For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10
There are a lot of ways Rebekah and I could mark the occasion of “Five Years at WFPC.” There was “Five years since we said goodbye to Florida (August 11),” “Five years since we rolled into the state (Aug 13),” “Five years since Rebekah’s first day in the office (Aug 19),” and “Five years since our first Sunday.”
This, the last Sunday of August, is The Day.
So I took a look back to see how I wrote about this back in 2013 – “Singing a New Song.” And wow, were we ever jazzed up and full with anticipation! And here’s the thing – we are still excited, we are still enthusiastic, we are still believing, we are still jazzed up, and we are still full with anticipation.
Here’s the thing – we are still excited, we are still enthusiastic, we are still believing, we are still jazzed up, and we are still full with anticipation.
5-Year Review = Good Reason to Be Optimistic!
A lot has happened over these first few years – challenges, joys, tears, vision, redemption, authentic relationships, and amazing love. The church has bounced back from the frustrations and declines that led to calling a new pastor. We have a beautiful and lively concentration of young families with children. We are closing in on eliminating the (old) huge Albatross around the neck of a debt. The campus reverberates with life, love, and passion for the good news of Jesus.
But probably the strongest element, especially in laying a foundation for the future, is WFPC’s evolving ministry to Children, Family, and Youth, resourced by the inimitable Katherine Peiper and her fabulous team.
Five years ago WFPC employed two part-time staff for children’s ministry and youth, then in 2016 both moved on to pursue other opportunities. Now we have Katherine full-time plus a full-time assistant director for youth, plus a part-time assistant director for children’s ministry. The vision, the enthusiasm, the spiritual authenticity, the level of training, and the ongoing hard work are laying a solid foundation of depth and strength that is positive and powerful.
It is no accident I am having to relocate my Sunday morning classroom after Labor Day because we’re expecting more than twenty 8th grade youth for confirmation.
This question goes to purpose. Rebekah and I are now in our early sixties, but we still want nothing more – and nothing less – than to see God continue to use us to advance Christ’s kingdom of light, love, justice, and peace.
These five years (so far) in North Carolina have been challenging, with the investment of serious hard work; but Rebekah did not accept this call with anything other than that in mind. As a faith community we are very much a work in progress – redeemed, renewed, restored, reconciled, and rejuvenated – committed to moving forward as an encouragement and an inspiration to Wake Forest.
And that’s where I’d like to leave this check-in, believing that with this sound foundation in place, the result of five years of groundwork and vision and loving people the best we know how, God’s good work here will continue to spill light and love and hope and promise all over the place via the faithful witness of the 800 (and counting) Presbyterian disciples who call this beautiful campus their church home.
In love, and because of love – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.