This weekend Central Christian Church turns 50. A church plant in Las Vegas, that has so many ministries, amazing staff and volunteers. I first got connected with Central through Lori (wife of Senior Pastor, Jud Wilhite) when she made a comment on a video I’d made for her friend, Brandi showing how I put duvet covers on duvets. From there, Lori welcomed me into Leading and Loving It – a community for Pastors’ Wives. Obviously as an unmarried woman I’m not anybody’s wife, but she let me be included as a woman in leadership and I was so very, very grateful.
Around that time, the church I had become part of was talking about making some major restructuring changes and my pastoral support basically vanished within about 6 months. I tried to keep going, not wanting to be ‘one of those people’ who leaves a church just because the going gets tough. As I was given more responsibility in ministry, it became more difficult. I was giving out spiritually but not much was going in. Most Sundays I’d go to church smiling and drive home in tears. In winter I’d get sick from going to church so I stopped going to services to try and keep myself well. Central filled that gap for me through their online services. Their videos made me laugh so much (ahh, Listen to your lady!) and I fell in love with Lenny and Rita. . I’ll never forget one particularly tough week when I was close to quitting when in my e-mail box was a video message from Lenny and Rita that Lori had recorded and sent to me filled with words of love and encouragement. Lori was someone I turned to for wisdom when it became clear I needed to leave. I didn’t like the way some people were gossiping and bitching about the leadership and had to check myself for times when I felt I was slipping into those kind of ways out of anger and hurt. I’m thankful for her wise advice to help me try and leave ‘well’.
I’ve heard lots of ministers and pastors preach that in their church ‘it’s ok not be ok’. Most churches that say that – soon get proven wrong by their response and actions to people not being ‘ok’. I think Central is one of the few that have the integrity to actually mean and live it.
And I’m thankful.
Happy birthday Central!