In April 2016, as I mentioned in our last blog, we had just received the full approval to move forward with a church plant in the Verdae area. The certainty of knowing where the Lord was calling us to serve provided a great amount of clarity for me as a church planter. But it also presented the next challenge – where will we meet?!?
In the early stages of a church plant it is important to have a location to conduct Bible studies. And we hoped that the Lord might open up a door in the heart of Verdae to do just that. I wasn’t sure what options were available, but I did know where to start – Trecy Watson.
Trecy was one of my very first swim coaches back in 1993 when I was an 8-and-under for the Gower Swim Team. I still remember his blue jeep sitting in the Gower parking lot as I would show up for practice. His passion for Gower was infectious, and he always took the time to sit with us at Zaxby’s after every Thursday night swim meet.
In the years since then, Trecy and I have intersected at different times. He always wanted to catch up and see how things were going. So when I thought about where I should start in the Verdae area, I immediately knew that I had to call him first.
Trecy and his brother-in-law Rush Baker Caldwell own Palmetto Family Orthodontics. (I still remember Rush Baker anchoring the senior relay for Gower, and his wife, Mary Dupre, teaching us how to do the Macarena!) I wasn’t looking to use their facility because, honestly, I had no expectation that an orthodontist’s office might have such a space. I simply called Trecy to have lunch and see what ideas he might have for me to find a spot in Verdae.
We met at Moe’s on Haywood Road, and Trecy asked me all about the church plant. Our plans. Our hopes. Our calling. And our needs. After lunch he told me to ride over to their office and see some other people. When we got there he showed me their “Upper Room” – a large meeting space on the second story of their building. He said, on that very first day, that the space was ours whenever we wanted to use it – for free! I couldn’t believe it!
Before I left that afternoon I had a key to the facility, the code to the alarm system, and another light that the Lord had turned on for us. It was yet another example of how the Lord was making exceptionally clear where He wanted this church. And I knew that afternoon that Palmetto Family Orthodontics was exactly where Verdae Presbyterian Church was going to be birthed.
In the last 18 months we have used their space for a number of things. Tuesday night Bible studies. Sunday night planning meetings. New members classes. And our first three “preview” services in June, July, and August of 2017. I can honestly say that Verdae Pres. would not be where it is without Palmetto Family Orthodontics, Trecy Watson, Rush Baker Caldwell, and Clare Jones. Sure, the Lord could have used something else. But He didn’t. He used this group of people in this space.
So as I consider the beginnings of our church it is hard not to see the Lord’s fingerprints on this all the way back in 1993. It was no accident that Trecy was my coach and that he took such an interest in my life. I have used one of my mom’s favorite pictures as the cover for this blog because I see it differently now. It isn’t just a young swimmer with his coach. It is also one of the earliest seeds for Verdae Presbyterian Church. Of course Trecy and I didn’t know it when the picture was taken. But God did. God knew exactly what He was doing!
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” – Romans 11:33