I had lost my hero, my adviser, my example. That next Christmas was hard. The biggest thing about the celebration of Christmas for me had always been family, and now I was an orphan.
At the same time a group of us in our church had decided that things needed to change or we could no longer continue there. A few months before this, we had gone to two Sunday morning worship services. One was a traditional service and the other was a more contemporary service. The church was losing people and it was thought that if we provided opportunity for people to worship as they preferred, it would strengthen and grow the church. The contemporary service quickly became just like the traditional service, only with cooler music.
Our group of "revolutionaries" believed that we needed to approach "church" from a fresh angle. We agreed that the church needed to reach into the community around us. We began to meet weekly to set out a course of action and to plan the weekly gatherings. At first, things were moving in a direction that really encouraged me. I was an elder, and had agreed to become an elder in order to try and influence the church in a direction that was more "emerging". Someone accused us trying to break away and start a new church. I said that I had no interest in planting a new church. (Famous last words)
As time went on I realized that the only way we were going to do what we believed God wanted us to do was to actually begin a new church under the auspices of the original church, with our own leadership. Unfortunately, there were a number of people in leadership, as well as other influential members, who wanted to have a say in what we were doing. We were accused of dividing the church and conditions were put on what we were doing. The conditions were probably good but they essentially put brakes on our efforts. As time went on, the enthusiasm for "doing church" differently waned and the worship service reverted to same old same old with cooler music. At the same time, there were positive signs, so I still planned to stay around and minister where I could.
Toward the end of the summer, I heard about a possible church plant here in Rock Hill. I was immediately intrigued. Some of you know Frank Hamrick. I contacted him and as we talked and got to know each other a little bit, God began to nudge me in the direction of helping in the plant. As time went on and I began to read and study, I became increasingly convinced of the need for a new church in Rock Hill. God continued to work on me, and by the end of December I decided to leave the current church and help Frank.
So now, I'm about to set off on another leg of my journey. Where this one will lead only God knows. If there's on thing I've learned through the years it's that no matter how much the road twists and turns, and no matter how dark things get, my Father is with me and is leading me exactly where he wants me to go. That makes the trip an adventure rather than a chore.
Should be fun.
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