To those who have been praying for us, thank you. After searching for a permanent call for almost 5 years, your prayers have been answered. I received word on Sunday that First Christian Church of Roswell, NM (please, no redundant alien jokes), voted overwhelmingly to extend a call to me so that I may be their next pastor. We have been in contact with this church since early September and went to visit them in early October.
First Christian Church is the second oldest church in Roswell, and has been on the decline for a number of years. They were a part of the Disciples of Christ denomination when they began, but as that denomination drifted to the left theologically, FCC drifted right. FCC left the DoC about 15 years ago and they have continued to pursue the scriptures in order to be true to what the word of God says.
In that process, they began to sense that they should pursue looking into becoming a part of the PCA. That is where I come into the picture. In early September, Dominic Aquilasent me their information and asked if I were interested. You bet! (The elders contacted Dominic because they have mutual friends in the PCA). I really was excited about the prospect from the get go and sent my resume and MDF to the search committee immediately.
What was about the church that got me excited? I think part of it was that they were non-denominational and looking to come into the PCA. They were also going through Embers to a Flame, which is a church-revitalization ministry out of Birmingham, AL. I’ve taken two churches through Embers and neither one has followed up with Fanning the Flame, which is very helpful in church revitalization. I’m not sure they will follow through with FTF, but it helps that they see that God is not through with them yet and that they have the hope of God’s hand in their lives.
I am also excited because they have a hunger for the word of God. Not just to know more about God’s word, but to have God’s word in their lives so that they may be used by the Holy Spirit for God’s glory. This was obvious when I was there earlier in the month. I taught then in Sunday school and preached for them and both times they were truly blessed, as was I.
It really is amazing how God has worked in my life to prepare me for this call. I must confess that about four months ago, I got fed up with looking for churches in my current denomination and just decided to quit looking there all together. What I wanted was not more denominationalism, but a church that has a true desire to seek God’s will and leading in their lives. Please note, that these things are not mutually exclusive. There are a lot of churches in the PCA that are doing just that. The movement of the Spirit was more for me than for the PCA. I felt like God was bringing me to the point of letting go of the PCA in order to prepare me for the next call.
The irony of all this is that this non-denomination church came to my attention through Dominic, who is entrenched in the PCA. FCC is non denominational as I mentioned above. But their desire is to be a part of the PCA. I truly believe God was preparing my heart for this church. I will still be a member of the PCA, working out of bounds. And if and when FCC is ready, they will join the PCA as well.
Joining the PCA is NOT a priority. That is a goal that we will have as church leaders. The main goal is to teach and preach Christ crucified in order to build up the body of Christ for the work of the ministry (Philippians 1:18, Eph. 4:11ff, 2 Cor. 4:5). If we join the PCA, that is icing on the cake. I pray that over the next couple of years, that the congregation comes to the point that they desire to join the PCA and understand all that it entails. Not that there is anything to fear. What I mean is that I hope and pray that the see joining the PCA as a benefit to who they are in Christ, that we will be joining together those who have like minds about the Word of God, His Mission and His purpose with us so that we can work together and carry out the Apostolic mandate found in Ephesians 4 on a grander scale.
However, if we do not get to that point, as long as we are being true to the overall calling of Christ, I will be fine with that as well. What I truly want is a ministry that bears much fruit, and a church that does the same. We may not all be theologically on the same page, or even have the same goals. But if we truly show the love of Christ toward one another, and are seeking His will, then I can certainly live with that. I long to live with that. May He use my desires and theirs for His glory and for the building up of the Kingdom, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.