Sunday, January 24, 2010
The First Foray
Getting ready for preaching today meant reading and preaching from a Lukan text telling about Jesus' first foray into his preaching ministry. From the Jordan to the wilderness to Galilee and the synagogue He went. It set me to thinking about my first preaching foray. My partner was Harold Lumley, a friend and fellow ministerial student at Young Harris College. During our second year we were provided an opportunity to preach in the mountains of western North Carolina. A Methodist preacher was appointed to an eight point charge in the Western North Carolina Conference and looked to the college for some student help in preaching. Every Sunday morning we left the campus and made our way up toward Murphy, NC to preach. We alternated Sundays which gave us more time to prepare.
One of the churches was Peachtree Methodist (no comparison to the one in Atlanta). Also, included in our rotating preaching schedule was the Bellview Methodist Church and Reid's Chapel. Those folks in those small rural mountain churches surely suffered through a lot of bad preaching as we tried to do our best, but they never were anything but gracious and kind to both of us. One thing I always remember is the music. Harold was an accomplished pianist, but the church normally had their own. One of the churches had a pianist who could only play I Am Thine, O Lord and Victory in Jesus so whenever we went to that church, those were our hymns!
So many small mostly rural churches have been the training ground for a lot of Methodist preachers. Some even speak of it as a ministry given to them by God. Certainly, I am grateful for those that have been a part of my life. My journey of faith would have been diminished without the opportunity to share with those good folks who model for green preachers extraordinary love and patience.