1997, and on January 13, 1998, he was elected as pastor. “Our first service was a ministering service for the saints,” said Bro. Sims. “God moved in a special way as we ministered to hurting hearts and wounded spirits. The message I preached was, ‘What Time Is It Really?’ Both my wife and I felt an instant connection to the people, and we left that service knowing God had done something very special.”
In addition to pastoring Faith Tabernacle, Bro. Sims is very involved in the District of Alabama. He was elected District Home Missions Secretary in 2002 and in 2004 was elected as District Apostolic Man Director. With having to wear many different hats, Bro. Sims is thankful to have the support and help of his family. “My son Jason and his wife Jenika serve as associate pastor, and my daughter Andrea and her husband Ian serve as music director,” said Bro. Sims. “In addition, my wife JoAnn has been my friend, counselor, traveling partner, encourager, sounding board and one thousand other things, all while being the mother of our children. My family, including our ten grandchildren, loves the city of Foley and we are honored to serve Faith Tabernacle as well as our community.”
Bro. Sims loves teaching and preaching Apostolic doctrine and firmly believes that to be effective you must preach the truth in love. “Every person that sits under my preaching has a right to hear truth, and I believe it is my duty as a servant of God to give them truth; however, it doesn’t give me the right to be rude or mean-spirited in my delivery,” said Bro. Sims. “I extend the same courtesy toward them as I would wish for myself or my family members if they were attending this church. I am there to serve them, and I want to make myself approachable to assist them in their Christian journey.”
Principles of Growth and Revival
The Pentecostals of Foley have maintained consistent growth throughout Bro. Sims’ tenure. When the Sims first arrived in Foley, there was an average of 32 people in attendance; today they average 175-180. Bro. Sims contributes this success to a few key principles. “We were small in size, but we didn’t have small thinking,” said Bro. Sims. “Our first move after becoming pastor was to start Tuesday Focused Prayer. The success of this service determined the success of all other services. One of the most important things that we did was to have church when we came to church. We were determined that Satan would not stop us, low attendance would not stop us, or lack of worship would not stop us. We then became a giving church. A giving church is intentional about the business of God.”
While the demands on his personal time are great, due to district events, pastoring and spending time with his family, Bro. Sims has personal priorities he consistently maintains to help better serve his church, his family and his community. “My main focus is my own personal daily prayer, devotion and study,” said Bro. Sims. “This helps me to feed, protect and serve the church body. I also love to invest in future leaders while training present leaders, and to help other pastors or missionaries with their burden.”
Growth Ministries and Methods
A church is able to achieve growth in a variety of ways; however, sustained growth is intentional, not accidental, and to accomplish this you must have a growth plan. “Our greatest outreach tool has been our school and daycare that was started by my wife 14 years ago,” said Bro. Sims. “If you take care of people’s children, they won’t soon forget you. We have tried different outreach methods but the best results come from having the power and demonstration of the Holy Ghost moving in our church service. One of the most important things to accomplish is to have church when you come to church. Prayer is another important key. When we pray, we don’t pray weak prayers; we pray with authority. The preaching is anointed because we have anointed praying. Last, but not least, everyone in our church makes visitors feel welcome; this is not left up to the greeters and ushering staff alone. It’s hard to walk away when you’ve been treated so nicely.”
Organization and Management
Faith Tabernacle has a variety of ministries, with about 50 percent of its members involved in some form of ministry. Sis. Sims creates a monthly calendar, which keeps everyone busy yet focused. In turn, each department is responsible for turning in dates and events for the calendar throughout the year. Organization is key, according to Bro. Sims. “I meet with all ministers weekly, and I meet with all department leaders monthly, where we have a meal together and discuss necessary business,” he said. “Everyone has a job description and is required to turn in a monthly report as well. To help in these areas we take advantage of seminars and conferences, purchase material and books, as well as use our own training methods.”
Bro. Sims promotes involvement to everyone in his church, and has implemented a program to encourage and give people the opportunity to do just that. “The first Sunday of every month is Mission Sunday,” he said. “There is no evening service. All members are encouraged to visit guests/elders who can no longer attend services due to health issues, etc. and minister to them. Our motto is ‘It’s Mission Sunday, What Is Your Mission?’”
As their membership has grown, Faith Tabernacle’s facilities have grown as well. The first church building was 40×60. This included an auditorium, two classrooms and two bathrooms with a very small foyer. It sat on 5.38 acres of prime property. Today, they are in a building program on that same land that Bro. Sims says was handpicked by God. “Our current facility is a metal structure,” he explained. “The square footage is 10,250 and the seating capacity is 200. We have five bathrooms, one office, six classrooms, two foyers, and an auditorium and fellowship hall in this building. We have a 4,000 square foot administration building with more classrooms and evangelists’ quarters, and we are currently in the early construction stages of building an 11,250 square foot Family Life Center. Plans are underway to remodel our present auditorium as soon as this building project is completed.”
The Sims family and the Pentecostals of Foley are excited about what God has done and the revival they are experiencing. However, they feel that the best is yet to come. “To date, many wonderful and exciting things have happened,” said Bro. Sims, “and we praise God for each and every one; but, having said that, let me tell you that God has just begun this marvelous work, and there are many miracles yet unclaimed and many more lost souls who will find salvation at the altar. There are many broken families that will be restored because of the sacrifices made by the wonderful men and women of Faith Tabernacle.”