This is not the first time, nor will it be the last that God asked me to walk on water. It all started while working at a Summer Camp. I was only 18 years old when God called my number. He said, “Craig, I want you to follow me wherever I lead and do whatever I tell you to do.” I felt such an overwhelming call from above and all I knew to do was say, “Yes, I Surrender.” That day back in 1993 started the greatest, most rewarding journey I could ever imagine. I accepted God’s call into full time Christian ministry. I had absolutely no idea what lay ahead. I decided that from that moment forward I would walk on water if God told me to.
Shortly after my surrender, God led me to become a youth minister at a local church. What’s a youth minister? Someone who loves Jesus, loves teenagers and stays very busy. Over my eleven years as a youth pastor, I ate enough school lunches to kill a man and spent countless hours pouring into the lives of teenagers everywhere. Some of those students who are now adults still bring a smile to my face. I will never regret the sweat, tears and impact made during those times.
Then, just when I was getting pretty comfortable, God called me to another adventure. God called me back to South Carolina to start a church in my hometown. My wife and I left all certain income with three boys ages 5, 3, & 1. Within six months after we launched the church, by God’s grace I was pastoring the largest church in the Upper Dorchester County Area. I’ll be the first to admit, I had no idea what I was doing. That didn’t stop God from reaching hundreds over the next five years of ministry.
Most of you know that I’ve been a hospice chaplain here in Walterboro for the past three years. I plan to continue coming alongside the bedside of many patients and families helping them find peace in the midst of death. But, once again God has called me to walk on water. When I say I walk on water, I mean God has called me to do something that without His help can’t be done.
God has led me to start another church that will attempt to reach those that most churches find unreachable. There are nearly 200 churches throughout Colleton County, yet 75% (Nearly 30,000) around us attend none of them. With God’s help Refuge Church will reduce that number. Our relevant teaching, kid friendliness, “Come as you are” atmosphere, and sincere compassion will take many by surprise. Many will be touched by a place that truly cares for them and their loved ones. Once again, I am confident of God’s ability, while knowing I can’t walk on water alone.
I will not lie and say the past 20 years of ministry have been easy. My family has been uprooted many times. I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone every day. I’ve hit the wall of burnout on more than just a few occasions. However, every time God has called my name I’ve obeyed and seen God do amazing things as a result.
I would like to ask you all to keep me and Refuge Church in your prayers. We begin morning worship 10:30a.m. Sunday, January 19th at the Colleton Recreation Center. Our New Message Series is called “Moving Forward.” If you don’t have a church home, you ought to consider joining us. If you do have a church home, I pray you will remain faithful.