I am constantly amazed at the lengths God goes through to connect people. Some years ago at Calvary there was a family who had two daughters the age of my girls, and they were in Sunday school and church groups with us. One of the girls later worked in the office at Sunland First Baptist Church. She heard from her mom, who was our church secretary at the time. that our church was in the pastoral search process. Marcia had kept in touch with a previous staff person at Sunland, who had gone on to seminary back East, and had graduated and wanted to move back to California. Marcia gave her mom the info, and the rest is the history that we are celebrating this evening. There are only two members of the search committee that researched and recommended Paul Reinhard to our congregation who are still here in the church--Gary Yetter and I--so if you want to blame someone, you can start with us.
I've been on the Ministry Board with Paul for a good part of the last 20 years, and it's been an interesting experience. Like almost every other pastor I've known since high school, he's been the patient recipient of comments and questions on sermons or classes. He's lucky that he doesn't have to deal with my handwriting any more, now that we have email. Paul's pretty good with computers, sometimes he's too good--every now and then my phone gets clogged with group messages that come in faster than I can answer them and my poor little dinosaur phone spits my unfinished replies into a stacked-up draft file.
We've been through some tough stuff in the past 20 years. I was church treasurer during the worst of the financial disaster of the fire and insurance collapse. We both spent way too much time dealing with the poor soul at the credit union who got stuck with us. The loan person I originally dealt with told me that our application had the biggest faith factor of any load he'd ever recommended.. Over the last 13 years, we've skated on some thin ice, but praise God, never gone completely under. One of the good days was when TM sent us a significant chunk of money as a grant. and an even better day was when Paul and I went as guests to a TM board meeting to pay it back with a bonus when we got our first partial payment from the trustees of the insurance company's liquidation.
Probably none of us know how many zillions of hours that rebuild project cost Paul. I got a glimpse of it when they finally sent the adjuster back to review our paperwork. Paul and I spent a couple of days with paperwork all over the conference room table, because the adjuster wanted an explanation of each of the 79 change orders that came up during the construction. Paul could describe each of these, having been there almost every day for the more than three years of planning and rebuilding.
The city was another thorn in our flesh as well; we're not surprised at the delays The Way is experiencing. One of the most annoying whas when an inspector decided that our second-floor baptistry, which had been approved in the original design stage at least a year earlier, was not "handicapped accessible" within his definition. After about a month when the whole thing got put on hold, Paul called the inspector's supervisor one evening and told them that if this wasn't settled immediately he was going to call the reporter from the Press Enterprise who had been reporting on our project. By the end of the conversation, it was agreed that the baptistry was not a public space within the meaning of the rules.
In the spring of 2008, Paul and I went to a leader training seminar for L3. One workshop involved developing ministry programs, and Paul's dream project at the time was training small group leaders and coaches. We didn't follow up on it at the time, but a few years later Paul's D.Min final project was a mentoring program. His next step is an upcoming John Maxwell training program designed to stretch him in whole new directions growing out of where he's been .
It's been a rough road; the best writer in the world couldn't have dreamed up where God has taken us.
Look out world, here we come!
From the 20th Anniversary Celebration 10/23/15