SAGINAW, MI – I will never forget sitting across the desk from my pastor waiting to hear his response. I was not raised to be a godly man. When I was grown and went to college, I did not live a godly life. Yet, here I was by the mercies of God a saved man searching for God’s will in my life. I was waiting to hear my pastor’s response to the bombshell I had just dropped on him, “I think God is calling me to be a pastor.” I’m not even sure if I knew what that meant back then, but I was convinced that’s what I was supposed to do. So, when my Pastor uttered the words, “I don’t think that’s possible,” I was crushed. “You’re too unconventional. No church would accept you like you are,” he went on to explain as my thoughts drifted to sorrow and confusion. I sat and waited on the Lord for 10 years wondering if he was right. I thought maybe God had no place for a guy like me leading His people.
Fast forward to a few years ago, and I can tell you that my old pastor may have been absolutely right and I’m so glad he was. I’m not a traditional pastor. Of course, I wear that hat now and then, but I was created to be a church re-planter and God was preparing me for The Valley Church the whole time. When I found The Valley, they were just like me, lost in the search for God’s will, unsure of themselves with a closet full of skeletons, and convinced they weren’t good enough to carry out the will of God. But so much has changed.
As we tried together to take stabs in the dark for what God had for us, we grew together. As we tried new things, we failed together and then regrouped always together. Then we realized something. We needed the Gospel. I know this sounds like a no-brainer to most, but what I’m talking about is the REAL GOSPEL. Not just church, the plain and simple Gospel. No fluff, no watering it down, no pulling punches, no excuses, no legalism, no lasciviousness, no commandments of men, no additions, no special sauce, just Jesus Christ and all that He is, all that he has done and all that he still has to do. We needed the Gospel of grace and freedom while embracing love, duty, and service. Jesus’ Gospel!
Since we have found The Gospel we have found purpose. People that have sat in church pews for 30 and 40 years have come to the Lord, others have repented of their wayward lives and refocused on the Lord. People have begun to dig into their destroyed families and love again. Jesus has begun to raise up leaders in a church that hasn’t had strong leadership for years. There have been bumps along the road, but Jesus has been faithful to keep us as we continue to boldly grow in His leadership, and as we yearn for nothing more than the Gospel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Thomas Metz is the Senior Pastor and Church Replanting Missionary of The Valley Church in Saginaw, Michigan where he serves along side his Wife Shannon and five kids; Irelynd, Tara, Ashtyn, Madelynn and Tommy.