• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Wyketa Shipman
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Associate Pastor, Discipleship
  • Shannon Clark
    Administrative Assistant
  • James Parker
    Chief Musician
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Christine Betts
    Assistant Director, Youth/Families
  • Ty Commons
    Youth & Families Intern
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
  • Derrick Harris
    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding & Young Families
  • Angela Sierk
    Director, Children's Ministry
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director, Nursery
  • Robert Blevins
    Director, Community Development
  • Janice Crowson
    Director, Facilities/Finance
  • Daniel Brown
    Print & Digital Media Specialist
  • General Contact
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Pastor’s Note

Of Old New Things and New Old Things

Happy New Year! I’m always a little excited at a new year and the opportunities it brings for a fresh start, for an evaluation of how life is going in a variety of areas, and for new ideas, commitments, and priorities to be embraced.

This year I’m particularly excited about the potential new role God has for me at Southwood and the opportunity to move forward together with a congregation and community I already know I love. And perhaps that’s one of the unique aspects of the recommendation our Search Committee has made: I would have in many ways a new old role, and Southwood would have an old new pastor … or something like that.

That whole “new-old” situation got me thinking about some spiritual realities I’ve seen in my own heart, in the lives of many Christians, and in the practices of many churches. We seem often to be drawn to the next best and greatest thing—whether that thing be a new dieting technique, a new approach to following Jesus, or a new church-growth strategy. We often run from one new idea to the next in a search for success, fulfillment, or meaning. 

We are a little bit like a kid on Christmas morning who runs from one bright, shiny new toy to the next one only to settle back in by December 26 with another book to read, another Lego set to build, another ball to enjoy—same as always. And the shiny new toys often never catch on (If you don’t believe me, try replacing a 2-year-old’s tattered old blanket with a nice new one!). Many times it’s the old things that we love for good reason, that we may merely need to remember why they were so important to us.

God calls his wandering people in Jeremiah 6 to come back to him, to “look for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” God says to them that they are running after all sorts of idols in search of fulfillment, and they need to return to him. They need to remember his faithfulness, walk in his ways, and remember the rest He alone provides.

Perhaps 2016 could start that way for you, too … looking for the old paths … even some new old paths. That’s how we start the year as a church in many ways as we go back to the foundations of who God has called us to be—those who experience and express grace, who love God and love our neighbors, just as Jesus said. One great example of that is the Express Grace Conference this month. We’ll have a new speaker this year, you may meet a new ministry partner, but it will be the same old message of the gospel of Jesus Christ changing our hearts and moving us to show the grace we have received to others here in Huntsville and around the world. Don’t miss this great chance to learn and to consider where God might be calling you to serve Him in a new old way!

What other new old paths might you take this year? A new way to love your neighbors, a renewed commitment to the fellowship of God’s people, or a new zeal for the very old path of God’s Word are all opportunities to do the same old things in a new way in a new year. Let’s not get distracted by shiny new toys or make the Christian life overly complicated. It is, after all, the “old, old story of Jesus and his love” that we all still need every day.