It is finally a relief to say that we have found a new church here in San Antonio. We arrived in late July last year, and our first impulse was to get connected immediately in a church. What we sought was a match to our experience at Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy. Even as I told my mind not to try and make a match, but be open to what God was going to do that was new for us, I desperately wanted a match. In the seven months of living here in San Antonio, we have visited many churches. We have stayed in some for quite a long time to come to realize we were misfits. It’s disappointing to have to start over again, and it takes so long to get to know a church and hear from God if it’s where we are meant to serve.
The idea of having a pastor in our family is something we don’t minimize or dismiss. We believe that we are to submit the spiritual development of our family under the leadership of our pastor. We also believe that God works directly through our pastor to lead our family in the way we are meant to go, the conversations we are to have, and some of the choices we are to make. Our pastor has significant spiritual influence over our family. This is a big responsibility. We can’t just give that away to the first guy who preaches in a church we visit. We have to wait and listen for God to move and give our hearts peace.
When we were in Katy for three years, Alex Kennedy was our pastor. It was always a unanimous decision among our family members that God was definitely working through this man, and the lessons he taught us from the pulpit stayed with us all in meaningful and profound ways. He was an excellent example of servant hood, authenticity, surrender, leadership, wisdom and so much more. Leaving his flock was painful for all of us. But in many ways because we are only three hours away, we haven’t left, we’ve returned countless times, and have many reasons to continue to make the trip “home” to Katy.
Our new pastor, Robert Emmitt, at Community Bible Church, where we have been attending for three months now has slipped right into the role of pastor in our family. He’s a good teacher, and I can verify that by the conversations that occur naturally at our dinner table without parenting prompts. His teaching comes up through the week in our exchanges with one another. I’m learning from him, and that’s so important to me. Also, he’s got a great sense of humor and a complete disregard for whether anyone likes him or not when it comes to stating what the bible says. I like his boldness of message with a gentle delivery. I always welcome a good solid laugh. Most importantly he can teach in a way that I remember.
For example, we are studying Revelation and he explained something that has always been difficult for me to answer. Many people wonder about and challenge Christians with the question, “how could a loving God condemn people to hell?” The answer is in Chapter 14 of Revelation. An angel in the end times will say: anyone who worships the enemy and receives his mark will go to hell.” So what Pastor Emmitt said is, “God doesn’t send anyone to hell, he just honors their choice. An unloving God would not have warned the world that there was hell, we know about it because God explained it in advance.”
It’s a relief for our family to know that we have found our church home in San Antonio. It will take some time to find our place to serve there because it’s got ten thousand members, but we trust God has a job for us to do there, and we are eager to serve. This is answered prayer, and that deserves great praise! Finally San Antonio will become home because we’ve found a church that we want to call family.