Dear Church Family,
I am very excited to share information with you about our prospective worship pastor. As you should know we have been in a search process for some time now. We have had an extensive search and feel very confident that God has led us to the right man.
Evan Gray is currently serving as Campus Worship Pastor for Red Bank Baptist Church at The Point Church on Signal Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He has served there for three years. Before serving there, he served seven years as Minister of Worship and Music at First Baptist Dyersburg, Tennessee. Evan is very comfortable with a range of styles of worship services. Over the course of his ten years of ministry he has collaborated with choirs, orchestras, praise teams, and contemporary worship bands.
Evan went to Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee, and graduated from West Coast Bible College and Seminary in Waco, Texas. He is the son of a pastor and has grown up in the context of ministry his whole life. Evan’s personal testimony is powerful as to how God used his church family to minister to him as a fourteen-year-old boy
during the difficult loss of his mother to cancer. And it was out of this that God solidified in his heart his walk with the Lord and his love for the local church.
Evan has been married for four years to his wife Sarah and they have two sweet children James 3, and Charlotte 5 months. Spending time with this couple has been encouraging to me because it is apparent that they truly are a ministry team looking to make a difference in the life of a local church family.
I love the fact that Evan has ten years of full-time music ministry experience to pull from as he leads others in worshipping the Lord. He has a wonderful voice, is an accomplished guitarist, and has a very apparent love for the Lord and his church! I believe with all my heart that God will use Evan to take our music ministry forward as we look to behold God each Sunday.
Please make every effort to come to the scheduled meetings on Friday, August 5th and/or Saturday, August 6th. Evan will then be leading us in all three services on Sunday, August 7th. The elders, and personnel team are unanimous and very excited to ask our church members who are present on this special Sunday to participate in affirming the call of Evan to be our next Worship Pastor!
I love you and I love being your pastor!
Dear Church Family,
The theme for Kids Camp this year is Park It! It's based on the concept of abiding in Christ. So many times we get busy with life, and we forget to slow down and park it with Jesus. The key verse that we talked about is John 15:5 where Jesus uses the example of a vine to teach us about abiding.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Jesus explains our relationship to Himself as a fruit bearing vine, like grapes. When the branches are connected to the vine, they will grow strong and bear much fruit. If a branch becomes disconnected from the main vine then there is no way for it to bear fruit. It is the same with Christians, apart from Christ we can do nothing. We will not bear spiritual fruit if we are not connected to Jesus Christ. To stay connected to Christ we must abide in Him.
Abide is not a word that we use in modern-day language very often; however, it is a very important spiritual concept. Abide means to remain in a place and dwell or live there. Think about your home, that is where you abide. When we translate this concept to our relationship with Jesus it means we must remain in Jesus. We cannot depart from Him and we cannot move past Him. Everything the Christian does is marked by their relationship to Jesus. If we hope to bear spiritual fruit, we must remain in Him.
The Bible speaks about different types of spiritual fruits, some are internal and some are external. Growing in our faith as a disciple is bearing internal spiritual fruit. When we walk in the spirit, Galatians 5 tells us that we will bear the spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These spiritual fruits are so important in how we relate to Jesus on a personal level and how we live out our faith.
External fruits are things like serving others, telling others about Jesus, using our resources for the Lord, etc. This is where we live out our faith in a very practical way. Both types of fruit are important for a Christian to bear.
We must remember that we cannot bear either type of fruit apart from Jesus. Through the power of the gospel, we are saved into new life. That new life is only found in those that remain in Jesus Christ. This is why we think of Christianity as a relationship and not just a religion. We don't just follow a set of rules. Our Savior lives in us, and we live in Him.
The Kids' Camp pastor used the story of Mary and Martha found in John 10:38-42 as an example. Martha was the one who was distracted with serving and anxious about all that needed to be done. Mary was the one that was sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to His teaching. When Martha tries to get Jesus to rebuke Mary, He tells her that she is doing the necessary thing.
Mary is abiding with Jesus; she is doing the spiritual thing before engaging in the practical. So many times we run past the spiritually important things in our lives and miss what Jesus wants to teach us. Abiding in Jesus means taking time to know Him. We do that through spending time in God's Word and in prayer.
I know that seems so simple, but it makes such a large difference in our lives. We are all so busy, but we must remember to spend time with Jesus. Martin Luther said, "I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer." He knew how important it was to prioritize the spiritual things before everything else.
The challenge to you today is to abide in Christ by remembering to put your relationship with Him first. The only way to see God work in your life is to focus on Jesus! Will you seek to abide in Christ so you can bear much fruit for His glory?