We really had a great time of fellowship and worship this past Sunday. I only wish I were not so busy that I could have taken more photos and videos of the good fellowship we had. But nevertheless we had a great time. (November 08 2009)
This was designed as the church anniversary. Rivers of Joy Baptist Church was started by Quentin King I believe 17 years ago with a group of people from around the area. And for a number of years he was the pastor. Due to his health I believe he brought in Kelly Cinereski to be the co-pastor and then the pastor. Bro. King passed away in 2004 and Kelly became the pastor. When Kelly decided to leave the church, (the church was doing very well) and while the church was trying to elect another pastor, a member of the church stepped in to help, Bud Patrick. After the church could not come to an agreement on a pastor, Bud stepped down in June of 2008.
Of course, no church likes to be viewed in bad light. Too often the pastor’s leave and leave the members in the dark. It’s been my experience, that members have little knowledge of what is really the reason why the pastors leaves or what really is happening in the leadership level.
Too often the pastors are not real honest why they are leaving. And many church members are not ready to select another preacher to come in. And many members leave the church in the process of selecting another pastor. It happens way too often.
While many good things happened over the first sixteen years, ( pre July 2008) a lot of hard work on the part of the pastors and people was done. There were a number of people saved. A number of missionaries were supported. A new church building was built and now is paid for. So there are some things that we can be thankful for. A number of kids were bused to church. A number of great musical productions were made. There was a great children’s ministry. A number of people worked hard in their service for the Lord.
God’s design for a church body is to have an Under Shepherd to lead the church. People are like sheep that need to be lead. When Quentin died, and Kelly left, the church body was lost without pastoral leadership. The church had been trained that the pastors were the leaders and they lead. When they pastors leave, the church is lost.
What came in the following year was self destruction. Sheep will wander off from the fold when not lead. And that is what occurred. They tried for a time, but without pastoral leadership the church body could not be in unity about who would be the next pastor, and as a result families left, until the doors were about to be closed, literally, I am told.
Of course, had those members who were left decided to close the church, they would have been correct had they not truly wanted to work together to seek God’s will for a pastor who would lead them.
It’s my understanding they were going to have a meeting to vote to close the church. There was a lack of funds to keep the doors open, and since they could not come to a decision on a pastor, there was no other choice.
Well, there were those in the church who still hoped that God would do something to keep the doors open. There were several other pastors in the area who were interested in seeing the church stay open. And after hearing the need, the last deacon standing was contacted by an area preacher (whom I could name), than another preacher contacted this deacon (whom I could name too) and in the providence of God they were invited to come to fill in until a decision could be made about the church’s future.
I was asked by my father-in-law Bob Temple to join him to help the members during this time of need. I was not really thinking about being the pastor nor was my father-in-law, but to just help them as much as they wanted us to.
The members allowed me to preach for them (which was the joy of my soul and heart). And my father-in-law gave some good advice to the members and support as well.
After I spoke for three weeks, Charity and I really loved the people and I really enjoyed preaching and the fellowship. The deacon invited me to the church on Saturday evening to discuss with me the current situation of the church and ask me about my thoughts and belief. I said I would be willing to come and work with them. I didn’t have any idea that would happen.
That Sunday night they had a church business meeting, (what I am told was to vote to close the church doors) and they were given a choice of closing the doors or asking me to become their pastor. So it’s my understanding that they all voted for us to come as their pastor, (they liked Charity). I really never believed that would happen.
Here is what I can say, over the last sixteen months as pastor/teacher of ROJBC, the people have just been so very good to us. They have been most willing to receive Charity and I as their friend, and shepherd and preacher, and teacher and pastor. I am totally amazed.
I have been amazed myself and so has Charity of how we have been received into the church.
Of course as in all churches those who left and came back did not stay. And some who were coming didn’t like the changes and they left. But the group of members who voted for us to come have stayed with us.
So on this our first year in ROJBC Church Anniversary event, we had a great time. I believe I can say honestly that we have enjoyed being at ROJBC.
We have made some progress over the last year, but we have a way to go. But Sunday I believe we had a wonderful time of singing, and fellowship and I enjoyed the fellowship and preaching.
JUST TO KNOW WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPEN TO ROJBC AND KNOWING WHERE WE ARE TODAY IS AMAZING, ALL BY GOD’S GRACE AND GOD’S PEOPLE WILLINGNESS TO STAY TOGETHER.