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ONe to one: anywhere with jesus

by Keith Burden, executive secretary, National Association of Free Will Baptists. Email Keith at

LOOKING BACK, I CAN SEE GOD'S HAND directing us, although at the time I wasn’t so sure. The Lord blessed our first pastorate of more than 12 years. The congregation grew spiritually and numerically. A new building was constructed. Our debt was eliminated.

For reasons I still can’t explain, I sensed it was time to move on. Another church extended a call. I accepted.

The next three years were productive and satisfying, both personally and professionally. The church grew. Plans were made to build to accommodate that growth. I thought I would stay the remainder of my ministry. Wrong!

The denomination asked me to lead the executive office. I accepted. Leaving the pastorate was difficult. Adjusting to the new role has been even more challenging.

How do I know I made the correct choices along the way? How can I be sure I am going in the right direction? God has confirmed these decisions in a variety of ways.

For instance, developments within the executive office have proven to be providential. The agency has overcome significant financial concerns. New ministries are being developed and resources made available to pastors and churches.

The decision to relocate also proved beneficial to my wife’s health. As a result of our first move, we found a doctor who successfully diagnosed a rare condition that had affected her for years. The next move led us to a physician who was able to correct the problem. According to the doctor, her life has been lengthened significantly, and her blood pressure is now better than mine!

The new direction proved beneficial for our children. While our son-in-law attended seminary in Texas, he and our daughter often visited our church during holidays. He sometimes preached and got acquainted with the church.

He graduated from seminary in May. We moved to Nashville in August. The church called him as their pastor in October. A new building has since been constructed, and the church continues to grow.

As a result of our move, our other daughter met the man who became her husband this past December. They are actively serving Christ in a Free Will Baptist Church. Isn’t it amazing how God orchestrates the affairs of our lives?

I’m not suggesting you should quit your job and relocate. You may be exactly where God wants you. If that’s the case, stay put! However, God is nudging you to step outside your comfort zone, exercise some faith and follow His leading. You could experience that familiar refrain—Anywhere! Anywhere! Fear I cannot know; Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go.





©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists