A Church Alive
“The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:27
Recently, we spent 3 days with Pastor Clint and Rhoda Pickens, their 3 children (Caleb, Hope and Josiah) and Pillar Community Church. We wished it could have been 3 weeks. We had a very difficult time saying goodbye, especially to the little Pickens who are as sold out for Jesus as their mom and dad.
Pastor Clint and Rhoda Pickens are missionaries to Wales. Clint is from the U.S. and his wife, Rhoda, is from England. Clint has been in the U.K. since 1997. For many years, and at great personal costs, Clint and Rhoda have prayed and labored tirelessly to reach the lost for Jesus and to teach and disciple the next generation. Knowing some of their struggles and spiritual battles over the years, we were delighted to see so much life and fruit flowing from this ministry.
Pillar Community Church is a community of believers, alive and active in Swansea, Wales, and beyond. The leadership at Pillar Community Church is committed to following the Lord closely in their personal lives; creating a church environment marked by communion and compassion for one another; and reaching out to the world in a contemporary and relevant way, without compromising the Word of God. It’s a great vision statement to be sure, but we saw firsthand that the Lord is making the vision real.
Serving alongside of Clint and Rhoda are missionaries, Sol and Misha Goremano. Clint met and began discipling Sol in England when Sol was involved in youth ministry. Sol has been faithfully serving alongside of Clint for many years now. Sol met his beautiful wife, Misha, when she came to Wales from California on a mission trip. Now, the two of them are serving the Lord together. Misha and Sol shared with us that their vision is from Mathew 6:33 (seek first the Kingdom of God) and Mathew 28:20 (teaching them to observe all things). The joy of the Lord radiates from this young couple.
Friday night, we attended Rock Steady, a youth ministry led by Nigel and Leane Marshall. Nigel, Leane and their 3 children, Taylor, Georgia, and Jordan, welcomed us into their lives. Their love for the Lord and the youth was evident. In addition to the ministry at Pillar Community Church, Nigel serves with Street Pastors. Street Pastors is an inter-denominational church response in the U.K. to urban problems, whereby spiritually mature Christians engage with people on the streets between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. to care, listen, dialogue and pray.
After prayer and a time of sports, the 30 plus Rock Steady youth settled down for a thought-provoking message delivered by James New. James is definitely a gifted teacher, and adults and youth alike gave him their full attention. As a special gift, Taylor Marshall (age 12) played the guitar and sang a worship song for us. She is an amazingly gifted musician, and we pray that the Lord will open the doors for her to develop and use her gifts.
Among the people behind the scenes making it all work, Rob Jones is serving as a volunteer church administrator. Rob is a teacher and a servant, and it was great to get to know him. We also met Andy and Carys who lead Blaze Youth, and Aaron Miller who is faithfully studying and proclaiming the Word of God, and Phil Collins who is leading the street witnessing ministry. And, there are many others serving at Pillar who made us feel loved during our visit.
On Saturday, we had fun hanging out at the Pickens. Then, Clint and Rhoda went out for a date night and we stayed with the kids.
On Sunday, Sol and Misha led the church in worship, and English never sounded so good! At Pillar, the children stay in the sanctuary during worship, and we could not help but smile when we heard Caleb, Hope, and Josiah worshipping the Lord with all of their hearts.
Steve encouraged the church to keep their eyes on Jesus. He spoke concerning the danger of allowing the distractions of this world to take us away from our first love, and he challenged the church to lay down those activities and affections which are clearly not from the Lord. Following his message, two young ladies prayed to give their lives to Jesus.
Pillar Community Church has a brilliant format on Sundays.The church sits at tables of six for worship and the message. Each table is equipped with coffee and tea service. At the end of the service, fresh baked goods are delivered to the tables. Then, the folks at the tables introduce themselves to one another and discuss the 3 or 4 sermon related questions posted on the screen. We loved the format so much that we found ourselves hoping that the church does not outgrow it.
After the group discussions, we spoke to and prayed with as many of the church body as possible. We met quite a few mature Christians from different backgrounds who love Clint’s passion for the Lord, the lost, and the Word of God. We then enjoyed a delightful afternoon eating Welsh food and fellowshipping with the church leadership.
There are many doors opening for Pillar Community Church and much work to be done. We hope you will visit the church’s creative website (www.pillarcc.co.uk) and pray about getting involved in this work in Swansea, Wales.