Submitted by: Nelson Fontaine
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand,” Proverbs 19:21 ESV.
The Alpharetta Church in Georgia clung to this amazing Bible promise as they worked with the Georgia-Cumberland Conference in the search for a new pastor.
They began 2020 with a sense of calmness and excitement, knowing that God had the perfect minister for their young church, if they would only look to Him for guidance. Not their will, but God’s alone was the constant prayer.
In mid-January, the church members were elated when a young guest preacher came and gave the Sabbath sermon. Associate pastor of the Marietta Adventist Church, Luke Steen seemed to meet every one of the qualifications the church board told the Conference they believed they needed. Steen’s energy, wisdom, obvious communication gifts, friendliness, and his passion for the youth won over the entire congregation. It seemed God had quickly answered their prayers!
But then reality set in. Steen still had to attend seminary at Andrews University, so they were disappointed that he seemed to be completely off the table.
Then the new coronavirus hit, and the world changed almost overnight. Live church services were canceled for who knows how long, Zoom meetings sprang up to try to fill the gap and keep members connected, and streaming Sabbath School and worship services became the norm.
Their first two pastoral candidates were unable to meet with the church board for the foreseeable future, so they seemed stuck in a holding pattern without a pastor.
But, in the middle of the storm, Jesus said “Peace, be still,” and a silver lining unexpectedly emerged from this health crisis that has engulfed the world.
It turns out, under the current situation, online seminary is not only possible, but advantagous. Steen talked to the conference about persuing his master of divinity degree online, and serving as pastor of the Alpharetta Church at the same time, and the administration agreed.
Within a few weeks, the church members joyfully met Steen and wife, Carissa, at the church for a meet-and-greet, took a Board vote, and Steen was overwhelmingly approved to be the new senior pastor of the Alpharetta Church.
The members praise God for His leading, guiding, and timing in providing leadership for their church, even in the middle of a storm.
The Alpharetta Church can be found online at www.alpharettasda.com.
Georgia-Cumberland | July 2020