Mountains High and Valleys Low

It has been quite a while since I last posted here. Almost 2 months to be exact! It wasn’t that I didn’t think about this blog or writing another post. Every time I went to write or think about another post, God said, “Don’t you dare write about that!” Since God told me no, I thought I better listen. He has now given me the go-ahead, so I am writing about the highs and lows of recent months, giving you a glimpse of the reality of the pastor.

On May 1, we relaunched as Oasis Church. Our church has been wonderfully unified through this process. They rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Considering we are a congregation averaging between 50-60 people with a mortgage that takes up a huge part of our resources, God has been SO FAITHFUL to us! Praise God we will have it paid in 3 years! Despite the great things that happened, this pastor and congregation got tired. (This may cue up those with the spiritual gift of rebuke who say that Holy Ghost-filled people never get tired, so I refer you to Elisha, Jonah, and others who were also human.)

Being tired is a great breeding ground for discouragement and depression. Then add to that both of our vehicles needing repair along with my mom’s which was on loan, the financial woes that come with that along with some leaps of faith, and a few families who left the church (albeit peacefully), I was the lowest I’ve been in a while. Despite my low state, God came through for me in ways only He can do. He provided financially with a couple of miracle gifts and gave the strength to lead and minister, though I found myself ministering on fumes some days.

Another bright spot was my 17 year old son surrendering to the call to music ministry while he was at camp. He and his sister were both sick when they returned, but he was able to share his news with the church on Sunday morning. The church prayed over him and rejoiced with him.

We also had a great children’s ministry workers meeting this week. Many of our people are serving in multiple ministries, but they are excited and looking forward with great vision. I couldn’t help but leave encouraged.

In the day of the megachurch, it’s easy for one to look at our church and see what we don’t offer. What I see is a church in which God has breathed new life. I see a church that has caught a second wind and desires to reach the community. I see an authentic community God has built, where people can be loved where they are and have the freedom to grow in Christ. Yes, we may have to take baby steps and move slowly, but lots of great things are in the works. We are doing what we can with the resources God has given us. As He gives us more, we will be able to do more.

I have no shame in asking people to pray for us. Would you pray that God would send us laborers? Would you pray for me to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, putting on the whole armor of God? Would you pray that we would stay focused on our Lord and the Great Commission? The last 2 months have been full of mountains and valleys, but I know one thing – God’s presence and care has been in all of it!

10 thoughts on “Mountains High and Valleys Low

  1. Thank you for sharing the ups and downs and being obedient to the Lord. May He bless you and your congregation abundantly and may you see His mercies renewed each morning. I ask that He continue to strengthen and lift you up as you carry out His call on your life. In Jesus name, amen.

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  2. Brother Matthew, I like I’m sure many others can empathize. I’ve been Pastor of an outreach ministry (Name starting with Oasis also 😉 ) for 30 plus years. I’ve had a pulpit ministry (I’m almost 70) and have had to deal with disability due to an auto accident years ago so the pulpit has become more or less a friend I don’t get to see often now. BUT, the Lord DID direct me into an area of ministry that all my peers at the time said could only be a hobby. Looking back, oh how wrong so many were! But any ministry is not without it’s ups and downs and yet (yes, preaching to the choir) our Lord never leaves us hanging alone! When you started the church I remember you posting and I have kept you in prayer (might have been on Facebook though) but I am tickled, extremely that the Holy Spirit is continuing to lead and anoint. The numbers? Too many churches today are overly concerned about the numbers and forget that ALL of us are to disciple others just as Christ did. If that means only one on one, we remain obedient to the direction of the Holy Spirit! My prayer is that you will teach those 50-60 to be brave and strong in the Lord and to share their faith with others even if it is just a “seed” at a time! That my Brother, is how the kingdom grew to begin with! God bless for this message. It is encouragement still to me after all these years (I’ve been ministering in one way or another for 50+ years) and I hope it will bless many more! God bless and you will continue to have my prayers! Amen and AMEN! 👍💗🕊🙏

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    1. Roland, I appreciate what you shared here. I know we have been connected for quite a few years through blogging, but I didn’t know a lot of this (or my parent brain has forgotten some of it😂). God bless you, my brother!

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  3. Hey man, if you ever start caring about numbers and programs and being a megachurch, I’m gonna come down from Jersey and smack ya with salt water taffy from the Boardwalk 🙂 If your body is authentic and offers the reality of Christ by their lives, that’s enough. Y’know what, Jesus changed the world with 12. Continuing to pray for you.
    Not for nothing, I’m Jersey, isn’t 50-60 a city in South Carolina? 🙂 God continue to bless y’all.

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    1. I’m not at all desiring to be a mega church. My only desire is that we be healthy, and health can be at any number. The disheartening thing is that many overlook us because we don’t have the resources and programs that the “big boys” offer. The consumer mindset will always be a challenge.

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      1. The world is impressed with what’s big and new, programs and activity often disguise the absence of Christ at the heart of things, and you have all the resources in Christ that you need. Take heart pastor that you’re leading people not an organization.

        For all that a large church can do and offer, much of it good and helpful, it has no advantage in what matters. My favorite verse describing a healthy alive church is in 1 Corinthians 14, that if all are pointing to Christ, when an unbeliever visits, secrets of the heart are revealed and falling on his face, he worships, declaring God is really there. It’s the reality of the presence of God in Christ that the church offers to this world and that can be found in 2 – 3 gathered in His name.

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      2. After seeing so much that doesn’t remotely resemble authentic New Testament community, I want that for our church. In a lot of ways, we have it. Our primary issue right now is that all of our budget has been inwardly focused because of a mortgage that covers 2/3 of our monthly giving. Because of that, I have no plans to put us into debt ever again. If we can’t pay for it, we won’t do it. I want our budget to be free for external ministry and Great Commission focus.

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  4. Gonna be a great feeling to have your mortgage paid off. Are you guys gonna burn your loan papers during the service?

    Just a thought on sending people out for ministry. When my wife and I were first married we took part in Evangelism Explosion. Not even sure if it’s still practiced, but you go out in pairs and knock on doors and give a gospel presentation that was well organized and prepared. Here in Jersey not many doors would open or stay open and there wasn’t much that came out of it. I think at the time I kinda marked it off as being Jersey and people being more suspicious than hospitable. But looking back, I think the problem was us, or at least me. I went with the best intentions and much prayer and good prep, and I brought the best resources of soul that I could. But the spiritual reality of Christ that would impact deeper than a good presentation and being friendly was missing.

    Unless the reality of the presence of God is present in our times together, like in 1 Cor. 14, I wonder how wise it is to send believers out. We minister Christ, to each other and the world. Apart from that, the activity of going out may only disguise what we’re missing.

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    1. I do plan on having a note-burning service. There were times when this church had 18 people and never missed a mortgage payment. Even an unbeliever who was not affiliated with the church made a donation that kept the mortgage payment from ever being late. It’s something worth celebrating.

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