First Alliance Church has a new lead pastor! After being extended a call by the Elder Team of First Alliance, and affirmed by the South Atlantic District Superintendent, Rev. Brian Rockwell, with his wife Jessica, have affirmed God’s call and agreed to come and serve on the pastoral team.
A little over 10 months ago, Dr. Scott Borderud announced to us that he planned to retire within a year. Though his plans changed due to the opportunity to become superintendent of the Southwestern District of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, he still concluded his ministry as senior pastor this past November. His resignation led to the necessity of inaugurating a transition process in order to find the person who could take up the mantle of shepherding us at FACT.
A Search Committee was formed and did research to determine the profile of one who could function as our lead pastor. With congregational input the profile was constructed, and the committee began to diligently search for the person who would best fulfill our expectations. Throughout the process the committee listened for the still, small voice of the Lord that would confirm to us who His choice would be.
We looked through numerous resumes, examined reference letters, interviewed some by phone or in person. Some fit the profile better than others, but after several months the committee still had no indication from the Lord that we had found the person of His choice.
Around the middle of November, the church leadership called for a special Sunday night of prayer, specifically to seek the leading of the Lord in the candidate process. It was right after that meeting that we received the resume of Rev. Brian Rockwell. He had not been seeking a change from his current pastorate, but after a few people suggested that he consider FACT, God confirmed in his heart the thought that he should submit his resume to FACT as a matter of obedience. This seemed a direct answer to the prayers on that Sunday night.
Brian accepted our invitation to candidate and that Sunday the congregation had the opportunity to meet him and hear him preach. We took a straw vote of the congregation, and 85% were in favor of the Elders extending a call to him. Taking this into consideration, the Search Committee and the Elder Board overwhelmingly approved doing so.
When I notified the District Superintendent about the results of the vote, he was surprised at how great a majority the vote represented. He remarked that most churches the size and complexity of First Alliance would have a much lower vote. The vote being that high was another sign of confirmation from God confirming through the congregation that Brian was His choice to become the lead pastor.
He and Jessica have accepted the call and plan to transition to ministry at First Alliance in the middle of March. We want to do all we can to help them in the transition and welcome them warmly to First Alliance.
Many of us are excited about their coming. But we do want to be sensitive to those who conscientiously expressed a feeling that, for whatever reason, Rev. Rockwell was not the person of God’s choosing. Does that mean that you missed the voice of the Lord? Not necessarily. Remember the first great decision the early church had to make at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15? There were strong opinions on both sides and vigorous debate, but after Peter spoke from his experience, and Paul and Barnabas testified of God’s working in their ministry, and the leader James formulated a decision, the apostles, elders, and the whole church came together in agreeing to move in the same direction. There was unity despite that fact that there was not uniformity in their opinions.
We have an opportunity now to manifest that same kind of unity. Though some of you may not be happy with the decision of the vast majority and the church leadership, we can recognize that God has apparently led us in the choice of Rev. Rockwell. We can agree to support him and move together in the direction of furthering the mission and ministry of First Alliance. We all want to see this church become all that God wants it to be, don’t we? We will see God do that, as we yield our wills to His will, and as we joyfully serve Him together as biblical, loving, Spirit-filed disciples as this local body of believers.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.