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Opinion: A new normal

By Charlotte Smith

We are to expect storms in life. Some storms seem to catch us by surprise, while others are forecasted. Either way, we never know what damage the storm will cause until we have survived it.

Finding a new normal is something many Bladen County citizens are working towards after the devastation to property left behind from Hurricane Florence. However, the hurricane is not the only cause for rumpus in our area.

Many faith based organizations are experiencing controversial issues. There are some church locations with no pastor, others are losing members and a lot are struggling with where to stand on hot button political issues.

Before Hurricane Florence hit land I sat down with our beloved Pastor, Cameron McGill. We were all scurrying around trying to prepare for the massive hurricane scheduled to hit our communities later in the week. Pastor Cameron, his wife Tiffany and myself found time to meet and encourage one another.

The reason for the meeting was not just for encouragement. Our Beloved minister had preached his last sermon as the Pastor of DFBC the Sunday before our meeting. Emotions have been high since our dedicated leader announced his new calling and discussing his departure was important to me.

We reminisced about the past and the couple’s service to and through DFBC. There were about 3,500 sermons, 500 funerals and numerous weddings Pastor Cameron led at DFBC during his time of service. Many toes were stepped on, metaphorically speaking, because he preached the Word and made no excuses about it. He and his wife gave our family and many others comfort during the loss of loved ones and during illnesses. The duo has ministered to DFBC members in countless ways.

The McGill family taught us how to serve on missions and be better Christians. There is no doubt, Pastor Cameron is ordained and Tiffany is anointed by our Lord.

In the 18 years of McGill’s pastoral leadership role at DFBC, the Church has had a large impact for the glory of Jesus Christ. A daycare was started. The family life center was built. The Lake Church was planted and its offspring was established (the White Lake Christian Camp & Retreat Center). A large and wide variety of local, out of state and out of country mission trips were completed.

During his tenure as leader of the flock at DFBC, he and his wife served with the Southern Baptist State Convention. He served in many roles, even taking the leadership role as President of the convention for a term. Pastor Cameron left his position at DFBC this September to be the lead Pastor at the planted Lake Church, the Director at the White Lake Christian Camp & Retreat Center and to focus more on mission work.

Many people struggle when a fellow Christian is called to serve at a new location; even more so when a beloved Pastor is called to minister elsewhere. Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ have testified to the troubles seen after moving their Church membership. Motives, intentions and even fruits of labor are called into question on both sides when a believer makes a sudden change in where or how they serve the Church.

When there is change in the leadership or membership of a church location just as much damage can be done spiritually that is caused physically from a hurricane. Sometimes Christians take their focus off their walk with the Lord to see where others are following. Proverbs 25:28 says, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down without walls.”

Criticism and bitterness towards a fellow Church member not only damages your relationship with the Lord, but it affects your Christian witness to others. Philippians 2:14 warns, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings”.

Change is not comfortable for many, but it is necessary for a multitude of reasons.

The slogan for a while at DFBC was, “One Church, two locations.”

The truth is we are One Church with many locations. We do not attend church, we are the Church. This has been most evident since the storm named Hurricane Florence passed over Bladen County.

Life has many seasons and so does each believer’s walk and service to God. A Church without a Pastor is one thing, but a Church without the Spirit of our Lord leading and guiding the way is not a Church at all. Praise our Father in Heaven who continues to lead in the Spirit at DFBC, the Lake Church and other Church locations in the area.

The goal for the Church is to lead others to know our Savior, Jesus Christ. When I asked Pastor Cameron what advice he would give to grow the Church he gave the following three points:

Stay focused

Stay faithful

Stay fervent (passionate)

It is bittersweet to see Pastor Cameron move on to lead in other places. However, it is extremely exciting to see the Lord at work in the Church at so many different locations. To God be all the praise and glory forever, Amen!

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