Posts tagged ‘ladies’

September 17, 2012

10 Years

by pastortimfowler

This weekend my wife and I celebrated our 10th anniversary of being pastor at our church. It is hard to believe that they have put up with us for that long, but I do a great job of keeping the wife in check. The church even went as far as to throw us a surprise party this Saturday. We were blown away.
11 years ago I would have never believed that I would be in Rock Hill SC. I had no intentions of moving and if I did, it would not have been to here. But circumstances and God had other things in mind. Thanks to a friend of a friend who had my resume, I was called by a church to do an interview for their vacant pastor’s position. I never turn down an interview and in the church world I know how to stop a church that I don’t want to go to from considering any further correspondence. In a word, change. Start off by telling them that nothing is off the table when it comes to change. Most churches don’t like that and more importantly, they don’t think that they need it. So I let them hear all about my ideas to change everything I could about the church that they loved and knew so well. Whoda thunk it? That is what they wanted to hear.
So, and remember that this is the condensed and much abbreviated version of what happened, I was hired as pastor, we moved to Rock Hill and the change started. This 50-year-old church began a transition from one that had grown inward to about 30 people to what is now a church of 180 and growing still. It was a traditional church of suits and ties and hymns and committees and now there is a rocking praise band and blue jeans and t-shirts. We have sold that old, traditional building and bought an office complex. We went from having few kids to having more kids than our church can hold in one service, so we are starting our second worship time in a few months. We went from not having any baptisms in 5 years to having 40 already this year. We went from blue haired old ladies to blue haired kids and their moms with piercings and tattoos. We went from a church that was dying to a church that is full of life.
I would like to be able to say that I am responsible for this. I do get to say that God used me in doing this, but only God can do something this awesome. So glory to God! He is the one who made this all possible. But, I want to stop and say thanks to a few others who had an amazing part in this all.
First, my wife. Without her, I would not even want to attempt what happened. She was behind me, in front of me, and beside me the whole way. She is the details to my vision and the warmth to my fire. Her love for the church and the people of the church and for those who have not yet met Jesus is incredible.
To the five people who were in the group that met with me the first time and did not run away. They had the courage to listen not only to me, but to their hearts and to God. The had the guts to bring me to the church that was digging its own grave and helped to breathe life back into it. They are still around and I hope that they are proud of what they did. I know that God is pleased.
To the two guys who have been with me 8 of the 10 years serving as associate pastors. There has never been a paycheck for either of them. They have served though, as if they were getting rich. They have supported my crazy ideas and given my a few to support in return. They have stuck it out when it looked like it was falling apart and held up my arms when I was getting weary.
To the people who have heard God’s call to become His children and then trusted us to train them up. A church is only as good as its people and that makes our church phenomenal! So many people have come to know Jesus and grown to become servants and worked to build the church. They have remembered where they came from and loved on everyone who walked through the doors. They were there to celebrate our tenth anniversary and it was awesome!
So thanks to all who had a part. In ten years the church turned around from one of traditions and rules to one of celebrations and grace. We have gone from rarely seeing a soul saved to one that rarely meets on Sunday without some getting saved. From a church that didn’t look a lot like Jesus, to one that must look a lot like Jesus to the hundreds who have come to know Him over the last ten years.
I can’t wait to see what the next ten years holds. Something tells me it will be even better than these have been and that, is a hard act to follow. My name is Tim and I am the pastor of a church called The Body, A Church for Anybody.

October 3, 2011

Could It Get Better?

