This morning as I spent a little time with the Lord, I was reminded of how blessed and fortunate I have been to be able to spend some time ministering to and with some of the most amazing churches. I am so thankful for the journey that God has allowed me to travel and for how that journey has allowed me to be shaped and grown by a precious handful of churches that have given God the glory and encouraged me to do the same.
Calvary Baptist Church in Williamston is where I met Jesus for the first time. There were many precious men and women who spoke the love of Christ into my young and impressionable life. Much of who and what I am today, I learned from this loving and serving group of Christians at this very impressionalble young age.
Tabernacle Baptist Church in Pelzer is where I learned about the real importance of people. This is where God helped me to discover my pastor’s heart. I still remember visiting and sitting on the front porches of many of the mill homes and sharing conversations about all that God has done and will do. This was also the place where I discovered that being a big kid is okay and that our God is a big enough God to use it all in His way for His glory.
Rose Of Sharon in Durham is where I learned the value of team work. God blessed me with a group of men, women, boys and girls that loved getting the job done. This is also where I learned that church could and would be family, if you would let them. I discovered here my love for learning and sharing the Word of God.
Shamrock in Bethune was the first church that I pastored and it was here that I learned that with our God small is big. I learned how to really care for people and how to let them care for you. I learned a lot while serving this community, but the most important thing I learned was how to listen to the Holy Spirit. Long walks and out loud talks in the woods, the wisdom of the older generation and sweet times of personal worship grew me in ways that I would have never dreamed or imagined.
Hillcrest in Laurens is where I learned about friendship and discovered the real power of doing life and ministry together. This is the place where God developed in me a love for the disadvantaged and socially challenged. God moved me out of my comfort zone without me even knowing it, by putting a love and desire in my heart that still travels with me to this day.
Northwood in Greer is where God took many of the things that He had taught me in all of the different churches and allowed me to use them with my brothers and sisters in Christ to reach out and make a difference in different ways than the other churches around us. It was here that I discovered the amazing truth that God has a unique plan for all of us and will use us for His glory, if we will get out of His way and follow His plan. It was here that I had the opportunity to face up to and deal with the personal sin of ego, and it was here that God grew my faith, so that I might be able to take a step out of my comfort zone. It was here that God helped me to find and discover the heart and passion that He had given me and it was here that gave me the opportunity to pursue that!
Grace Place Community/Ridgewood is where I find myself today. The things that God is teaching me can only be described as incredible. As of this very moment, one of the most important lessons that I have learned is that the free flow of the Spirit is an incredible and mighty force, that I don’t want to ever have to think about doing ministry without. I am learning that God can take people who are diverse, bring them together and use them in incredible ways. I am learning that when you see God working in these ways, then you just can’t keep your mouth shut about it – you have to share it!
These are just a few of the congregations that have impacted my life. Wherever I go and whatever I do, a little of each of them go with me to help share the greatest message ever delivered: “You are God’s creation, Jesus loves you and your life is going to be marvelous!”