Yesterday I spent the day in New Millford, CT celebrating 10 years of ministry with a client and good friend, Pastor Frank Santora. His church dedicated the weekend services to Frank and his family for his faithfulness to his calling and to Faith Church. I met Frank 8 years ago shortly after he had taken on a very difficult situation where even the most seasoned of leaders might not have survived. But Frank not only survived, he went on to build one of the largest churches in New England.
During the service I was thinking back to my first visit with Frank and all the years we have worked together. We have been through three capital campaigns, a building campaign, one major relocation, a name change (from Bright Clouds Ministries–ok, that was not a hard one to do), hundreds of creative sessions and several strategic plans.
Through all these years, I have seen Frank’s faith and willingness to continue to learn and trust God as hallmarks of his ministry. New England is not an easy place to grow a church; well, I would even venture to say that it’s a hostile environment to the message of the gospel. But I’m thankful for Frank, his unwaverign commitment to preach the gospel, his tenacity to continue to push against so many barriers, and mostly for his friendship over the years, letting me speak into his life and ministry.
The New Yorker did a 9-page spread on Faith Church last november. I wrote about it here. While they got a lot of the facts correctly, they could not get the heart of the matter. God looked for someone to stand in the gap 10 years ago and he found a young Italian who was willing to trust Him and put everything on line.
I’m encouraged to know that when we trust God, He shows up–even in Connecticutt. I’m proud of my friend, Frank for always pushing forward even in the midst of impossible odds, always trusting that the God who called him to lead this congregation has great things planned for them, and for never settlling for the status quo. Days like yesterday remind me of how rewarding my job really is.