I am Pastor Dave Winstead, Executive Director and Founder of FaithByTheWord Ministries, a Christian Not-For-Profit Corporation headquartered in Burlington, NC. This is the story of how a country boy from Graham, NC came to establish a worldwide ministry with 33,500+ followers in 143 countries.
My secular career spanned 47 years as a computer scientist primarily consulting to medical and pharmaceutical research companies in the U.S. and providing specially designed computer systems to aid in their analysis of clinical trials data gathered in the testing of new products.
My full-time calling to the ministry came in 2015 when the Family Care Pastor at Harvest Baptist Church retired to Florida to be closer to family. Knowing that I was very active visiting nursing homes, my pastor asked if I would retire from my secular job as a computer scientist and become the Family Care Pastor. After earnest prayer for a few days I was excited about making the move which I did on 9/15/2015.
As Family Care Pastor I was provided a list of 20 shut ins to visit and minister to and told it would probably only take 20 hours per week. Having had been visiting in nursing homes for over 20 years I knew it wouldn’t quite work that way. You see, you can’t just visit a person and ignore their roommate and once I started visiting a person I couldn’t stop and let them feel like they were forgotten. All too often once a person is in a nursing home for a brief period their friends stop coming, their family stops coming, and even their churches stop coming. I was determined I would never stop visiting them until they were called to heaven. And so the ministry grew. From time to time one of the two residents in the room would move to another room and I would follow them and get to know their new roommate. Then someone would move to another nursing home and I would follow them there and meet their new roommate and so on and so on. From 2015 until 2020 when the covid virus arrived, my regular list of nursing home residents grew from 20 to 384 as of 3/12/2020 when all of the nursing homes in Alamance county were quarantined due to the coronavirus. And this increase even factored in the fact that almost 10% of the residents I visited went to heaven every 90 days.
One of the most popular activities in the nursing homes were Sunday Worship Services every week and Bible Studies an additional 2 or 3 times each week. Well, when the quarantine was invoked on March 12 the Worship Services and Bible Studies came to a screeching halt. So, being a computer geek, I created the website www.FaithByTheWord.org (as in “Faith Comes From Hearing And Hearing By The Word”) and chunked it full of Bible study aids as well as a fresh Sunday Worship Service Plan every week. I published links to the website from my facebook page so with this great tool in hand the nursing home’s Activities Director could serve as leader and continue regular worship and bible studies. It only took about 3 weeks to prepare www.FaithByTheWord.org and I published it on April 1, 2020.
And then God took over!!!
In only 4 days my facebook friends list grew from 750 to 5000 – the maximum allowed by Facebook!!! I could not believe my eyes. I contacted Facebook and they said they had just changed their algorithm on April 1 that matches people up with potential friends based on the content of their facebook page and not just by the things they have in common such as where they work or other common interests. Based on the content of material I posted for bible study and worship services, Facebook was promoting my page around the world. The number of Facebook friend requests I receive every day runs 10-30. If I had been able to accept all of the friend requests I would have several thousand Facebook friends by now.
In order to meet the need for bible study aids and worship service materials, I started pushing people toward the website itself without using the links from Facebook. As of 12/31/2022 there are now 34,500+ followers in 145 countries around the world – 353 in China! – reading and studying the content I publish every day!!! It is accessed thru the website menu by selecting “Spiritual Food For The Soul”.
Today, FaithByTheWord Ministries Outreach consists primarily of: