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  • Writer's pictureFCC Valdosta

A Life in Christ is a Life in Focus

The New Year has arrived whether we are ready for it or not. We can begin this new Year with any number of attitudes and perspectives. I want to begin mine with a list...a long list...of "Thank You's." I first of all want to thank Paula, Jennifer and Nora for being patient with me as I struggled with this decision. I would not be where I am without that. I need to thank Yvonne and Jason for their advice and encouragement and help. And there are countless other members at FCC who also listened, answered questions and tolerated my reluctance on many occasions. I cannot thank the Pulpit/Search Committee enough for their patience in dealing with me over all those months, for how kind they were to me, how honest they were with me during the application and interview process which took weeks, The same goes for the Church Board, the elders and deacons, for their willingness to recommend me and for you as the congregation. Thank you to all of you (especially Yvonne) for the wonderful reception on that Installation Sunday. There were so many who helped to make that a day that I will never forget. Thanks to so many of you have sat and listened to me talk about FCC and what my feelings were and are about moving into this position. I have tried to get across to everyone just how terrifying this decision has been. I am not sure I have done a good job of that. When I was first approached months and months ago I said definitively that I was not the right person for this. I prayed and prayed as did many others for a long time, asking God to give me direction. He did. And only after a long period of thought and prayer did I decide to pursue this. Leaving behind a position where I had been entrenched for some twenty years has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life. Leaving behind people who had become family members is a hard thing to do. Moving into a new area of responsibility of any kind can be overwhelming but I feel that even more keenly in this position.

Your encouragement and your prayers mean more to me than you might imagine. I am, even at my age, still growing and learning and understanding. I hope the lessons I offer this year from the pulpit and in classes and in seminars will somehow be challenging and always directing us back to scripture, to God's Word. I have completed one seminary class per the request of the Disciples of Christ Commission on Ministry. There will be others to follow and several workshops to attend during this coming year as I move through the process of becoming a "Commissioned Minister". I ask in advance for your patience as this process unfolds. I am uncertain how long the process will take but I promise to keep you updated as things develop.

I cannot believe it has already been some seven months since I "officially" became the Senior Minister at FCC. A lot has happened during that time. There have been moments of great joy and celebration and there have been moments of grief. There have been important decisions made and hopes and dreams discusses. I have spent a great deal of energy trying to settle into the role and "learning the church."

There are new things coming this year for FCC. I want you to be a part of them. We will be using a new "church management system" that will streamline many processes of managing the affairs of the church. A new, updated membership directory will be created. We will be hosting some seminars related to the upbuilding and strengthening of families and marriages for both FCC and the community. We hope to offer even more Sunday AM and Wednesday PM classes....and more.

From my perspective as your minister, my goal for all of us at FCC is simple: I want us to all grow closer to God than ever before, to know Him more intimately and more powerfully than we ever have and to understand more clearly than ever what He wants us to do and to be as His church.

May God bless all of us as we begin this new year.

- John Chick



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