Sunday, July 2, 2017

When I first came to the Northeast church of Christ in July of 1983, I could never have imagined that I would still be here in 2017. Next Sunday, the Lord willing, I will begin my 35th year with this great church. I had the privilege of working with brother Malcolm Hill for 29 of those years; I doubt that there have ever been two preachers that have worked together for a longer period of time. I have worked with brother David Hill (in one capacity or another) for all of those years.  

I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best men anywhere as elders. These men always took the office seriously, and have sought to oversee, guide, and feed the flock as directed by God in His Word. Among those, Clay Loftis, Troyce Cavender, and Malcolm Hill have gone to their reward. We still miss their presence, but believe Heaven will be brighter because of these men and others like them. Roy Deaver also served as an elder in the early days, but I did not have the privilege of working under him. I can say though, that brother Roy was one of my favorite preachers. The present eldership (Oliver Anderson, Ernie Cavender, David Hill, & Mike Wheeler) continues in the same pattern as these that have gone on. Brother Anderson is the longest-serving elder; he has been serving from the beginning of the congregation and continues till this day. I know of no man that better exemplifies the qualities of a Christian than brother Anderson. He is highly esteemed and loved by this congregation.  

The reason that Northeast has stayed strong in the faith and true to the doctrine of Christ is due to the strong leadership that we have always enjoyed. Along with these men, we have some of the finest men you will find anywhere serving as deacons. They are more than just deacons on paper; they do the work of deacons. And as Paul told Timothy, “They that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 3:13).

What is the future of the Northeast church? Only God knows for sure, but as long as we continue to do His will, He has promised to be with us and bless us. Just recently brother Anderson observed, “We have more love in this congregation than we have ever had.” The members truly do care for one another. We enjoy being together. We enjoy worshipping God. We look forward to spending eternity in heaven together.  

Thanks to all of you for putting up with me all of these years. I have grown with you as we have worked together. We are not the largest church in this area, but I believe we are one of the best. We have been blessed with folks coming our way from time to time that fit right in with us as we strive to please God, grow spiritually first, and then the numbers. 

I would like to mention so many of those who have gone on to their reward, but there are just too many. I would just encourage each of us to live in such a way that we can be united with all those who have died in Christ. As we sing, “How beautiful heaven must be”, and “Won’t that be a happy meeting.”

Paul M. Wilmoth