20 years and counting
The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
20 Years and Counting
My dad often tells a story about a preacher who was so poor in the pulpit that he could never stay in pastoral position very long. He would move somewhere, begin his preaching and be asked to move along after a month or two. After this had gone on for a number of years he was welcomed to minister in a new church. After preaching there two months he waited for the shoe to drop, but no one said a thing. He preached another month and nothing happened. After 6 months, he was beginning to feel pretty good about his ministry. When he had been there over a year, he couldn’t stand it any longer. He called his board chairman aside and said, “As you know, from my resume’, I always had a difficult time staying in one place very long. I was told that my preaching just wasn’t very good. I’ve been preaching here for over a year now and nothing has been said at all. Has my preaching improved that much?”
The board chairman cleared his throat and began to speak, “Well, preacher, it’s like this; The pulpit committee didn’t really want a preacher, but we were forced to look for one. You were about as close to nothing as we could find.”
It is hard for me to believe that 20 years ago Cheryl and Andrew and I, along with two dogs and a cat, came rolling into Clovis with two U-Haul trucks, towing a U-Haul trailer and a car. We had left a joy-filled ministry 600 miles away in deep East Texas and were excited about coming to Clovis to serve with First Christian Church. We came convinced that God had called us to this ministry and that made it easier to make the change.
When we got here we discovered a number of troublesome issues that had developed that were going to make for a bumpy start. Some people told us, “Don’t leave us, please.” My reply was, “In my early ministry, I might be looking to get my U-Haul back, but not now. I believe that God called us here to build a church. And, that’s what we plan to do.” We stuck with it, and with God’s guidance and help, together with the FCC family we moved forward and overcame the circumstances and God has led us forward.
Through the years, we have shared together in some bumps and bruises for individual church members and families, my own life and family and the church together as a family and yet, God had led us forward. There were times when finances were so tight, it looked as if we might go under, but together we persevered, prayed and trusted God and he led us through.
We have also share in some great accomplishments and blessings that God sent into our midst. We’ve share in a multiple number of baptisms, weddings, funerals, revival meetings, seminars, concerts and powerful movements of God. We have seen precious brothers and sisters move away and more precious ones come into our midst with the joy of bring the freshness of new blood to our church body.
Since coming to Clovis, our daughter Shannon, came and joined us until she married; moved away and came back. Both of our children were married here. Currently they and their spouses and our 6 amazing grandchildren are part of the church family, some of them having been baptized here at FCC by me in front of your eyes.
All the while, through the ups and downs and ups and downs etc.… God has been faithful and working in our midst. He has continued to lead us and to give us a vision for reaching our community with the message of Christ. And,
God has been good all the time…while all the time God has been good.
And, through it all, you all have faithfully served beside us. We have been blessed to get to know you all and to share life with you. We have laughed and cried together through thick and thin. We have encouraged one another in the Lord and made Him the center of what and whom we are.
We came here on a 5th Sunday in July of the year 2000 so technically, this Sunday, August 2 will begin our 21st year. We have to pinch ourselves to believe it. And we can’t wait to see what the Lord has planned for us all together. We know that He is consistent and will never let us down. Let us pray together that God will use us together in a powerful way for his glory.
We look forward to serving him with you until Jesus comes or shows us a different way.
With you in him and with gratitude to Jesus and you all,
Jon and Cheryl Forrest