Macedonia Baptist Church near Magnolia, Arkansas has a rich heritage and a bright future. During my recent visit, my son Bryce and I fell in love with the congregation.
Before the service, I struck up a conversation with the man sitting in front of us. Like me, had experienced the loss of a wife. It was a blessing to hear his testimony of God’s faithfulness in giving him a second wife of nearly forty years. Isn’t it amazing how God uses kingdom-relationships in the local church to encourage his children!
Pastor Joe Owens also encouraged me during my visit to Macedonia. Having served as pastor for about seven years, it is obvious that he has the trust of the congregation. That only happens when a man evidences a strong love for the needs of the people and a faithful service to the ministry.
One of the things that I love about pastor Joe is that he is a former deacon. He spent over a decade serving in that role before making known his desire to pastor. I point this out because I’m convinced there may be other deacons who are in a similar position as Joe was, but feel like “once a deacon, always a deacon.” In other words, they feel as though they cannot do anything but serve as a deacon. However, the Bible makes no such limitation on these men. In fact, the biblical qualifications for a deacon are almost identical to the qualifications for a pastor (I Timothy 3). The only difference is that a pastor must be “apt to teach.” If a deacon has the gift of teaching/preaching, there is nothing biblically holding them back from becoming a pastor if God places it on their heart.
One more person blessed my heart that morning. During the service, I shared my testimony of losing Jill. I mentioned the fact that she was a nursing instructor at Southern Arkansas University, which is about fifteen miles from the church. After the service, a lady introduced herself saying, “My husband and I were both in Jill’s class at SAU –and she was just as wonderful as you described her.” I can’t express how much those words meant to me. People who have lost loved ones long to hear others remember them. It lets us know that they are not forgotten and that they are still loved. In a way, it’s like someone wrapping their arms around you and saying, “me too.”
Praise God for the ministry that Macedonia Baptist Church has toward their community –and, the ministry that they provided to me!