• Jon Forrest

18 Years and Counting! The Adventure continues

The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest

18 Years and Counting! The Adventure Continues!

Two men were talking about their individual churches when one said to the other, “Our pastor, where I serve as a deacon, will celebrate his 25th anniversary with the church this year.”

“That’s amazing,” said the other man. “Are you doing anything special to celebrate?”

“I should say so! We’ve taken up a collection and we are flying him to The Holy Land for the adventure of a lifetime. It’s every pastor’s dream.”

“That’s amazing!” Said the friend.” “But if you do something that big, how are you going to top it on his next anniversary?”

“We’ve already figured that out,” said the deacon with is chest puffed out with pride, “We are going to take another offering next year and hope raise enough money to fly him back home.”

I have to pinch myself ever now and then to make sure it’s real, when I think about how long First Christian Church has put up with me as your pastor. Your patience and encouragement have been way beyond anything I could deserve.

When our family moved to Clovis and began our ministry on the 5th Sunday of July in the year 2,000 our son Andrew had just turned 15 and was going to be a Sophomore at Clovis High School. Our daughter, Shannon was a 20-year-old single career girl working in the sales office of a large corporation in the Dallas Metroplex. We were filled with excitement about what God was calling us to do with a new church family in eastern New Mexico. And, YES! We knew that New Mexico was in the United States of America.

It is awesome to realize that this past Sunday we began our 19th year with the FCC family. Some of you were here when we arrived, others have been with us most of that time and some of you are brand new to the adventure.

When we start doing an account of things, it really makes me feel old, but it’s a happy sort of old. Since coming here our children have married and given us 6, count’em, 6 grandchildren! Shannon brought us a new son named Jarred Reeves who is a very smart and creative guy and loves to hunt and fish, but mostly loves to take care of his family. Andrew brought us an amazing smart, sweet and pretty daughter named Tiffany who is 110% mama to her kids. Our two oldest grandchildren, Kealey and Drew both turned 15 this year (just over a month apart) and will be driving cars before we know it. YIKES! Our two youngest, Jaxon and Lennox both turned 8 a month apart back in February and March and are keeping everybody on their toes. Those middle ones, Jaden, who is 13 and on the heels of his big brother and Kadynce, who will be 11 this month and making her way as her own kind of girl, are both very bright and talented. Each of those 6 grandkids is the smartest kid in the world in his or her own way, or so says their Papa.

We have seen children in the church born and later graduate from high school. We have had more funerals than we care to remember. We have had a few weddings and been honored to be with many of you in some of your most intimate times of joy and sorrow. You and we have shared our lives together and been as close as any family members could be. We’ve seen times when we were growing and times when we were shrinking in numbers. And, thankfully, we are growing again. We have studied together. We have prayed together. We have worked together. And we have played together. But, most important is that Jesus Christ was with us as we did it all together.

Another thing that places these 18 years in context is that we have been with FCC for almost half of our 38 years in full-time pastoral ministry. Our longest ministry prior to coming was less than 9 years and a little over 8½.

During this time, we’ve had two youth pastors who have served as friends and co-laborers in the adventure; each bringing his unique perspective. Thank you, Josh McVey and Darren Goddard for your selfless service to our church family and your friendship and comeradery.

The elders, deacons and trustees have been brothers to me as we have not always agreed on everything, but on most everything, but have supported each other in everything because we all wanted what was best for the kingdom of God. We’ve tried a lot of things, failed in at least as many as we succeeded in, but we’ve done it together whether it worked or not.

I just want you to know that I am more excited than ever for the future of this church family. God is working in our midst and has big plans. We can all be grateful that he has included all of us in this adventure. I don’t know how much longer God is going to let us do this, but I’m thankful for every minute we get.

I am more excited than ever for the future of this church family.

Last, but not least, I am thankful that God gave me Cheryl almost 42 years ago to partner with me through these years. She has kept me balanced when I was tipping over. She has encouraged me like no other when I’ve met discouragement. She has made me know love when I felt unlovable. No pastor has ever had a better match for life.

I know that I have frustrated and failed many of you more times than I can know. Thank you for loving and forgiving me anyway when that has happened. The thing that keeps us going is the unconditional love that Jesus has shown and taught us. May his love keep us loving for all eternity?

Sharing the Adventure,

Jon Forrest (and family)

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