“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until
the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:6 
     Paul’s words to the Philippians began to penetrate my heart as Interim Pastor Fred Davis proclaimed that God’s call on our lives is not negotiable. His message focused on the distinct plan and purpose God has for each of us as He invites us to participate in His Kingdom. Just minutes earlier, we had discussed the same topic in our Sunday School class. The lesson and supporting resources were developed by Ray Pritchard. It was obvious to me that Pritchard’s Biblical teachings had challenged my complacency and prepared my heart for the message God had given Pastor Davis for me and other “Jonahs” in the worship service who were in denial about God’s call. Finally, after fourteen years of running, it was time to yield to God’s call on my life.
     To fully comprehend the significance of God’s persistent call to establish an innovative service ministry in the Lakeway area, it is important to understand the following: In 1992, I experienced an impression from the Lord to begin a non-denominational ministry in association with other believers from surrounding churches in White Pine and throughout the Lakeway area. Our mission was to create a comprehensive service ministry for the purpose of assisting and equipping hurting, needy families in our community. I approached several compassionate individuals and asked them for their assistance with developing and launching the CARE ministry project. (CARE is an acronym for Community Assistance Relief Effort.) We met as a group several times to discuss our mission and project strategy. However, we continually struggled with the challenges associated with implementing the ambitious community assistance project. Consequently, our noble project failed because of the seemingly insurmountable challenges and difficult circumstances we faced. The community service ministry, so desperately needed in White Pine and throughout portions of Jefferson and Hamblen County, ended up in the good intentions file and never became a reality.


     Now, some fourteen years later, God’s desire and call to reach out to hurting, hopeless people had intensified. Once again I sensed a manifestation of God’s constant, unconditional love for needy people in my heart. I also realized that His invitation to serve others through a new ministry model was still open. The time had come to complete the good work He began. 
     Over the next several months I followed God’s call as He gently and faithfully provided the milestones I needed to affirm what He desired to do in my life and in the community through the CARE ministry. Some of the milestones include, but aren’t limited to the following supernatural events: 
     God revealed the location He wanted the new work to take place. Initially, I knew that the old shopping center located in the center of White Pine was the location for the new ministry. God helped me overcome my apprehension by creating a divine appointment. On a Wednesday morning, as I approached the only traffic light in White Pine, I saw the owner of the shopping center standing near the intersection. I pulled over and we had a conversation about what I believed God wanted to use his building for. Upon hearing my words, he seemed astonished and a bit confused. Nevertheless, after several conversations and answered prayers, he agreed to sell the building for a substantially reduced price. Note: God also sent a man who provided all of the money for the significant down payment required to purchase the property. (He initiated the conversation and ultimately offered his generous gift without solicitation.) 
     While on a backpacking trip in the Smoky Mountains, I met Pastor David Barnett, the man God had already prepared to lead the new ministry. It was God’s plan for us to meet that Easter weekend in order for us to begin the new “Kingdom” journey He had been preparing us for over the years. God’s leadership gave us the strength to make difficult decisions and overcome the inherent challenges associated with both of our personal, spiritual and professional lives.

     Upon asking God for confirmation concerning the new work I believed He was calling me to, He answered my prayer as I hiked along the Appalachian Trail alone. God affirmed His call by showing me three trees that looked like the crosses on Golgotha and by speaking to my heart of His love and the fact that I must ultimately choose to trust and believe Him or refuse and reject His will.
     The following Saturday, God impressed me to call a friend who serves as a praise and worship leader at a church in Knoxville. On the particular day I called, Scott shared with me that he had recently spent time on English Mountain sitting in the rain, praying that God would improve the difficult conditions he was experiencing as a staff member at his church or allow him to move to a new work. We both soon realized that God was at work as I shared with him about the new ministry opportunity and asked him to consider being a part of it. He was blown away by God’s timely and specific reply to his prayer. 
     As the ministry continues to evolve, God continually demonstrates His power and provision for the work He has called us to complete. He consistently provides the people, the equipment, the financial resources and the grace we need for the new work He has called us to. Through this experience I have been reminded of one of Ray Pritchard’s principles, “God supplies for what He demands”. He has; and I am convinced that He always will! 

written by William “B.J.” Jenkins, Elder