One of the hats I wear, in addition to being assistant to my pastor at MissionPoint and AIMer in preparation, is that of editor for our monthly district publication, The Pentecostal Messenger. From a recent interview I did with a young churchplanter in our district, I gleaned the following comments on understanding the will of God. The churchplanter is Kent Carter, pastor of Life Source Church / Église Source de Vie in Shediac, NB. and his comments reveal a wisdom well beyond his years.
While the starting point of my questioning has to do with church planting in particular, his comments quickly point to the process of determining and moving in the will of God in a more general sense. See my questions in black and Kent’s answers in blue:
Me: Why start a church rather than being involved with an existing church where you could grow yourself personally and help grow the existing church?
KC: It happened so naturally for us. My third year of NCC was winding down and I wanted the will of God for my life. I took this thing called the gospel, the good news… and it just seemed right. Although I’d driven by many communities, during Bible college, where I could’ve started a church, I somehow couldn’t imagine driving by that community knowing that no one was there to tell them.
Me: So that community is the will of God for you?
KC: We felt there was a need there and we wanted to fill it. While the will of God can be tied to a location, it’s more than that. The will of God is righteous living… holy living. That’s the will of God. We can get that mixed up with location. I try to do the will of God: to live righteously, to live a holy life to the best of my ability. If I can fulfill the will of God in my life, then he’ll take me where I need to be.
There are times when he’ll call you to the desert, like with Philip, but the will of God is greater than simply a location. Why Shediac? I can’t be sure. I really think the community is one of the coolest in New Brunswick. I’m young. I love the vibe. It’s a very vibrant community (Now it sounds like I’m trying to pitch it to everyone to come and move there!).
I thought it was a place that we could grow and if we could grow there, then a church could grow there and other people could join us in that growth.
Me: Tell me more about your experience of the call of God because it seems there are two schools of thought: some wait for God to indicate, without question, a definite location, while it seems that some of the ministers of yesteryear simply went wherever they saw a need.
KC: The lightning-bolt moment never happened for me. If I had been waiting for that, I’d probably still be waiting. Sometimes God is not in the storm or the hurricane, but in the still small voice. For us, that still small voice gently nudged and pushed us toward that community. There were also confirmations by men and women of God, but never a lightning-bolt moment.
Me: How did your wife experience things?
KC: My wife wasn’t completely against me so that’s a good thing! No seriously… she was happy to go and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. I told her that I never wanted our ministry to look like she simply followed my call. I want to be like Priscilla and Aquila, where we are a team. That’s how we went into it in May. We’re a team.
In an upcoming series of posts, my wife will describe how she experienced my sense of a call to France and making that call her own as well. In the meantime, I can say that while I had a very definite moment of clarity (what some might call a lightning bolt moment), it came after a number of years of simply trying to add something of value to the field of France, while I had opportunity to be there.
I have heard both the loud thundering as well as the still small voice.
Thank you Kent Carter… you have taught me by your example!