|LITTLE IS MUCH WHEN GOD IS IN IT / GAITHER VOCAL GROUP
by Chaplain Doyle, email@example.com
A PASTOR FRIEND called in excitement. "Doyle, we had 26 in church this morning. After all we have been through, we are praising God for this."
These days, most Pastors can relate to that. Another Pastor friend has been preaching to 80 but only five of them are present in the Sanctuary which seats 250. The rest are on FB Live. This week, one of his faithful five died.
The Lord once impressed upon me to resign from a church running over 400 at times and Pastor one that had declined to eight. I was serving as Youth and Christian Education Director. The Pastor, also District Overseer, DO, asked us to stay. He would help us have a "Very good church on the District" if we would stay on his staff longer. That was wonderful. It is easy to love somebody who enjoys your work.
However, "The feeling" would not leave. God was leading me to Pastor a church of eight. Yikes! The eight worshiped in a tiny cinder-block building painted dark green (Inside too). The four-room tiny parsonage was on cinder-block stilts so when the swamp backed up, it would not get in the house.
The DO, had interviewed numerous ministers who had told him they were open to Pastor a church. Most said they wanted to wait until "Something better" became available. Who could blame them? But that did not provide a Pastor for the little church. If no Pastor would go there, it was within weeks of being closed.
JOURNEY FROM RINCON, GA
Because it was weak and unknown, closing it would not have raised a breeze of complaint. Few would miss it. The DO had worked diligently for weeks trying to find a Pastor. At lunch with him one day, I said, "Linda and I have been praying about it. We will go pastor Rincon."
His mouth dropped open as he literally dropped his fork.
"Are you serious?," he exclaimed.
"We are," I replied. As I shared what God had been speaking to us, tears came into his eyes. He said, "I wish so much you could stay with us, but...his voice crackling with emotion, He said, "When God speaks, we must do what He says. I've been there and know how that feels."
THOUGH PHILIPPINES 2:5-8 says the Lord Jesus, "Made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant," obviously the greatest demotion of all times, surely a demotion could not be God's Will for me. We preachers are supposed to be upwardly mobile in our denomination and "Career."
With me being a mighty man of faith and power for the hour, I thought it was the Devil trying to destroy "My Ministry." When I told Linda, she said, "Doyle, if this is God and not just your being restless, we must do what God says." What an incredible blessing it is to have a woman like that in your life and by your side.
OUR LEAP OF FAITH into what I thought was Pastoral oblivion, was like Bungee-Jumping without knowing how long the rubber bands were. We survived and slept well knowing we were doing what God said. At least, since the rubber bands are tied to your ankles when you jump, falling on your face or landing on your head would put you out of your misery quickly. Well, you can see I continued to have attitude struggles at times.
COMPARING THE NUMBERS IS IRRELEVANT
However, when "Yes" was the only correct answer, I knew it was absolutely God's Will. Comparing the numbers and facilities where we were with where we were going was fruitless. Oh yes, I did plenty of that, but you see, no matter what the numbers are, it is irrelevant if God has said "Go."
"ANYWHERE" COULD BE ANYWHERE
All my youth I had promised God time-after-time that i would go "Anywhere" He said. It seems a lot of people do not keep that promise and God is looking for those who will. So, to have any integrity with Him, it was a promise that had to be kept.
"FOR THE EYES of the Lord search throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him" (2 Chronicles 16:9). We were going to need His strength and He did not withhold it.
Months passed. Linda worked as a nurse and I was a Reporter for an area newspaper. Yep, I was hoeing in tall cotton making $50.00 a week. The total church income the first month was $333 dollars including Linda's and my Tithes.
One Sunday we had 35 in Church. It was the record attendance in the 15-year history of that church. The previous high had been 27 several years before on an Easter Sunday when a wonderful and faithful Woman of God, Sister Shepherd was the Pastor.
THIRTY-FIVE!!! We rejoiced and cheered, probably acted a little crazy in Jesus too, like we had won the Super Bowl. But from that point on the little church began to come together and grow too. After a year, we moved on to work at Lee University, but the church is STILL OPEN and has run as many as 400.
Because of the long-term faithful service and guidance of Pastor Wayne Merritt, there is a lovely large facility there now on the main highway. Many have been blessed. Others are in heaven because they came to know our precious Lord Jesus as their personal Savior under Brother and Sister Merritt's ministry.
Had Linda and I not obeyed God, the church possibly would have been closed. Rincon, Georgia maybe would have missed the powerful and loving ministry of Brother and Sister Merritt.
"Lord Jesus, help us all at this difficult hour to do, or continue to do, Your precious Will."
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1/24/22 3:42 am