This year marks the beginning of my 29th year of serving as Senior Pastor of Grove Church and, as that old saying goes, “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.” This year also marks the beginning of a new chapter for Grove Church and our community. It’s been a long time coming, but we are reigniting the promise!
In a few short months, Grove Church will celebrate the opening of our new Family Life Center and, as it nears completion, the lessons that I’ve learned along the way are priceless. They also serve as confirmation of God’s blessings when you know Him, seek Him and are obedient to Him. You see, being blessed comes with its share of burdens. People don’t always know the whole story; they only see the glory. The struggles and decisions that leaders must and should make – oftentimes silently and alone – come at a cost, but they also come with the blessings of serving God and serving God’s people.
As the community witnesses the rise of a new facility in the heart of the Portsmouth community, I thank God for this blessing; not for myself or for acquiring more real estate, but for His vision, His guidance and His love. Back in 2008, the decision NOT to build a new sanctuary on 33-acres of land that Grove purchased was an unpopular decision among some Grove members.
If you will recall, 2008 was the year that our nation experienced an economic recession – banks closed, many individuals lost their jobs and eventually their homes went into foreclosure. Some individuals even stopped giving to the church – because they had little, reduced or no income and because of those changes, were less generous with their resources as we faced an uncertain economic future. Churches across the nation – some historic – that had leveraged their churches and real estate, lost everything. On the other hand, Grove was blessed to survive this economic downturn. We didn’t build a new sanctuary; instead, we were able to help others – even some churches – that didn’t fare so well. We also paid off the 33-acres of land, cleared it and installed the required infrastructure. Today we own that land, outright! And, because of our obedience, we are better prepared to meet the needs of the people in our community.
Peace and power.
© Dr. Melvin O. Marriner,