by Ricky Pearson
TRAVERSE CITY, MI – I want to tell a story of the marvelous, unexpected grace of God in helping to start His church here in Traverse City. This is not a strategy you will read in a church planting book. Only God could do something like this.
This story begins back in 2011 here in Traverse City. I was here to marry my son and his bride Sara. Sara’s maid of honor was Kelly. They were roommates while playing softball in college. Kelly's parents, Roger and Janice, came to the wedding because they knew Sara.
After the wedding, Roger mentioned to Kelly that he had not been in church in many years. However, he said he liked the pastor who performed the wedding and would go to the church he pastored. Little did he know what he was saying.
Fast forward seven years. God calls Sandra and me to start a church here in Traverse City. By now Kelly had married and moved to Traverse City, as did her parents. Sarah invites Kelly to come to church and she does. Kelly remembered what her dad had said seven years earlier and invited him to church.
She said that the pastor who performed the wedding was now pastoring here in Traverse City. I think you can begin to see what God was doing. True to his word, Roger started coming and has been faithful ever since. He was not a follower of Christ at the time, but kept coming and had all kinds of questions. He was hungry for God, but not a religion. After a year, he committed his life to Christ on his own. Janice still weeps to this day when she tells the story of Roger’s decision.
The story does not end there. Now, fast forward to this past Christmas. Covid was spiking here in Traverse City and Roger came down with it. It hit him hard and fast. He was immediately admitted to the hospital. The outlook was not good. His oxygen numbers were rapidly going down. They thought their only option was to put him on a ventilator.
That evening after Roger was admitted to the hospital, our church called a zoom prayer meeting. Many of Rogers' friends and relatives joined us, but did not participate. We prayed and God in His grace answered our prayers. The doctors were about to put Roger on the ventilator when they noticed his numbers began to stabilize. Later the doctors told Janice that it was at the exact time that we were having our prayer meeting.
As Roger was recovering in the hospital, the doctors and nurses said that they were certain Roger would not make it. They had no explanation of how he survived. We do – God! When he was finally released from the hospital, the doctors and nurses came down and gave him a standing ovation as he left.
This trophy of grace has been the platform for many conversations about Christ. The end of the story is still yet to be written with transformed lives as a result of this miracle of grace. This past week in our men’s discipleship group, Roger said that he was finally beginning to feel as if he were connecting with God as he is learning to pray.
We all know that God is powerful, and nothing is too big for Him. Why are we so surprised when He shows up? If God can work in such unexpected ways, maybe He would do this for you. I pray you would experience the wonderful, unexpected grace that God loves to show when we cry out to Him.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ricky and Sandra Pearson are church planters for Cornerstone Fellowship in Traverse City Michigan. Ricky got his MDIV from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth Texas. They have three married children and five grandchildren.