It’s much easier to do church with the already-saved; it’s safe & neatly packaged. Christian people already read their Bibles, laugh at the same jokes we laugh at, and share the same values as we have. But those far from God? Now that’s a different story. It’s ugly, scary, messy, and very time consuming, with no guarantee of success.
On any given Sunday at PCC we have people who walk though our doors who have such complications going on in their lives that it freaks me out. I often feel like I am in way over my head. Family problems, marital problems, legal problems, financial problems, addictions, pills, dope, booze, unforgiveness, bitterness, and resentment, just to name a few. All of this adds up to one thing: these people are far from God and their greatest need is a spiritual one.
Santa Rosa County did not need another church when we planted PCC in 1998. However, SR County DID NEED a place that was willing to LOVE the UNLOVABLE. And by God’s grace we’ve done that, (and we have failed along the way too).
It would have been easier if we had started this church and built it up only with the already-saved. It would have been easier on me, my family, and my finances to do it the safe way. Plus, our results would have been quicker too. It graphs well on those end-of-years reports.
This journey has been hard. It has almost killed me at times. We put everything on the line when we started this church. But the reward has been well worth it. I have grown as a person, as a believer, as a husband & father, and as a pastor. I am much wiser than when we started. Our church has witnessed hundreds and hundreds of lives changed by the power of Christ. I have personally baptized about four hundreds people over the years (and most of those were first-time baptisms); and of all those people, most are still living for God. I have personally witnessed people who started out as “far from God,” give their lives to Jesus Christ, grow and develop in the faith, and are now involved in ministry, leadership, small groups, and are solidly grounded in the Word of God. What that does to the heart of the pastor, only a pastor can know.
And I would put everything on the line again just to continue to do what we do here. In fact, I do so every day.
It’s worth it.