Read some thoughts from Wes Cooper, member of our Protege team, on his recent trip to Nashville:
Over the past few years God has given me and strengthened my desire to plant and pastor a church. On May 26th, Matt Adair and I got up around 3:30 am and drove from Watkinsville to Nashville—yes, from ville to ville. We got to Nashville early, and Matt and I spent some time catching up with a pastor. Then we headed to the building where the boot camp was held.
Bryan Loritts, a Lead Pastor through Fellowship Memphis, spoke and painted us a picture of his heart for inner-city churches and African-American leadership within the Church. Our very own Matt Adair along with several others spoke shortly about the vision God has given them. It was encouraging to hear what God has put on the hearts of leaders in the Acts 29 Network and the war they wage against Satan as he attempts to put every weapon possible to the heart of their souls: children with leukemia, spouses with terminal illnesses, prodigal children, and more. These men stood before a large group of men, not to boast of their courage or their work, but to boast in the Lord who is their hope. They did not leave me remembering their names (I had to look up the ones I told you), but they left me with realities of God’s faithfulness: reminders of how God is good, great, gracious, and glorious. These are words we have adopted within our local church, but we must not lose their definition, or we risk losing the whole purpose of the alliteration: to remember the amazing God who has invited us into His story of redemption of a sinful humanity. These men reminded me of this.
We had four speakers total on that Thursday, but it was not the teaching that hit home with me, though it was excellent teaching. That night, we went to the building a local church meets in and Matt and I hung out with a large group of people. I met a guy with a heart for racial reconciliation serving the Lord in Charllotesville, Virginia. I met students from Duke and UNC who loved Jesus and led community groups and helped with host team. I met guys who had families and had contemplated moving to Athens, Georgia. I met the whole team of guys from Fellowship Memphis. I met many different people, whom God used in many different ways to remind me of His love for His children, and his faithfulness.
I came into the trip not really wanting to leave Athens: I was drained physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I left Nashville Friday morning with Matt encouraged to see and hear of God’s reconciliation across the Southeast. To quote the genius of High School Musical, it was a reminder that “we are all in this together” as part of the body. That was my greatest takeaway, and God gave it to me at a time when I felt like I was alone and questioning the effectiveness of my ministry.