This month, twenty-five years ago, was the first time I ministered at New Piney Grove Baptist Church. As I look back and reflect, I think about the events which led up to the invitation to teach and preach at NPG. The church did not have a Pastor and I did not have a church. I was asked by my pastor, Willie L. Reid, to take his place at what was known as the Fifth Sunday School Fellowship.. It was at this event that I became acquainted with the members of New Piney Grove. God must have used the gift that He gave me of teaching. I can't remember the lesson, but I do remember the response of the people. New Piney Grove stood out. They asked for my card and the rest is history.
Looking back, I think of how it was teaching; not preaching or my administrative expertise, that eventually resulted in my being privileged to pastor NPG for 25 years. But more people came to hear me preach than teach. Yes, it is true that even from the pulpit on Sunday morning I teach. But it is something about Wednesday night and Sunday morning teaching sessions, where people can ask questions and interject thoughts.
Looking back I remember our elder, Bill Montford's comments, "... we have been preached at too long; we need teaching."
Looking back, I remember a son of the church, Guss Bodison Jr.'s, statement, "New Piney Grove is not for everybody."
Looking back, I have discovered that you cannot force, entice or make people come to learn. It is an inward desire. Those who want to come, will come because they want to be taught.
My prayer is that I will be content with those who want a "full meal" of God's Word, and not waste my time worrying about those who only want a "fast-food snack."