Several counselors told me not to move to Terre Haute in the fall of 2011. Yet, one man give me a different perspective. He is the reason I am here today (or maybe it’s his fault I’m here today.😀).
I would like to introduce you to my pastor. His name is Thom Justice. He serves Mesquite Bible Church of Mesquite, Texas. He has been there for about 11 years now. He has five children, a wonderful wife, Karen, and he loves to run.
Pastor Thom was instrumental in me proposing to Ashley.
In October 2007 I didn’t know where I stood with Ashley. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to get married or head to Africa for missions. My pastor Thom walked me through relating well to Ashley. Time after time I walked into his office worried about my future and he help me to think through everything in detail. He diffused my worry, listened and gave me perspective.
The first week of November 2011 Ashley told me this over the phone:
“I feel like God is OK with me choosing to either do missions or marry you. So, if you want to propose to me sometime you’re welcome to.”
I made two phone calls immediately after getting off the phone with her. The first phone call was to make sure the ring I had picked was still available from the jeweler in Winchester. The second phone call was to Pastor Thom.
Pastor Thom has the God-given gift to listen closely and then help you process what’s going on in your life. He has a well ordered mind that he uses to think clearly through the issues of life.
Thanks to his wise counsel Ashley said yes to my proposal at Thanksgiving that year. (It might have also helped that I proposed at one in the morning but that’s another story.)
Pastor Thom modeled a faithful pastor
Over five years I was probably more like a teenager than a graduate level student. I questioned so many things that Pastor Tom did and how he preached. Yet, every time I asked him questions he had well thought out reasons for what he did. He was also extremely gracious to an inexperienced seminary student.
One year there were two suicides in our church. I cannot imagine living through that as a pastor. Yet, Pastor Thom showed me how to carefully minister one day at a time. He was faithful and consistent and loving. He is still at the church and both of those families still attend as well. I can only imagine how much of a blessing his faithful ministry is to them. It’s not that he had an extraordinary gift as a counselor. He just knew how to serve consistently and faithfully.
Pastor Thom followed a 25 year minister and lived to tell about it!
It was fall of 2007 when the drop began. About a year earlier Pastor Thom had taken the position at MBC. Following a 25 year minister is brutal by any standards. Everyone loved the former pastor.
Statistically a church always drops by about 25% when a long-term pastor leaves.
That’s exactly what happened at MBC. Attendance and finances dropped through no fault of Pastor Thom.
I will never forget the model of his faithful service at that time. He showed me that in the middle of a storm you need to be faithful at the wheel. You need to carefully and wisely lead to serve your church when things are falling apart.
11 years later MBC is a healthy church. It is not perfect, but then no church is. It has strength becasue of hard work by Pastor Thom and other leaders.
Pastor Thom showed me how to be a father.
He is a model of intentional parenting. I have huge amounts of respect for how he loves his family carefully. He takes time to thoughtfully planned on how he is raising each one of his five kids. It’s hard to “put towards the kind of intentional, thoughtful father he is. But he has really challenged me to be more proactive in facing the worlds issues with regards to my children.
Pastor Thom showed me how to be a husband
Over the last five years of being a pastor in Terre Haute he has been the biggest advocate of taking care of Ashley. Every time we talk he always challenges me in new ways to look out for my wife. I appreciate that.
Thom Justice has the intelligence of a professor yet he chooses the pastor. He has not experienced at church that explodes in growth. He has not written a best-selling book. He has simply faithfully serving his church and his family over the long haul. May I model this type of faithfulness.
Six years ago several professors try to talk me out of coming to Terre Haute. They had reservations about my church situation (not worth mentioning here). Yet Pastor Thom Justice is the man who challenged me to sit down and consider the whole picture. I am so thankful I did and came.
Life in Terre Haute has not been a cakewalk. But coming here and learning to serve faithfully over the long haul has been such a blessing. I am super grateful to be here and thankful for the model I have in my pastor, Thom Justice.