Pastoring a Church
As you may be aware, Katrina and I were voted in as senior pastor at Connect Church on June 12, 2022. I wanted to share with you how this came about:
We first visited Connect Church a few months ago with no intention of becoming the senior pastor. My family and I were looking for a local Assemblies of God Church to attend (since I am an Assemblies of God credentialed minister) and had been told of this small church in Lake City, FL. Upon our arrival we were greeted by at least a half dozen teenagers holding signs that read ‘Welcome!,’ ‘We’re glad you’re here!,’ and, ‘Free Coffee and Donuts!” I was very impressed that so many teenagers were a part of the welcoming committee. My kids were excited about the free donuts. The teenagers greeted us, shook our hands, and were very friendly. I must say that it was like no other greeting I had ever experienced at a church. I was impressed. I would soon realize that the teenagers did more than just greeting. They helped organize and run special events, teach the children, sing in the worship team, clean the building, and more. The previous senior pastor had left the church after a moral failure. Many of the adults left as a result. However, the youth group, under the leadership of Youth Pastor Samuel Jeter, kept going strong. And since few adults remained at the church, both the youth pastor and the youth stepped up to keep the church going. It was a sight to behold, and I often heard comments from leadership within our denomination who were amazed that the church was able to keep going. Indeed, there would be no Connect Church if it hadn’t been for the youth, the youth pastor, and the few faithful adult leaders that remained.
As we attended services week by week, I began to ponder and pray about the idea of becoming a senior pastor. Although the church was getting by, it wasn’t growing, especially among the adults. The youth pastor was doing a tremendous job, but he was stretched out, preaching three times a week besides all his other duties. I wrestled back and forth with the idea of being pastor because I always felt the calling of an evangelist. I didn’t want to step into a role that I was not graced to perform. But I also couldn’t help but see this need. Perhaps I could be a blessing to this church as a pastor? Would the Lord want me to do that?
During the time I was contemplating this, our church held a meeting discussing what they desired in a senior pastor. When asked what they wanted in a pastor, these comments came forth: “A middle aged man, married, with children, whose wife is ministry-minded; someone with experience; someone who is evangelistic but can also teach..etc” I can’t remember all of the traits mentioned, but while this was happening my oldest daughter turned to me and said, “They’re describing you, daddy.” I couldn’t help but think the same thing, and all this while I had been secretly praying about the idea.
I still wasn’t convinced that it was the right thing for me to do. I had been pursuing an appointment as a U.S. Missionary with the Assemblies of God. I thought that this was the right direction for me, but I kept hitting a dead end. I was only one step away from becoming a U.S. Missionary, but that one step just wouldn’t come. During this time I was contacted by a senior leader in our denomination who asked me to meet him for lunch. (He specializes in helping ministers find their place and was asked by the U.S. Missions department to talk with me since I was struggling to complete that last step). I shared my heart with this man, including my thoughts of becoming a senior pastor, and my concern about operating outside of my gifting. After a long lunch and conversation, he said to me, “Hal, I really think that pastoring this church is the right thing for you to do. I also have the call of an evangelist, but I successfully pastored a church for many years. If I were you, I would call the board right away. I suspect they will schedule a vote as soon as they can.” I looked to my wife, who was there with us, and asked, “What do you think?” She said, “I’ve been thinking the same thing.”
I sent the board my resume and, just like the man said, I was up for a vote two weeks later. I was voted in and began immediately as senior pastor.
Please pray for me as my wife and I begin this new journey. I believe the Lord has His hand upon this church and I am believing for great things to come. I know the path forward will not be without difficulty, so please pray that God will give us the wisdom that we need to lead His people. Please also pray that the Lord would bring new families to the church, and that all the church’s needs would be provided for.
Thank you for journeying with us as we walk by faith down this new and exciting path. I’ll keep you updated along the way.
One thought on “June Newsletter 2022”
God bless you and your family in this new position! I will be praying that God will continue to use you according to His plans.