If I had known how much fun it is to celebrate life with grandchildren, I would have encouraged my children to get married sooner! Maybe not. Okay. Definitely not. But I am loving this season of our lives. In June we got to celebrate Agnes’ first birthday. Two weekends ago, we celebrated Evelyn’s second. So. Much. Fun. Doc loves his girls!
Thirty-four years ago, on a warm July night, Melanie and I met at the altar of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Enterprise, Alabama to celebrate our marriage. In spite of the shenanigans of our niece and nephew, we promised to love each other until parted by death. Then Melanie did something truly amazing. She sang to me the song of Ruth. I could barely speak. She sang.
With that beautiful voice of hers she promised to follow me wherever the Lord led. “Wither thou goest, I will go,” she declared. She had no idea. You see, Melanie did not marry a preacher. She married an educator. I was a college administrator and an adjunct professor. She had no idea what she was promising. Neither did I. But God did. God called me to ministry in February of 1987. And Melanie has been with me every step of the way. I thank God for her! I celebrate her!
Celebrate a Summer of Ministry:
- Transitional Pastor– In a previous ministry update, I stated that I had only missed five Sundays preaching since this journey started late last year. Most of those Sundays have been with the Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Choctaw County, Mississippi. In June they asked me to be their interim pastor, a role that I started this past Sunday. Join me in praying for the Holy Spirit to bring revival and revitalization to this precious church.
- The Alabama Baptist– During the month of July I had the privilege of talking about church revitalization with Jennifer Rash and Debbie Campbell on the TAB News radio program. The following week the paper ran an article highlighting our ministry with church revitalization. I am thankful for the increased exposure and have already gained a potential client as a result. Additionally, I have agreed to write a series of church revitalization articles for the paper.
- Church Revitalization Roundtable– I appreciate Tommy Strickland and Ridgeview Baptist Church in Talladega for hosting the first of these conversations about church revitalization and other issues facing the local church. I love spending time with and hearing from local church pastors, especially those who are in the trenches of church revitalization. They are my heroes. My goal is to have one of these gatherings a month in various locations. If you would like to host a Church Revitalization Roundtable, let me know.
- Writing– I continue to be humbled by your response to the articles I am writing. Thank you for reading, commenting, liking and sharing on social media. Because of your help, readership continues to grow. I was especially encouraged that the article, First Impressions Matter, was used by the leadership of Pinelake Church as a part of their ongoing efforts to provide excellence in guest services.
- Facebook Live – This is actually a funny story. I have considered doing a podcast. I may still. But one day I accidentally initiated a Facebook Live event while leaving the grocery store. I don’t know how it happened, but viewers got an inside look at my pants pocket. They also got to hear a rhythmic “swish, swish, swish” as I walked to the car. Someone said it sounded like a washing machine. Don’t go looking for this video. I deleted it. Anyway, one of my cousins encouraged me to do intentional rather than accidental Facebook Live events. I have done two and plan to do them consistently on Saturday mornings around 8:00. The good thing about Facebook Live is that the videos remain available on my Facebook page (except for the pants pocket video).
On a personal note, I took the month of July off from preaching so that Melanie and I could visit churches in the Starkville area. Our church membership will likely remain at Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, but we wanted to find a church home away from home that was a little closer to home. We have landed at Pinelake Church in Starkville. I am celebrating that they have an 8:00 AM worship service so that Melanie and I can worship together before I head off to love and lead the sweet folks at Mt. Pisgah.
Like the Apostle Paul I have heard and responded to a Macedonian Call to “Come over to struggling churches and help us.” As I have written before, this time last year I could not have imagined God would have led me to the ministry of church revitalization. I am enjoying this season of ministry. And like Paul, I am thankful for those of you who have come alongside us as prayer and financial partners (Phil.1:3-5; 4:15). I literally could not do this without you!
Here are my partnership goals for the next two months:
- To establish an accountability structure that will include a Ministry Advisory Board and a Financial Advisory Board.
- To raise support in order to continue the ministry. Many of the churches who need help the most can least afford to pay for a certified consultant. I don’t want money to be the one factor that prohibits a church from getting the help they need. In order to have reasonable rates, I must raise support.
- I am looking for ten individual financial partners who will invest Great Commission resources to help me help struggling churches.
- I am looking for five healthy churches who will invest Great Commission resources and partner with me to bring revival and revitalization to unhealthy churches.
For information how you can financially support our ministry, please visit the Give section of my website or message me. I appreciate your prayers as well as your consideration as we celebrate what God is doing!