By God’s grace and through a 100% vote of approval, Clovis Evangelical Free Church of Clovis, CA has called me to be their new Teaching Pastor! Now let me back up and fill in some blanks. It has been quite a journey of faith for us. In more ways than one, God has brought us a long way!
Geographically. As one raised in the South and having family mostly in the state of South Carolina, I thought I would always minister within the local region. God had other plans in mind, and as always, He brought me around to His will for my life! Trials have a tendency to increase your openness to the Lord’s direction. During the past year, God certainly broadened my scope of ministry possibilities. A few years ago, I probably would never have entertained a move across the country. Now, a few hardships and hopefully a bit more wisdom later, it just seems the natural thing to do. In fact, Clovis, CA already seems like home! God has brought us a long way!
Denominationally. Although the Evangelical Free Church considers itself an association and not a denomination, I am coming from the Southern Baptist Convention. SBC is definitely a denomination. I never really thought this would happen either. Again, God had other plans in mind, and as always, He has brought me around to His will for my life! I’ve never known anything else but being a Baptist, and I am thankful for my upbringing, my education at Baptist institutions, and the commitment of the SBC to missions, the Scripture, and theological training. So this new environment will be an adjustment for me, but one I am excited to embark upon. The EFCA has a solid affirmation of faith and is missional as well. There is no doubt in my mind the Lord has made this transition for me and I look forward to seeing His blessing and work among the Ev Free churches worldwide!
Spiritually. The past 10 months have been a test of faith for my family and I. God has provided encouragement, strength, food, finances, friends, prayers, fellowship - in short, He has proven HImself faithful and absolutely sufficient for everything we need. We have found it all falling from His loving Hand! I praise Him! After finding ourselves back in the ocean of an unknown future, the Lord began to slowly reveal our new future via the internet! It was Summer who first spotted a church advertising their search for a pastor. She knew it was a stretch to even mention it to me because, as stated above, it was not SBC and it was in CA! At the time I wasn’t even sure how to locate CA on the map! However, when I logged onto their website, I simply couldn’t believe my eyes. The very fundamentals and convictions of church life that I was fully committed to had been adopted by this congregation as their Principles of Ministry. I was so refreshed, not so much that I thought I would ever actually become the new pastor, but that a church somewhere had so committed to the Scripture’s teaching on the Church!
Needless to say, I sent a resumé right away. I always believed it was a long shot! Why would they even consider someone like me with such short tenures? Then they called! But....they called to inform me that they wanted to put my resumé on hold. I will never forget that conversation. It was the most positive “No” I had ever received (and I’ve received quite a few)!
Then...they called to say they wanted to seriously consider me. It was a thrilling surprise. Next, there was a skype interview. Then, there were three visits. Three members of their committee spent the weekend with us in Kentucky, Summer and I spent a weekend with them in Clovis, and then I spent another weekend with the elders and staff in Clovis. Another skype interview was in there somewhere. We then we were invited to come out for 11 days of candidating!
Candidating included two Sunday morning sermons, 3 Q and As (a few more too), and meeting with the various ministry groups of the church throughout the week. It was a whirlwind experience, but very profitable. After so much interaction, beginning with that first phone call, the church body really has a good knowledge of who I am and vice versa.
It all came to the concluding moment last night. Summer and I were waiting anxiously for the phone to ring. It did. I answered. And the church was roaring!! The Chairman of the elders informed me that the church had voted unanimously to call me as their new Teaching Pastor! Two miracles in the same night! A unanimous vote (God must be at work!) and a church that is actually going to allow me to be one of their shepherds! God has brought us a long way!
To the fellowship of Clovis Ev Free:
My family and I are deeply grateful for the opportunity you have extended to us. You have so warmly and fully welcomed us into your family and we are incredibly humbled. I am surprised that I get to pastor anywhere! I don’t deserve it. So your call is a bountiful grace to me. It is a joy to join with you, on the same page, headed in the same direction, walking, living, and striving together for the glory of God! God has brought us both a long way, and He has a long way before us that is grand, hard, joyful, tearful, and wonderful! Let’s make Him famous together, from Clovis to the ends of the earth, for His glory and for His Church!