Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Partners in Planting
In 2004 I was a Sales Manager for a small upstart mortgage broker firm. I was responsible for hiring, training, and managing a sales staff of loan officers. One responsibility of our loan officers was to accompany their client to the escrow office for the closing of the mortgage loan process.
Our company required me or the branch manager to accompany new loan officers in training to the escrow signing to assist them in this final stage of the loan process and to help them through any questions or challenges that might come up.
In mid 2004 I had the occasion to accompany one of my loan officers to an escrow signing in a small community 50 some miles north of Vancouver (WA) where I had been living and working for over five years. The signing went well; the client signed the final papers to move into a house they purchased and our loan officer received her first “check” for services rendered.
However, that drive to this small community changed my life forever. We drove to a community 50 miles north, and then 8 miles west, off of Interstate 5. It has a population of some 35,000 people and is largely dependent upon the paper and wood mills for its survival. In April as a part of the A-Z Challenge I blogged on our community under the letter “L.” I invite you to revisit that post and learn about this wonderful city.
What changed my life? I saw a community of 35,000 with a neighboring sister city of 12,000 (Kelso) and several smaller surrounding communities that needed the light of the gospel. Longview has been longed despised as a community. It has been classified as a backwards, redneck, non-cultured town with nothing to do and nowhere to go. It also has a huge meth problem. In other words, my heart was provoked in the same manner as the Apostle Paul’s heart when he found himself alone in the city of Athens and saw the idolatry and spiritual darkness of that city. Read the account of Paul and his “provoked spirit” in Acts 17:10-32)
In February of 2005 I could no longer take the pulling of my heart towards Longview, WA. My wife and I moved to a small home in the west end of Longview. Here, I intended on planting a new church to meet the spiritual needs of the people in this community and county. The Lord had other ideas at this point. He directed us to a wonderful church fellowship where I had the opportunity of being mentored and taught by a wonderful man some things that I needed to know. After two years, God moved us to our present place of service, where I have been learning, growing even more in pastoral leadership, preaching and teaching. Many of you are aware for almost three years I have been teaching the Adult Bible Class called the Sojourners. (To be continued…)
(This is the first installment in the Partners in Planting series that will be posted each Monday. Join this new series as I share with you and enlist you as partners in the process of planting a new church in this community giving you the opportunity of laying up treasures in heaven as you, from your location, Sow the Seed in Longview, WA)
Posted by Gregg Metcalf at 1:00 AM