The Kingdom of God

WPC family,

It’s a joy to rejoin this magnificent staff and church family. It’s a great privilege and honor to be welcomed back to WPC. I’d like to briefly introduce myself, and then share just a fragment of what the Lord has taught me while I was in Durham. For those of you who don’t know, I grew up in middle Georgia and, upon graduating college in 2014, moved to Rock Hill to work at WPC in the Youth Ministry. It was during this time I met my wife, Lauren. We were married in 2016 at Westminster. A year later we welcomed our first child, Micah Kate into the world. Early in 2018, we departed for Durham, NC to work at Church of the Good Shepherd as the Youth Director. During the past four and a half years, we’ve had two more kids (Lucy almost 3, and Lincoln 7 months); I got to work with some incredible students, volunteers, leaders, and parents; was able to start and finish a seminary degree; and much more. The people at Good Shepherd were so impactful to me and I had the privilege of learning under a great team of pastors.

During my time at Good Shepherd, God was continuously teaching me that the Kingdom of God is slow and steady, but it’s sturdy. It felt like I was saying the words “pivot" and "change” hourly. There were moments when I thought the Youth Ministry was sunk because of my leadership (or lack thereof). The challenge of rearing small kids, co-laboring with parents to disciple teenagers, and learning how to be a loving husband was daunting. It left me feeling shaky and ineffective. But the Kingdom of God doesn’t work that way.

In Matthew 13 Jesus tells several parables about the Kingdom of Heaven, and in one he says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32) Jesus spells it out, the Kingdom of God seems small and insignificant. When you think about this speck of a seed, you don’t realize what it’s capable of. Just like you don’t know what the Lord can bring about if you will simply be faithful to sow the seed.

So, our work is not insignificant or too small. For it is the Lord who brings fruit and growth, not us. And it takes time. It’s small, it’s seemingly insignificant, but over a period of time, you begin to notice the growth. You begin to notice the change, you begin to see how the Lord has brought growth in and through you, so that the Kingdom of God may be displayed. So my friends, may we have eyes of faith to look to Christ, that no matter how small or insignificant the Kingdom of God may seem, it is a kingdom of Power. Not of this world. And the King of the Kingdom is the one who works in mysteriously small yet powerful ways. He’s at work in and through you. His promise is sturdy.

JT Hoover

Director of Families & Children

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