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  • Writer's pictureSeth King

Faithfulness. Just Faithfulness.




Many of you have been introduced to my pastor and friend, Blake. However, there is a new friend I'd like you to meet. His name is TC. He is arguably one of the most talented men I have ever been around in my life. In his humility, he will not give a lot of detail about his past accomplishments. All you need to know is this- he graduated in the top of his class from a very prestigious college and had every opportunity to "make it big" in the world of design. He is a natural artist. He is more than that to me. TC was on the student ministry search team that brought me to FBCD. He was my wife's middle school minister in Montgomery. That's right, he left the opportunities he had behind and followed God as he answered a call to ministry! He has been a constant source of encouragement for me throughout my ministry in Decatur and still to this days serves in that role. He and his wife are always welcoming when we drop by their house for late night conversations to discuss life's struggles and the future of... everything. Needless to say, he is one of a kind. TC currently serves in a high capacity role at Phil Waldrep Ministries, a ministry that hosts many of the nation's largest Christian conferences as well of pastoral care retreats for pastors in New England. This is actually where our story begins...


This past week, Phil Waldrep Ministries held their yearly conference to encourage pastors in New England. Blake was invited to be an encourager: one who simply comes to invest and build relationships with the pastors that attend. You probably don't know this, so let me enlighten you to the reality of church planting and pastoring in the North East. These pastors are amazing. The ground is hard in New England. Most of the pastors are shepherding congregations of less than 100, more likely under 40. These are very rural churches that lack in vast community. Funding and support is difficult for the newer plants. Particularly in Vermont, where we spent time this week, pastors are leading churches in villages that only have between 10,000-30,000 residents. It is typical to drive through a village and only see a handful of people at a time.


FBC Decatur is currently beginning the process of supporting and establishing partnerships with a few of these pastors. We believe in the rural work that is taking place there. In our humility, we would love to begin meeting particular needs and supporting them in their efforts. Knowing this is now a part of my new role as the Evangelism and Outreach Pastor, I boarded a plane early Wednesday morning to meet the guys after their conference so we could connect with these pastors and learn more about ministry life in New England.


In order to keep this blog short for your sake, I wanted to list a few things I have learned while sitting under the story telling and personal testimonies of these church planters...


  1. The Church is made up of the people. Period.

  2. There are faithful men and women serving in rural areas of our nation who are genuinely doing good and effective work for the gospel.

  3. Encouragement is a powerful ministry, how can this be your regular ministry? We all need it!

  4. Major cities have more people and more resources, but the needs are the same as they are in rural America- people need Jesus. We are resourced to meet that need through the power of the Holy Spirit.

  5. Missions done well are missions that "help the health" of the church.

  6. It doesn't matter where you are from, where you belong, or who you are- Christ is the commonality that builds bridges between believers.

While we were in New England, we took a day to tour Boston. During the afternoon, we met up with David, a pastor in Cambridge ministering to students at Harvard, Cambridge, and MIT. David, and his associate pastor, took us to lunch at a really neat restaurant before giving us a tour of Harvard. It was unreal! (Peep the slideshow below for pictures. The history of Harvard might shock you.)


Originally built and established in 1836, Harvard was founded by the puritans to train up future pastors for future churches. There is a statement on the gate wall (now covered by a tree) that is written in old English stating so. One of the pictures is of the seal of Harvard. If you notice, the book on the bottom is faced down or turned around. That book represented the knowledge of the divine. When the school was established, the book on the seal was purposely faced down, unlike the two on the top, to show that the knowledge of the divine could never be comprehended. In the last 50+ years, the school has changed the seal and flipped that book around making it aligned with its liberal and humanistic agenda. It is a perfect representation of what happens when vision is lost.


The library was insane! It is the second largest library in the states, next to the Library of Congress. The donor was the mother of a man who died on the Titanic. She donated his library to it as well as the funds to build it. There were multiple stipulations to this offer- they were to never tear a brick down once it was built. The other stipulation was that every student had to pass a swim test to enter Harvard. This was in response to the death of her son aboard the Titanic. They have stuck to one of those to this day!


The statue we are standing by is called "The Statue of Three Lies." The lies are as follows...

  1. John Harvard's name wasn't actually John Harvard.

  2. The date is actually 1836 not 1838.

  3. The statue isn't John Harvard. They found an attractive looking dude and used him since John Harvard had no record of photos and he had already passed when the statue was being made!

Overall- it was a really cool place to visit. The ministry Antioch is doing there under David's leadership is amazing. They are truly raising up future church leaders to reach the lost in Cambridge!



Is there such thing as traveling to a new place and not exploring the fisheries? No! Of course, while in Vermont, I had to snag a trout. After all, we stayed in Manchester, the home of Charles Orvis himself. The flagship store for Orvis is there too! Thanks to Trico Unlimited, we were able to hit the Battenkill to chase some native brown and brook trout. Brew, our guide, was the most talented guide I had ever been around. With his Orvis endorsed gig, he knew exactly what he was doing. The conditions weren't great. At the end of the day, we all hooked up on a fish and had a heck of a time hunting them. I caught my first wild brook on a dry fly- such a bucket list moment!



This was an absolutely beautiful experience. We met our Brew at Norman Rockwell's house and studio to gather our gear and help TC out. (This was TC's first time!) Who knew that our meeting place was going to be a famous artist's residence from The Saturday Evening Post! The owner gave us a little personal tour of the studio and house. So cool.



Manchester was beautiful. I took some pictures of where we stayed. The Equinox Resort is stunning. The church across the street was phenomenal. We even got to go up to what used to be Mr. Orvis' private pond where he would test out his new gear and flies! We were right below Mt. Equinox in the middle of the Green Mountains where many key moments of the Civil War took place. It was crazy to be in the middle of history like that. Manchester slowly became one of the coolest towns I had ever traveled to. By the way, go look up the story of the green mountain boys. It is worth your time!



Alright, you've made it this far and you're probably wondering... "When they were in Boston, did they do the freedom trail and see a game at Fenway?"


DUH.



It was truly another remarkable trip. I was reminded of how blessed I am to be a pastor at a church like FBC Decatur. I think back and am reminded of how gracious God has been to gift me with friends like Blake and TC. His creation is beautiful and it is worth every penny to see it. Lastly, it edified my soul to be encouraged by the stories shared by church planters in the New England region.


God is working in the quiet.


Not every motion is a movement.


Let's just be faithful like TC and answer the call.


Oh, and make disciples as we go.


Grace and peace!

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