About two months ago, the Lord closed a door to a Tennessee church where we thought we knew we were supposed to be. It was a hard blow to me personally and I began to think that I was going to be working at Lowe’s in the evening for the rest of my life. Irrational, obviously. But I wasn’t too concerned with being rational at the moment.
“Coincidentally,” about an hour earlier, I had just finished an initial Skype interview with the search committee of another church in another state. I had talked to this church’s pastor previously, and thought he and I hit it off well. Though I was certain we were going to the TN church, I decided to at least talk to them. Our discussion was great and it was obvious to me that they were hungry for solid leadership in the music and creative arts ministry (they’d been burned). So, when I was having a pity party later on, I naturally gave this church a little more thought than before.
The pastor and I talked more and more, and each time was better than the last. He had a great sense of humor and was clearly leading his church well. Because I wasn’t serving in a church vocationally at the time, the committee couldn’t come see me lead, which was a bit of a hold-up. I had sent them videos of LEBC services and made a video just for them of me at the piano. Eventually, we decided that I would come down and lead a short, intimate worship session with the committee, staff, and a small ensemble of musicians. This is where the patience rubber hit the road. Remember, my wife was 8-9 months pregnant.
The first scheduled dates fell through because Becca had dilated 2 cm. Considering Rea came early, we didn’t want to take our chances being that far away from our hospital. So then they were going to come see us in our home and Becca and I would lead a session in our music room. Due to too many scheduling conflicts, that also fell through. We finally settled on the fact that nothing further could happen until Becca had this baby. In faith, I pitched some dates in late June for that initial worship session there. They agreed, and we made plans. Becca had that baby on the 24th and I left on the 26th (if you follow me on Instagram, you may have found out where this church is now). The two days I spent there were just fantastic. I met some wonderful people (including the pastor!) and almost immediately fell in love with the town.
Just to confirm that God was at work here, the worship session is where Satan began attacking. The power went out due a thunderstorm TWICE during our singing, but it did not stop us or deter us. I had a great time with the musicians and we all enjoyed cheesecake and coffee after it was over. I began the journey back home with a view-of-a-call Sunday planned a few weeks later.
Trying to be responsible, we began preparing our house for real estate. A few repairs here, some paint there…”preparing for rain” as we heard in Facing the Giants. We filled out paperwork and had our house on the market the day before we left. Again, a faith move…
We left on Friday morning knowing we had two showings scheduled for the day. We arrived (exhausted) about 8:30 on Friday, July 13th with an offer on the house. We decided to pray about it and sleep on it, knowing there could be other offers. The next day was full of activities including a tour of the town, deacons meeting, grip ‘n grin reception, Q & A session, and rehearsal with the choir, band, and orchestra. By the time we had supper at Waffle House at 9:30, we had sold the house. Mustard seed faith, right?
One part I left out was how Satan had continued his attacks on us since my initial visit. Car trouble with both cars, communication issues, and commitment we’re just a few of the ways the devil was trying to drive a wedge into God’s workmanship. Even on Saturday night, the alarm company called us in the middle of the night about a potential break-in at our house after we had accepted the offer. That kept us up for almost two hours doing more praying and talking. Thankfully, we are pretty sure it was a mistake in alarm setting by realtors.
Three hours after that scary call, we were up and at ’em ready to lead a worship service. Black coffee was my friend that morning. Another meeting and an emotional worship service later, I was confirmed to be the Pastor of Music & Creative Arts of the First Baptist Church in Gray, Georgia. Although that was the pinnacle of the weekend, we still had a luncheon to attend and two potential homes to look at. We finally collapsed in bed late that night around 11:30, overwhelmed and joyful.
So, here we are, on our way to the beach with an intense three weeks ahead of us. But no matter how hard Satan had attacked, we are walking away from this weekend with the following blessings:
I must be sure to thank our families for supporting us throughout this whole process. They kept us grounded and made sure we were making sound decisions. Full-time ministry was something they knew I had desired for a long time, and they stood by us. We will certainly miss them a lot.
This week was a battle of joy and heartache. After the dust settled, joy won soundly. We serve a mighty big God and we’re grateful He lets us take part in His handiwork.
- A full-time ministry position, an answered prayer that’s been a long time coming
- A house under contract with potential for a profit
- A home-in-waiting in our new town
- Joyful hearts and curious minds