“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry” I Timothy 1:12
Life is a journey, learn on the way! This has been part of my signature for the blogs I have written for the church. Jen and I just celebrated 25 years of serving as Senior Pastor. Looking back on our journey, we can honestly say that we continue to learn on the way!
Journey Journal notes: At the age of 6, I became a follower of Jesus. When I was 18, I began leading the youth at my home church. I surrendered to preach at the age of 20 and began serving on my father’s staff while finishing my degree at Carson-Newman University. In 1990, I met Jennifer Leah Beard and was given the privilege to lead her to Jesus. Two months later we began to date and two years later we were married. I became Senior Pastor at New Victory Baptist Church in March 1992 at the age of 25. Jen graduated high school May 30, 1992. We were married June 6, 1992 and Jen became a pastor’s wife at the age of 18.
Our 4 1/2 years at New Victory was such a valuable time for us. We learned so much from those wonderful folks. They were so patient and kind with a young couple learning on the job. The Lord blessed our family during our time there, adding Jared and Jacob to our journey.
The journey then took us to Hunt Springs Baptist Church in Sanford, North Carolina. I wanted to continue my education by pursuing a graduate degree (MDiv) so I enrolled at Southeastern Seminary. Our time here was short but so valuable in our process of learning. The folks here were so loving and kind. The Lord was so gracious and blessed our time serving there, but after a year, we were so homesick that we moved back to Tennessee.
Our journey then led us back to our home church, Cherry Grove Baptist Church. It was our privilege to serve with my father again, this time as Co-Pastor. The 17 months we served together will always be special to us. The folks at our home church were so gracious to us and that will always be home for us. I learned more from my father than I will ever learn in a classroom. My father is my hero, and I am so thankful the Lord allowed this stop on our journey.
The journey then took us back to North Carolina, this time FBC Stanleyville in Winston-Salem. After 17 months of being loved by our family and home church, we then were ready to move away. Our 7 years serving at Stanleyville were such wonderful years. The folks there loved us and were so willing to serve with us and follow our leadership. The Lord was so gracious during our time there, both our boys became followers of Jesus there and I had the privilege to baptize both of them. I finished my graduate school (MDiv) and the Lord grew His church. Like the other stops on our journey, we learned so much.
Our journey then led us back once again to Tennessee. How we ended up at Ridgeview is a great part of our journey. Jen and I had began to pray about moving back home after my father had his by-pass surgery. We had not mentioned our desire to move home to anyone. On one particular Sunday morning, I happened to check my email and there was an email from someone named Dan Carter, from somewhere called Church Hill, TN. We had not sent out any resumes or even mentioned to anyone that we were open to moving home. Dan had gotten my name from someone at the Eastman who knew my dad and happened to mention that dad had a son who was pastor, and he tracked us down. As a result the Lord called us to serve at Ridgeview, March 5, 2006. What a great 11 years it has been serving with each of you. We have learned so much during our time here. Ridgeview is such a wonderful place to serve. You have been so kind and willing to follow my leadership. You have loved my family and have been so supportive. We are thankful for how the Lord continues to bless, He is so gracious.
There are four things that I want to share in conclusion that I have learned in my 25 years. #1-God is faithful! #2-I have an amazing and awesome wife and family! #3-Serving His Church is a great journey! #4-I am still learning!
Life is a journey, learn on the way!
Till next time, stay in the Scripture!