It is now official! On August 10, I accepted the position of Senior Pastor at the Chetwynd Gospel Tabernacle with a 100 percent confidence vote from the congregation.
My wife and I have been assisting the church for the past year and when my employment at Walter Energy was put on hold in April of this year, I was approached by the Church Board to give some consideration to the position of Senior Pastor. Yes, I did give it a lot of consideration, much prayer and thought and today I am happy to be back and involved with the greatest conviction of my life—being with and helping people. We have already been inundated with many questions and concerns from our friends and people in general. In this article I will try and answer some of the questions.
The first big question is whether or not we are leaving Tumbler Ridge. After calling Tumbler Ridge our home for more than twenty-four years, the answer is absolutely no. We have a lovely house and a beautiful home right here in this beautiful community. This is where we will retire and stay as long as our health and strength will allow us.
The logistics of accommodations are being worked on as I write. The church has provided a house for us in Chetwynd and this will afford us the luxury of commuting. We will spend 8–10 days in Chetwynd and then come back “home” for a few days to rest and relax—of course while we are in Chetwynd our house there will be our “home”. While this is a partnered ministry, I will be spending more time in Chetwynd than will my wife.
The second big question is the longevity of our stay. Do we have a time frame for Chetwynd? The short answer is no. My wife and I will give of ourselves to the church and the people of Chetwynd as long as our health is in good condition and our leadership is still required.
Being a Pastor is a very demanding calling. When you walk into a congregation the people’s needs, pain, frustrations, dreams and visions become yours. You come alongside and with some knowledge, a whole lot of wisdom and with complete dependency on God the Pastor will listen, offer some suggestions but always guide the parishioner in love so that accomplishments and dreams can be realized. My spirit, my body and God’s leadings will tell me when my ministry is completed in Chetwynd.
A third question being asked and will continue to be asked is why Chetwynd and not Tumbler Ridge. I need to answer this question carefully but clearly. I spent more than seven years as Senior Pastor of New Life Assembly, the longest stay of any Pastor at that church, and it was some of the best years of my life. I baptized children, married young couples, buried the deceased, counseled the troubled and made myself available to the community.
One of the many accomplishments I am most proud of was the establishing of a Community Food Bank that helped families of all walks of life regardless of circumstances. If a family was in need then provisions were made to bring temporary relief until the emergency had passed. It is my understanding that the Community Food Bank is still in operation and will continue to play an important role in meeting the needs of people here in town.
After seven years at New Life Assembly the plight of religious politics put me in a situation where I had to take a sabbatical from the church and went back to the mining industry. This was a very difficult time in my life and that of my family. Having to walk away from the greatest conviction of your life will either cause a person to sink into the ashes of despair and despondency or it becomes a motivational jolt that will catapult you into even greater areas of ministry or whatever it is you find yourself doing.
I am happy to report that my Pastoral Ministry did not finish with the sabbatical from New Life Assembly. I continued to minister to people almost on a daily basis and the results of that ministry is incalculable from a human perspective. I still have a lot of friends at New Life Assembly and I will always appreciate the seven wonderful years of passionate pastoring.
While New Life Assembly continues to move forward, Chetwynd needed some seasoned leadership, direction and an urgency to become re-established in the community with the message that the Church can be a very powerful and positive entity as we make our presence known in the general population. It is with a sense of humility that I accept the challenge of leadership and help dreams and visions come to fruition. My ministry as a Pastor will still be ongoing in town while a broader perspective will be realized in Chetwynd.
Will I continue Reflections? Yes! Absolutely! As long as the Tumbler Ridge News will publish them then I will continue to write. I really appreciate your positive responses from the simple and sometimes funny stories that I write about. Thank you for your continual interest and thank you to the editor for carrying my stories.
Another question asked recently was whether or not I had any interest in local politics. I have always been interested in and followed municipal, provincial and federal politics. When my ministry is finished in Chetwynd I will definitely be interested in not just following municipal politics but will possibly get involved in running for the local council. Of course my health will be a big determining factor.
While following my heart I ask myself the question if it’s a matter of moving forward or moving onward. I am definitely moving forward in the sense that I am still having dreams come to fruition. Nothing brings me more pleasure than sitting down with an individual and coaching them through difficult situations or helping them make decisions as they try to pick up pieces of a broken life.
Setting a local church in order and establishing parameters of governance is always a challenge and an exciting process. Establishing your credibility with a church congregation or within the community is nothing short of sheer pleasure. I will continue to move forward as I hone my skills to deal with any and all situations that I will face as a Senior Pastor. I will continue to pray for all Pastors in Tumbler Ridge and the various churches of which they are shepherds.
I encourage the people of Tumbler Ridge to support the local churches in every capacity possible because contrary to the thinking of some, churches can positively impact our society because our message is that of the Cross and the Resurrected Christ. Until next time keep looking up and remember that the sun is always shining.