I would like to build this post around a photo that popped up in my feed from the summer of 2013.
Here it is: Rebekah, me, and Scout Labradoodle taking a selfie, moments from saying goodbye to the house we had just emptied and cleaned for the new owner.
Not just leaving the house but leaving Florida. If you’d like to read the post that accompanied the bittersweet Sunday – August 11, 2014, when we said goodbye to First Presbyterian Church of Brandon – here it is: “Some Kind of Wonderful“
A few days later Rebekah and I rolled into Wake Forest on a rainy day, throwing ourselves headlong into this new adventure. At the time, I thought about one of my favorite President Kennedy quotes, and it is possibly even more appropriate today.
So we moved away from a 17 year ministry that had been successful beyond our dreams. The church in Brandon had grown to a little over 500 members with close to 400 people in average attendance. We moved to Wake Forest not because it was easy but because it was hard, because God’s plan would serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenges was/is one that we are willing to accept.
I cannot believe we moved here so many years ago! Wake Forest Presbyterian Church has been an amazing story, and it continues to be the “lived-out-loud” story of God’s amazing grace, mercy, love, encouragement, and initiatives of light.
Rebekah and I have been privileged, over almost forty years of ministry, to have been with three remarkable congregations and walk with them through particularly meaningful seasons.
- At Trinity Presbyterian, in Pensacola (1982-1996), working with Rev. Frank Beall. It was a time when the church grew tremendously. We were able to be part of the explosion of life with youth and young families, and Rebekah launched several new churches in the area.
- At First Presbyterian Church of Brandon (1996-2013), much of that time with Rev. Tim Black. Blessed to see the revitalization of a (then) struggling congregation, to witness a church overflowing with both crowds of people and vibrant new life, and to build a beautiful facility.
- Then here, in Wake Forest, with Rev. Moffett Churn and then Rev. John Fawcett. We have been privileged to be on board as WFPC has reimagined and reanimated its identity, rediscovered its passion for Jesus, and moved into a new era of mature and irrepressible life.
So we are celebrating the seventh anniversary of this unexpected yet providential move. And the real question – even in the middle of the uncertainty of pandemic – is this: “What creative, love saturated, world-changing opportunity is God going to present now, and continue to keep us and the dynamic Wake Forest congregation moving forward as a faithful and innovative church?”
Watch this space!
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.