When Julia and I left NE Metro, we both felt that we heard from the Holy Spirit to pull back and go slow when it came to using Spiritual Gifts. WE knew that most all of the people there didn’t have any grid for the prophetic or for almost any manifestation of Spiritual Gifts. We were in agreement then that we were to go in low, and just watch and pray. We weren’t involved in leadership of any kind and didn’t seek any agenda. Our job was to pray for the church and to lift up Tom and Melissa when they needed encouragement. Charles had a group of men around him that formed a “board” so to speak. They were the main ones in control.
It is funny though. As we were just starting at Wesleyan Fellowship, I was complaining to God about having to leave my position as associate pastor. Ht told me that that time had passed, but that I would become an Elder at Wesleyan Fellowship and be used to help shape the church. I thought it was funny because they didn’t have elders at the time, and there was no hint of any government like that. It took three or four years, but that word came to pass when the first official government was established. I had hung onto that word, and I wasn’t to surprised when it happened, but it still amuses me.
What Julia and I did do was to team up with John and Biddie and start a cell group when the church started. There we taught about the Kingdom of God and slowly began to talk about healing and other spiritual gifts. We did this in small group settings for at least a year. Julia was asked to join a small group of women, and then she was asked to lead them. This group became strong intercessors for the church. Julia was in her element. She was passionate about intercession and was able to take everything that we had learned with Tony and begin to teach it to the women’s group. I don’t remember when it became an official intercessory prayer group, but they were hooked on God’s presence and the group slowly began to grow. I really believe that this group is responsible for paving the way for Wesleyan Fellowship to survive and finally to thrive.
The church itself was an interesting mix. We met on Thursday nights for a long time. Terry and then Tom did the preaching because Charles was waiting for his retirement from the Methodist church before he could join us. The Thursday night services were nicknamed “the River”. Worship was pretty good, and Tom’s messages were good, but there wasn’t really much ministry. It was like we had stepped back in time about 10 years. The mix in the congregation was not good. Think about a church of 800 that the only thing they could agree upon was what they didn’t like about where they left, and that’s what we had.
There was a group that wanted a choir, another group that didn’t. There was a group that wanted traditional music and hymns; others wanted contemporary worship. There were people that wanted Sunday school, and others who wanted cell groups. The prophetic word that we had gotten about the church blowing up looked very strong. It was obvious that until a single vision was cast and embraced we were going to be in constant conflict. It wasn’t going to be pretty.
But we were still in the honeymoon phase, and there wasn’t much complaining, yet. Then Charles Sineath retired and came to the church as Senior Pastor. That left a dilemma; Tom had been preaching, and now Charles was going to be preaching. What were they going to do with Tom? The decision was to let Tom continue to preach on Thursday nights and Charles would preach on Sunday nights. I saw that as a bad mistake. I told Julia that they were making two churches and there were going to be problems. I had seen this before, and it wasn’t pretty them, it wouldn’t be pretty now. In My opinion, even though I wanted Tom to preach, this was the worst mistake they could make. Surly we were going to blow up now. It was just the beginning.