Broken Pastor, Broken Church

(originally published in Leadership Journal )

My calendar for the summer and beyond was blank. I usually planned my preaching schedule for a full year, but beyond the second Sunday in June — nothing. I had no ideas. I sensed no leading from the Spirit. But it was only January, so I decided to try again in a couple of months. Again, nothing. By then, I suspected the Lord was up to something.

A member of my church had told me the year before, “Don’t die in this town.” I knew what she meant. She didn’t envision Columbus as the peak of my ministry. Columbus was a county-seat town with three universities nearby, and, for Mississippi, cosmopolitan. I felt Columbus, First Baptist, and I were a good match. The church grew. We were comfortable together. My family was settled. Our sons and daughter had completed most of their schooling, and after twelve years, they called Columbus home. My wife, Margaret, and I had weathered a few squalls, but life was good — a little quiet, perhaps even stagnant, but good.

And suddenly I could hear the clock ticking. Did God have something more for me?

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3 thoughts on “Broken Pastor, Broken Church

  1. I will forever be grateful to God for Bro. Joe McKeever coming to our church, and God using him to encourage a broken church and helping us heal in a time of sadness and trouble. I am grateful for Bro. Joe’s love and encouragement to my own family and for his friendship. I will always consider him my christian brother and father figure. He and my dad have so much in common, and Bro. Joe is from North Carolina just like my dad. Thank you Bro. Joe for your love, encouragement and friendship, you will always be very important to me, and I love you.

    ginger davis

  2. Brother McKeever,

    I was recently asked to leave a church in central North Carolina.

    My have and I have also taken day trips towards Pilot Mountain and Mount Airy during the six months of our severance.

    Your article spoke to my heart and encouraged me, especially when you mentioned the new opportunity that opened up just in time.

    Please pray for us that God would open another door of utterance in my life as well.

  3. Dr. McKeever,

    My family was members of your congregation in Columbus, MS. I was blessed many times by your sermons. I was sorry to read of your trials in North Carolina, but maybe it will serve as encouragement to other pastors. You have a wonderful family, and I am glad that the Lord has blessed your ministry.

    Donna Lancaster Newby

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