When I moved to Lancaster, California, in 1986, there was a teenage boy who helped us move and unload our truck. His name was Cary Schmidt.
Brother Schmidt literally was a part of our family in those early days and, while we greatly missed him during his time at Bible college, we were thrilled that God brought him back to the staff of Lancaster Baptist Church four years later.
For twenty-two years Brother Schmidt served as our Associate Pastor. He helped with the development of many of the ministries that are now touching the Antelope Valley and reaching into other parts of the world as well.
Through a series of God-ordained events (that were at times somewhat awkward for both Brother Schmidt and me), God began leading him toward the pastorate around this time last year. After the Lord directed him specifically to New England, we began praying and asking God to bless him mightily.
The last few days Terrie and I have had the privilege of having our first visit with the Schmidts and their wonderful church family in Connecticut. When we arrived in Newington (in the greater Hartford area), a fresh fall of snow had covered the landscape, and it was truly beautiful to drive through the New England countryside on the way to their church.
More than the beauty of the countryside, we were thrilled to see lives that are being touched by the Word of God. As I preached on Wednesday night, the spirit was so receptive, and there was a very good crowd especially considering Brother Schmidt has only been there seven months.
Brother Schmidt is busy developing the staff and leadership of the church as well as repairing many of the buildings. The members of the church stayed and fellowshipped for a good time after the service, which is always a sign of a healthy ministry. Brother Schmidt’s emphasis at the church these past months has been on spiritual health and growth. I believe the numerical growth will always follow the emphasis on healthy ministry and biblical teaching.
Being with Brother Schmidt in the service was enjoyable and yet strange at the same time. It seemed strange for him to introduce me, and it seemed strange for me to turn the invitation over to him as the senior pastor!
My heart was flooded with emotions but mostly with gratefulness. I’m grateful to the Lord for the friendship we have with the Schmidts and for the opportunity we had to have a part in their lives, in their development, and now in their ministry in Connecticut. Brother Schmidt’s family is doing well in the transition and looking forward to the future blessings of God.
As I write this blog I am looking out the window of our hotel room where the snow is falling outside. Brother Schmidt is about to pick us up and we look forward to spending some time with him today before we head back home to California.
God, in His sovereignty, has worked in a mysterious way in the lives of the Schmidt family. But I could tell from the smiles on the faces of a few hundred New Englanders on Wednesday night that the Holy Spirit is using their ministry to rekindle revival fires in this needy area. To God be the glory for the great things He is doing!