From Lynn Crawford, Associate Pastor
This past weekend, First Baptist Church celebrated officially licensing me for ministry. While I wrestled with the implications of what it meant for me personally a year ago (my obligations and responsibilities as I step into a pastoral role as well as if it is Biblical for me to do so as a woman), something I didn’t anticipate it would do is that it caused me to reflect on where I’m going and where I’ve been. I find that I have much to be thankful for and absolutely marvel at how God’s plan for my life has unfolded thus far.
I grew up an only child in a loving, Christian home and have distinct memories of begging to go to church at a young age, loving God in a very deep-seated place in my soul for as long as I can recall. I remember many, many times in my life begging God to use me however He saw fit, and in more recent years have found great peace in knowing that what God has in store is so much better than any future I could possibly contrive.
I took four years of private piano lessons before high school, then once in high school took up percussion, and participated in as many band and choir experiences as my schedule would allow.
At the age of 15, God plopped the music ministry of a very small church I attended into my lap. I protested that I was too young and a girl and it was wrong for me to “lead” people four and five times my age. But as I was the only one in the church with musical experience, they lovingly assured me of their patience and that God had everything under control. So I began leading solo Sunday morning worship and working with their choir, and they began (unbeknownst to me) teaching me how to lead.
Three days before my graduation, I left high school to tour with the Continental Singers (a group that performed choreographed and chorally arranged Christian music in local churches around the world). I met Rhys on my second tour in 2003 and we began a relationship soon after. Through what I can now only describe as divine providence, God brought us to Port Angeles (1,200+ miles away from our Southern California homes) to settle and to start our family.
We began attending Independent Bible Church and I quickly became involved with one of their praise teams where I learned how to play music from chord charts rather than sheet music. Rhys and I also helped to lead the praise team for their middle school ministry and in my time of being aboard, young married woman with no children, I volunteered in the office of their music director where I became familiar with the ins-and-outs of how music ministry happens in a big church.
A few years later, my husband’s fellow co-worker, Chris Cummings, approached him, asking him for help with a year-long project of moving First Baptist Church’s sound board from a small closet out to its current location on the edge of the balcony. We reluctantly accepted to devote 2009 to this task and began attending services here in order to enable Rhys to better help with the project, but still maintained our mid-week commitments at IBC. Over the course of that year, one by one, God slowly released us from our responsibilities at IBC. In December, with the project nearly done, we found ourselves at a crossroads: Go back to IBC and force our way back into the over-staffed ministries we loved with the people we had come to love or stay at First Baptist and start over where the need was much more dire.
We prayed, searched our hearts, decided to stay, and continued to prayerfully consider how God would use us here in what we considered, at the time, to be a “mission field.” Rhys continued volunteering with sound and after a year of prompting by Wayne Roedell, I finally joined the praise team.
As things began to shift with our service and our worship style, we came in need of a new praise team leader in December of 2010. I found myself once again, stepping into a leadership role with the praise team that I was unable to escape.
As terrified as I was, it was the first time I felt like I was beginning to see God answer my, “Lord, what do You want me to do with my life?” questions and see that He had the answers and had been preparing me, life experience by life experience, all along.
I continued in that role until July of 2016 when I had the joy and blessing of coming on to staff full-time and adding the organization of Small Groups, Serve Team, and various special events to my responsibilities. I was more than a little surprised that God might want to use me for something else besides music (which is where all of my “training” has been).
As I consider all of this and count the number of times when I have felt unprepared and unqualified for the work God has set in front of me, I am amazed to see that each time God has stepped in and been “enough” when I was never enough. Every single time He was faithful to do more than I could ever imagine. And I get the feeling He’s not done yet. With me or with you.
Will you join me in continuing to say, “Lord, whatever it is you want for my life, for our church, I will do it. I hold nothing back.”?
Let’s not settle for anything less than exactly what God has planned for us!