Reflecting on Year One

uhalNext week will mark one year of service for me as pastor of Main Street. On the Sunday I was installed as pastor, I told our people: “I never want to move again!” Kernersville was our fourth move in six years, so by the time our family unpacked yet another U-Haul, we could not bear the thought of doing it again. For that—and other reasons—my aim from day one was to serve and lead with a view toward the future, with the prayerful hope that God would graciously allow me a long tenure at Main Street that would result in much gospel fruit abounding to his glory. One year later, my prayers and desires for the future remain unchanged!

As I reflect on the past year, I am grateful for all that God has allowed us to accomplish. It’s been a busy year, and, from my perspective, we haven’t been busy for the sake of being busy! Every accomplishment of the past year has been designed to lay a solid foundation for the future; preparing Main Street to be a viable gospel-witness in the heart of Kernersville for generations to come.

Below are some of the highlights of the past year:

  • Instituted Membership Class: To my knowledge, Main Street never had a membership class before. The membership class not only introduces prospective members to who we are, it also encourages people to join. This class has paid dividends—we have welcomed 16 new members into our fellowship since September.
  • New Website: In the twenty-first century, the first door most people “walk through” is the website. Understanding this principle, it was critical that we update our website. Although our present website may not be the hippest, it is at least functional, easier on the eyes, and more user friendly compared to the previous site!
  • Rebranded: Along with a new web design came a new logo, which reflects my desire that we will be a church that “Exalts Christ” in all we do.
  • Transitioned to One Service: When I arrived at Main Street I soon discovered that I was the pastor—in effect—of two churches; one worshiped during our “contemporary” service; the other during our “traditional” service. For several reasons, both theological and practical, I realized immediately the importance of transitioning to one blended service. Though it took much time and planning, we made the transition in March with relative ease.
  • Staff Changes: In June, we transitioned our former Youth Director to a new position: Director of Missions, Outreach, and Discipleship. This move was born out of a deep desire to transform Main Street into a church that is faithful to live on mission to the glory of God.
  • Baptisms: We baptized eight new believers in Jesus Christ this year. Six of the eight are somewhat unique in Baptist life: adults who were never baptized as children. The other two were children.

I am grateful to God for how he has moved at Main Street in the past year. I’m also grateful to the members of Main Street who have embraced much change. They are to be commended. The above could never have happened without their support.

Going forward, much work remains undone and many challenges lie ahead. But I am convinced as much today, as I was twelve months ago, that Main Street’s best days are ahead of us, and not behind. If we remain faithful to the task God has given us, I have no doubt that he will continue to bless us in the months and years ahead.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” Matthew 28:19

 

 

 

Mother’s Day 2016: A Bittersweet Experience.

It was one year ago this month that Main Street Baptist Church voted me to be their senior pastor. That made Mother’s Day, 2016, one of the most bittersweet days of my life.

Bitter because I stood before Wood Baptist Church that Mother’s Day announcing my intent to accept the call to Main Street. That was, in all honesty, a most gut-wrenching experience. In fact, I cried like a baby when I announced my decision at the close of the service. Wood was a special place, plain and simple. My time in Wood convinced me that there is no other place on earth like it. In my 20 months as pastor of Wood Baptist Church, I developed a deep love and attachment to the people. The people of Wood made us feel like family and we made some life-long friends there. It was also special to me because Wood Baptist Church gave me my first opportunity to serve as a pastor. I will always be grateful for my time in Wood.

But I knew I had to leave, because I knew God was behind the move. That turned an otherwise bitter experience into something sweet.

I’ve never shared publicly the details of how we arrived at Main Street. I’m certain some people questioned my motives: “Is he just looking to move from church to church? Is he just looking for a bigger church; a bigger payday?” That wasn’t the case at all.

One morning in January 2016, my wife told me she had a dream the night before. The gist of the dream was this: when God came to get us, we were to go, no questions asked. Honestly, I was skeptical that morning. But two weeks later I received a call from a friend who told me he wanted to give my resume to Main Street Baptist Church. According to the church’s website, they were looking for a candidate with a minimum of five years experience. At the time, I had a grand total of 16 months experience in the pastorate, and I was less than one month removed from completing seminary. At that moment, I thought to myself, “That will never happen.” But within a matter of weeks I received a call from the pastor search committee. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Some may balk at my wife’s dream. But here’s what I know: the events of the past year have confirmed God’s hand in our move to Main Street. He has blessed us with a wonderful church family and community in Kernersville. More importantly, we see clear evidence of God’s handiwork at Main Street in the past year, and we expect even greater things ahead in the years to come.