Defining experience of 2010 #1: Coming to Little Rock.
When I was in 5th grade at Paw Creek Christian Academy in 1988, how could I have ever dreamed that I would come back to pastor in that building 22 years later?
I grew up in Pawtucket, the neighborhood almost across the street from the Church. I spent almost my whole life within a short parameter around it, between home and Wilson Middle School and West Mecklenburg High School, and the Church of God Campground on Wilkinson Blvd. My senior year at West Meck, I was the student body president. We were taking quite the drubbing in the press that year (as we did most years among CMS schools), and I had a chip on my shoulder about it. At 18, I was an advocate for the community in West Charlotte. Little did I know there was something ominously prophetic about all of that.
Fast forward to the late 90′s, and Pastor Chuck Davis, himself a West Charlotte native and a West Meck grad, was leading a beautiful congregation at that same property, no longer Paw Creek (since they left around 1990) but now Central at Little Rock. A man of prayer and humility, Pastor Chuck was praying for Renovatus from when he first heard of its existence. He felt God dealing with his heart about inviting Renovatus to Little Rock, merging as one body for the sake of the kingdom. Because of his obedience and sacrifice, we went from being kicked out of a lease at the most scandalized property in our town to our new home! I am ever grateful for the father’s heart Pastor Chuck demonstrates for Renovatus. I am ever grateful for the humbling support of the Church of God and our administrative Bishop at the time, Jerry Chitwood, who believed in this vision and supported it strongly.
The prospect of a permanent base and location had not even been on our radar. It was an absolute miracle.
As God continues to work mightily on our behalf at Little Rock, it feels like it’s been our home for a thousand years. It’s been such a natural, easy transition as to almost defy belief. I have run out of words for my wonder at God’s capacity to bring our lives full circle. There is something so holy about everything we are seeing him do here right now, I desperately just don’t want to mess it up. Yet at the same time, we hardly feel that this beautiful home gives us room to settle in, but rather a base from which to prosecute our mission with greater faith and boldness than ever. That’s why we are launching the Renovatus worship experience in Fort Mill in March—we believe all this transition has been training for us to reach more of our city.
There has been so much to celebrate in 2010. But without a doubt, the move to Little Rock has been THE most defining experience of Renovatus this year. It brings me back to my days rejoicing around the altar in old school Pentecostal campmeetings, singing the simple little anthem “Look what the Lord has done!” I’ve been feeling that song in a whole new way these past 6 months.