It’s been a few months since this column has graced the pages of the Linn County Leader, and many have been wondering, “What’s the deal?” or “Did you quit writing?”
To which I can only answer, “No deal, really,” and “No, I didn’t quit writing at all…just been rather busy.”
You see, these past three months have been filled with changes galore, and all of them deal with the ministry that God has graced us with here in the local area. As most of you are aware of by now, I accepted the position of full-time pastor at CSBC (Caldwell Street Baptist Church) in Brookfield after resigning as a local pastor of the Missouri United Methodist Conference.
And no, contrary to the rumors and innuendo that so often accompanies small town living, I was not forced out or surrendered my pastoral license involuntarily, nor did another church steal me away. I have heard all of these falsehoods, and it saddens me. Gossip is idle and hurtful talk, and has no place among Christians. The reasons for my departure from the UMC are of a personal nature, and have to deal with both philosophical and moralistic issues. I will always look back on my time as an LLP in the UMC with fondness, and made many friends among clergy and parishioners during the past three years. Most of all, I thank the United Methodist Conference for giving me a start in the ministry to which I have been called.
However, as Ecclesiastes says, “to everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” I truly believe that this is a new ministerial season in our lives, and I feel a renewed purpose and sense of vitality in spreading the Good News throughout our area.
My calling to this new ministry at Caldwell has been a blessing beyond belief, and the circumstances of how God moved to place me there are testimonials of His amazing power at work. Needless to say, they are way too numerous to mention in this short column; I can only sum it up by saying, “Ask me!” From the pastoral search committee meeting to discuss it, to the resume submittal, to the prayers that were lifted up from everywhere….well, it is a true miracle how the process played out!
I have also heard some people say, “Well, the church should’ve waited longer to find a pastor!” And to that I say, “Why? If you can really see God working throughout it all, then why wait?” Sometimes we look right past the will of our Lord and wait to see what WE want to see instead of what He is showing us right in front of our faces.
When we stepped through the doors of Caldwell, we were confronted with a dying fellowship that needed encouragement, edification, and growth; a body of believers that were seeking a vision for their future in the Lord and who were willing to do His work in reaching the least, the last, and the lost; a people who needed God’s love.
Prayerfully, we are meeting those needs as best as we can. In just over a month, we have grown from a core group of 5 people to an average of 25 every Sunday morning; new members are coming in, professions of faith are being given, and baptisms are on the schedule! God is good! And as we continue to live our mission of “Growing, Serving, Reaching,” we strive to make a difference here in Brookfield; this church was started as an outreach from Park Baptist over 40 years ago to help others…and we have the hope and faith that it will continue to do just that for many more years.
So, please pray for CSBC, and for yet another great adventure in the Lord for this servant!
Blessings to you and yours!
Richard is a monthly columnist for the Linn County Leader, and pastor of CSBC (Caldwell Street Baptist Church) in Brookfield. He can be reached at email@example.com or via his online blog at https://sliceofhome.wordpress.com.