Though I initially was against it, we visited First Presbyterian Church of Opelika in the fall of 2008...and we continued to attend every week, joining within a few months. The Gospel was being preached in such a lucid, honest way--I was hooked. And I've grown sooooo much in my faith and Gospel application and knowledge since stepping foot behind those blue doors. We have been at this church for six years; there have been a TON of changes there in these years, and we have just rolled with the punches, adjusted to the discomfort caused by a growing church body. Because in the scheme of things, the discomfort is a small price to pay for the JOY of seeing God work in such BIG ways.
And change is upon us again, bigger than anything that has happened heretofore. My heart aches from the turmoil caused by the conflicting emotions of sadness and excitement. Our pastor and his family are leaving, walking in faith, accepting a calling to a different church in a different state. Our worship director and his family are leaving, accepting a calling to a different church in a different state. Separately. And they are leaving soon. Too soon. This causes deep, deep sadness.
But as the fastest growing church in the denomination, the ground is fertile. I'm so excited to see what God has in store for His church body here in this small town in Alabama. Who has He been preparing for us as senior pastor? Will he (presumably?) have a family? Young like his predecessor? Or seasoned? Most importantly, will he preach the Gospel unashamedly? Will he live transparently and humbly? Will the church continue to grow? Will we be able to build our new education building? Will we pay off our existing loan (I HATE DEBT!!) on the sanctuary in the original time frame (or sooner)? Will he be willing to preach a children's message during the early service even if there are only two kids (mine, usually) there...like the old times when the church was small? Will he know and use the word "narthex" as seamlessly as he uses other GRE vocabulary words? ;) Will our new worship director read music? Start a choir? Strike the same balance between contemporary and traditional, knowing that to see Ms. Joanne sing the timeless hymns from memory is one of the most moving forms of worship I've experienced??
I have such HOPE in my heart as I write this. The Lord will not forsake his people. I've read that. And may or may not have googled it to find the reference...in the Psalms (several times) and 1 Samuel. I BELIEVE IT.
I also have such hope and joy for the families that are leaving us, leaving what is comfortable to follow a call of ministry, to walk in faith. God will be faithful in their lives, too. He's doing such BIG things. Just to think, while they have been faithfully serving here at our church, there has been the "meanwhile" happening as God has worked in the background readying their paths. Amazing. Utterly, utterly amazing.
Great is Thy faithfulness, indeed!