By: Justin Braun
How and where you are serving?
I’ve served as the Senior Pastor of Rockfish Valley Baptist Church (RVBC) since graduating from SEBTS (M.Div. in expository preaching) in May of 2013. RVBC is a small church nestled in the nook of a retirement community known as Stoney Creek, which is part of Wintergreen Ski Resort. Our congregation is small and mostly comprised of men and women who have retired, though we do have members from every decade of life.
Prayer concerns and praises:
We are grateful for the maturity and growth God has given through the faithful preaching of the word. The congregation has matured in its theological knowledge and deepened its love for God. We have voted to move to a plurality of elders in the fall and recently began practicing church discipline for the first time in the church’s history.
Consequently, these are the same matters we covet your prayers on. We pray that the transition to a plurality of elders will be smooth and that our practice of church discipline is in accord with what has been taught in Scripture. Additionally, we need prayer for our local evangelism. Our culture is very isolated and pantheism/animism is the leading worldview. Lastly, as the Lord Jesus continues to make us healthier, my hope is that he will develop a greater passion for international missions among us.
Ways you would encourage future students of Southeastern:
· Build relationships with professors. Learn from their lives, not just their classes. One of the most valuable things I learned at SEBTS was gentleness and I learned it from rubbing shoulders with Tony Merida, not his teaching.
· Don't just learn the material, but develop a love for it. Learn not because you have to, but because it is a joy. Don’t put down your Bible in favor of some extra study/writing time. Give relationship with God priority in your life. Refuse to worship at the altar of GPA.
· Spend more time with church members than your classmates. Befriend the oldest person in your congregation and the youngest. Visit the elderly woman who lost her husband once a week. Babysit for married couples. Love people and learn to love people that aren’t like you.