I typically credit Rose Bud with being my first ministry experience, but in fact, there were a couple before this. I did an internship at the Central Church of Christ in Sarasota, Florida, where I helped Terry Reeves work with the youth, but the first place I ever preached was at the Leonard Church of Christ near Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee.
It was a small crowd, but they were very supportive and friendly, despite my mediocre preaching. The building was located beside beautiful rolling hills, and I don't know if I've ever seen a prettier location to have worship. Before getting hired at Rose Bud as a full-time preacher, I had spoken a grand total of 5 times, I believe; 4 at Leonard, and once on a Sunday night at the Gladstone Church of Christ in Nashville. Leonard got me to come out a few times during the summer to give some relief to their normal preacher, who was a full-time school teacher.
I was hunting for pictures from youth group events to get printed up, and I came across these. It brings back some great memories. This little congregation was founded very near the beginning of the Restoration Movement.
The first time I preached, I insisted on going by myself. The second time, both sets of my grandparents, as well as my parents came along. This was the summer of 2003, and I was getting ready to graduate in December. I had been working with my friend Ed doing lawn care, which explains my abnormally dark tan.
One of my favorite things about this church is that they still have working outhouses! Fortunately, they had added one inside, too, but I really got a kick out of this, and was sure to pose with it while I was there. After church, we'd go to some fantastic meat & 3 restaurant that had incredible home made pies.
I need to get back in touch with these folks. It would be good to go out and see them again. I think it would be especially neat to get some of my young men from church to go out and help with the worship one day. We'll see...
But for now, I'm enjoying a bit of nostalgia.