by pastortimfowler

Incredible would be the best word I could use to describe this past weekend. Our church had its annual lady’s retreat and about 30 of our ladies spent the weekend in Tybee Island, Ga. From the pictures I saw on Facebook and the short conversations that I had with my wife, they had a great time and I am sure once I hear the details it will only get better.
Of course when I talk about 30 women being away for the weekend, that meant that they are away from our church too. On most Sunday mornings we will have about 140 people attending and that includes an average of about 30 kids also. So if you take 30 people away from our normal Sunday morning it is noticed simply by looking at the crowd size. But we notice it even more because many of these ladies serve in our church in vital areas. Children’s director, teachers, greeters, check in stations for kids, just to name a few. Add to the ladies being away the fact that we had our audio/video guy and his wife out and about 12 other folks who were away, and it was really noticed that people were missing.
I have to say that rarely do we have people who just lay out of church. The folks here have taken an ownership in what God is doing and for whatever weird reasons, they seem to enjoy coming. Mostly because people find God here, but secondly, they have real friends that come here. Not just people we see once a week, but people that we hang out with and have a real relationship with. So I am not the type of pastor who has to guilt people when they are away and usually when they are away it is for a good reason, not just laziness and lack of desire to come. Have I told you lately that I am a very blessed pastor? God has allowed me to serve a bunch of folks who are real and excited about knowing God.
With so many people away this Sunday I was expecting the worst. Although my wife assured me that things were well taken care of, I couldn’t help but be skeptical. All the other people who were gone had also assured me that they had things covered and that nothing would be missed. They were right. Although the people were missed, things went over without a hitch. I was so amazed, and I really shouldn’t be. That is just what kind of church I serve.
I also thought that because so many of the regular folks were out that the crowd would be rather puny, but it wasn’t. Sure those who are here regularly could tell that people were missing, but only because we knew who they were. We had plenty of folks and if those 40 plus people had shown up we would have been near capacity. Boy, listen to me whine.
My sermon this week was on using grace as the foundation to build your Christianity on. Grace is favor given, not earned. God just loves us and when we seek Him, He gives us grace and therefore we have favor in His sight. Being in His good grace is a special thing that anyone can experience, but sadly too many people don’t because they pervert who God is. God is love, not someone waiting to crush you like a bug when you screw up. Sure, if you continue to deny Him and never ask for His favor, He can and probably will prove He is able to squash you like a bug, but that is not His goal. His grace is an awesome thing that allows us a very personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.
Because of God’s grace, six people became God’s children this weekend. It is not uncommon for our church to see 3 or 4 people each week trust God, but this week with a lot of folks gone, God showed us that He never misses hanging out with people who welcome Him. As we were finishing our morning worship time I informed people that we would be filling the horse trough for baptisms next Sunday because there were 2 or 3 people who had asked about it. As the day progress and we came back for the evening Bible study, about 12 more people had contacted me about getting baptized next week. It wouldn’t surprise me if we see 20 people baptized next Sunday.
If you don’t consider yourself a Christian, maybe you find this hard to get excited about. But it is what God gets excited about. He is not excited about money or buildings or how important a person thinks they are. God is excited about people knowing about His great love and sharing it with others. So if you are not a Christian, first let me thank you for reading my blogs. Secondly, if you live in the Rock Hill SC area, come next week and see all these baptisms and meet some people who will be surprisingly a lot like you. Either way, the first visit is free and if you don’t like it you don’t have to come back.
But WOW!!! This was an incredible weekend. I will be so glad to get my wife home and all those ladies who serve all over our church. They should be really stoked for next weekend. Holy Kaw! Next weekend could be better than this one!

August 26, 2011

Just Talk To Me

by pastortimfowler

Copyrighted photo  http://www.flickr.com/photos/ithicuspictures/2852196227/

 

I had the privilege of sitting in on our Thursday night Lady’s Bible study last night. It is one of the perks that comes with being the pastor. The study was on how to have and effective prayer life and the discussions were interesting and thought-provoking. You would be amazed at how much women can talk when they get together.
When I was a new Christian I use to love listening to the old deacons of the church pray. They had the deep voice and spoke like they were from England only with a southern accent. They would say stuff like, Thou art holy and righteous and henceforth we must be cleansed of our unrighteousness and go hither to over yonder, thus saith the Lord for ever and ever Amen, or something like that. It sounded good and for the longest time I was obsessed with reading Shakespeare and the King James Bible so that I could pray like that.
As I read the Bible more and more I got the feeling that I was not getting this prayer thing right. God was talking to me through His word, and if I did not use the KJV I could get some plain English from God, and, I never really understood why God wanted to talk like that to begin with. The guys that Jesus chose to follow Him back then did not talk to Him like He was in a stage production. They just had a conversation with Him. They would talk, He would listen, then respond and so forth, hither to…(LOL). I got to thinking that maybe our prayers that we hear so much in church are not as much talking to God as they were a speech for others to hear.
It was about 15 years ago that I heard this man praying at a conference that I think I started wanting to quit giving speeches and start talking to God. It happened a couple of times before I got it, but he would start praying and it sounded as if he had just quit talking to the audience and started talking to someone else, God. I did not even catch the fact that he was praying until I looked and saw that he had bowed his head. Then I realized that was how I spoke to my wife, with head bowed in reverence, and he must be talking to God. So I started trying to talk and not sound different. It as hard, but something about it felt good.
Later, like about 2 years ago, I learned another really cool thing about prayer from someone else who prayed different from the rest of us, my grandson Nicholas. He would just switch gears and talk to God as if He was right there in the room with us. Once he heard me tell my wife, with my head bowed, that my back hurts and I wished it would stop because the next day I had something to do that hurt backs did not mix well with. Nicholas looked at me and asked if he should pray for me. I said sure, and he did. “Jesus. You heard that Papa’s back is hurting and tomorrow he needs it to feel better, so when he wakes up, please make it feel better. I will be sleeping in Mimi’s bed and he will be on the couch, that way you will know where his back is. Thanks” Then he continues talking to everyone else in the room. I am glad he told God where I would be that night because strangely enough my back felt better the next morning. I have heard him pray about any number of things and it always seems as if he is talking to someone right there with him. Maybe that is because God is always right there with us and not sitting up in heaven waiting for us to sound all holy and old.
For a Christian we are told that God is our Heavenly Father and we have been given the right to call Him Daddy. The only time I ever talked to my dad with Victorian English I think I remember getting whacked and told not to be a smart a–. Most of my conversations with dad were right there, right now and real. I talked perfect southern English, much like I do today, and dad understood and responded like a dad should.
God wants us to pray. Prayer is modeled in the Bible over and over. Most of it is a man of woman talking to someone they love. It was not in Victorian English or any other English, it was translated from the language of that day. I think that when we are told to pray without ceasing and to pray about everything, God is saying…Just talk to me.

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