On Saturday morning January 14, 2017 I met my Leadership Team for breakfast at the Old Oak Café in Smith Mountain Lake. That was the normal every few weeks or so. We would meet to discuss church business and upcoming events as well as to enjoy each other’s fellowship. That morning was different because I would share with them what I had been struggling with for several months.
I had just reached my seventh decade in life and there were all kinds of thoughts bombarding my heart and mind concerning the future.
After we prayed and began to eat I shared with them some of my thoughts. For a long time, the Lord had impressed upon my heart that the church needed a pastor who was local who would be close to Snow Creek all the time, a younger man who would carry on an aggressive plan to reach Snow Creek and the precious people of Franklin County with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
They knew, that one of my passionate desires was to spend the rest of my life coming along side of young pastoral staffs to encourage them, helping them to deal with an ever-increasing load of conflict, marriage and family relationships, staff relationships, temptations, living out their identity in Christ, celebrating Sabbath, sharing with them the myth of sin management and accountability (I’m very careful to use that term as it sounds work-based and performance driven.) I prefer to use, safe relationship, rather than accountability. 😊
After I shared there was quietness around that table and no one offered to respond. It was a very emotional moment. They all knew my heart and realized that I would not have said that without realizing that God had really spoken to me concerning these matters. We were more than just pastor and leadership team, we were authentic friends.
I told the Leadership team that I would be leaving only after we found a good prospective pastor who would love them and be a pastor to them. For several months the request was dodged, always changing the subject when brought up. 😊
In the Spring of this year, with the help of some of my friends at Liberty University I began to invite some very good pastoral candidates to preach at Covenant. Several have come already. At this point no decisions have been made on the next pastor. I haven’t preached there since the last Sunday of March. Betty and I have been visiting some Lynchburg area churches every Sunday and have been very encouraged and ministered to. However, on every Sunday morning at 10:15 AM my heart wanders back into that room, constantly remembering how Covenant Community Church, the House Church in Snow Creek impacted my life so dramatically. I will love you, forever, Snow Creek. God sent you when I needed you the most. God knew that a long time before we did, and He started making His plans on January 4, 2004.