About 12 years ago, our former pastor decided he wanted to spend more time with the young people of our church. To do so, he set aside an hour and a half every Sunday afternoon to teach a “theology class” to any interested 20-somethings. For almost everyone who attended, it was the first introduction to the world of systematic theology, worldview studies, logic, apologetics, and hermeneutics. It’s not that surprising, then, that many of the young adults who took that class over the next several years would go on to be teachers themselves, in their churches and in schools.
Consequently, one championing tenet of our church, set into motion all those years ago, has been its belief in God’s ability to use young men and women for great things and for His glory.
Of course, Scripture itself sets this precedent, as the Bible is full of young men and women who did amazing things, all for God’s glory. Timothy, who the apostle Paul appointed to help lead Ephesian Christians in the dawn of the early church, after the resurrection of Christ. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who refused to bow to a golden statue and stood tall in a fiery furnace. Esther, who risked death itself and dared to enter the court of a godless king to save an entire race of people. And still yet, we have not mentioned David, or Joseph, or Miriam, or Samuel, or Jonathan, or Jeremiah, or Mary, or the many other young men and women who chose to be obedient to God’s call.
This now brings us to our newly called head pastor, Andrew P. Summers. He may be a young man in the eyes of some, but he is also a man of godly conviction with an unabashed desire to see the gospel of Christ made manifest in this community and in this city.
So just who is this man the Lord has called to lead our ministry? Here are a few tidbits to help round out the picture:
- He’s a Tennessee Volunteers fan, something his in-laws and friends give him endless grief about.
- He’s a talented artist. Think old-school Disney meets Tim Burton.
- He’s got a real knack for impersonating voices. Once, for his then-two-year-old daughter, he improvised a conversation between Elmo and his Irish father-in-law. Let’s just say those in attendance might have had tears in their eyes from laughing so hard.
- He’s a gifted tenor. His whole family is essentially the 21st century version of the von Trapps.
- He’s an avid reader, with a memory like an elephant. (That’s basically the equivalent of a terabyte, for you millennials out there.) His favorite book is C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.
- He’s born and bred in Miami, and he loves this city and its people, for its good and its bad and its everything in between.
- He’s a loyal friend with a mean drive on the golf course.
- He’s an incredibly loving and devoted husband and father.
- And for all that, he is just a man, one who is aware of his own sinfulness before a holy God, and one who comes humbly to the pulpit each Sunday morning to preach the gospel to a dark and dying world.
It really is amazing what God can do with the humble and eager heart, no matter how young or old. It is no surprise, though, for it is this same God who has chosen what is “foolish in this world to shame the wise” (I Corinthians 1:27).
And after all, you never really do know what God might be doing in the heart of a young, 21-year-old man, flipping through a battered old copy of Mere Christianity, as he sits in the back of a theology class on a lazy Sunday afternoon.