Warwick UMC’s Boat Church Makes a Big Splash!


Since his appointment in 2017, Brother Billy Kimbrel has enjoyed getting his feet wet preaching at Boat Church, a 20+-year-old ministry of Warwick UMC. In this article, he shares what Boat Church is all about and how it’s making a big splash in the community.

Every Sunday from May through September about 100 to 140 boaters and landlubbers attend Boat Church on the shores of Lake Blackshear. Our worship service, which begins at 9 am, is held at 480 Lakeshore Drive in Cordele on a lot owned by Warwick UMC members Bob and Peggy Davis. From October through April, Boat Church services are held indoors at Warwick UMC at 199 Magnolia Street in Warwick.

People enjoy Boat Church because of the beauty and tranquility of the lake. As you approach the worship area, you see the lake at the far end. The boats tie up next to each other and form a line on the left. The people seated in chairs look out over the water, while the trees on the right offer a welcoming shade that creates a safe haven for worshippers and wildlife alike. With the birds chirping, the openness and the big sky above, the greatness of God comes alive.

The dress is casual, and the people are laid-back. They bring their children, coffee, and pets. Boat Church draws Methodists, Baptists, people who have a church affiliation somewhere else, retirees who live around the lake, and people who have lived in the community all of their lives.

Boat Church breaks down the walls of a normal church. We see people who would never set foot in a brick-and-mortar church because they like being outside. They experience the hospitality and the love of Christ by being in fellowship here.

We’ve seen Boat Church breathe new life into the congregation and provide more opportunities for outreach into the community. Our Fishes and Loaves Ministry feed 220 to 240 people every month. God’s Important People Ministry serve meals and provide an inspirational program to about 60 people each month. Our Quilting Ministry provides quilts for the Methodist Children’s Home, which we financially support. We also support foster children, offer Bible study and host a Wednesday Night Supper.

The Georgia United Methodist Foundation assists Warwick UMC with a scholarship endowment.