This past weekend Lois and I had the privilege of returning to Emo and meeting with members of the the Calvary Baptist Church Leadership as we together discerned if God is calling us to be the lead pastor couple at their church. It was truly amazing to see how God has been leading and blessing the church, and how his leading of our family has brought us to this point.
Having built an addition onto their church a few years back, the church now has a beautiful fellowship hall. This hall is where the church has its monthly first Sunday of the month after church potluck. We enjoyed some amazing food and getting to know a variety of people as we hung out at lunch (and since we were classified as visitors we even got to eat first, which is a nice treat after years of organizing events at GMC and waiting till the end to eat!). There are a lot of families with young children in the church, and it was encouraging to meet many families who had four kids like we do.
After lunch we began our meeting with the Pastoral Search Committee. These godly men and women asked some great questions, and allowed us to ask them questions at well. The church has developed a very biblical leadership system which I would feel very privileged to be a part of. One thing that is a strong value to the leaders, the pastor, and the church, is the idea of church as family. They all see that as one of their main strengths, along with being a very gospel centered church, and a being a church full of people that truly love each other.
After a great "faspa" (yes, there are a lot of Mennonites in this Baptist church!), we headed back for another three hour session of getting to know each other. Pastor Andrew joined us for this session, and it was great to hear his heart for the church, his love for his people, and his excitement at how God is leading this whole process. As I had the opportunity to "pass the baton" to the new Children's Ministry Coordinator at GMC, it seems like that is happening here as well. God's grace was so evident the whole day, and all parties involved are truly amazed at how God is leading so quickly and clearly. Truly God loves his church more than any of us, and he will provide for his people.
Lois and I and all the kids will be heading back to Emo this weekend, as I have been asked to preach. This will give the church as a whole a chance to get to know us, and continue to move the whole process forward. We had a great tour of Emo from one of the members of the committee, and visited with Andrew and Melanie and their family at the parsonage. We received an education as to the cost of land in the area, and came to the conclusion that if God continues to make the way clear, moving into the parsonage in town to start would be great way to get our bearings on small town life and allow us to make connections with the community.
Please pray that God's Spirit will work in and through me as I speak, that Lois and I can just be ourselves as we interact with many people, and that our kids will enjoy going to the start of Sunday School and make some friends.
Thank you for your prayers so far. I received this verse in an email the other day, and it clearly speaks to what God is doing. Jeremiah 10:23 ~ I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. We continue to be humbled by our great God and his love for us, his love for the people of Calvary Baptist, and the amazing way he brings glory to himself.