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As a little boy growing up in a Christian home, I knew I wanted to speak in front of people. Although I was incredibly shy I would practice preaching in my room, giving the weather with a world map behind me, or sharing the breaking news. I knew I had a gift, but didn’t know how to share it with the world I was so afraid of. Some of that fear came from dysfunction at home, some from an unhealthy church environment, and some from sexual identity issues I didn’t know how to deal with. College came along and helped me overcome some of those fears and even equipped me to share my love for public speaking. Unfortunately, also came some bad decisions and sexual struggles which left me wondering if I was even worthy to be used of God. Some called me “driftwood.” Some said I would never do more for God than “park cars.” But God became a father to me in that valley of my life more than any earthly father could, and brought new confidence into my heart that He had made me just the way He wanted. A lot of that confidence came through a young lady named Elisa who I had grown up with, who later became my wife, life partner, and mother of my two incredible boys, Donovan and Elliott and daughter, Finley.
Maybe I wasn’t supposed to be a pastor by this world’s standards. I’m certainly not qualified by educational or credential standards. I’m a sinner, no better than the congregation I preach to. I have struggles and temptations just like you that I’m not proud of, but somehow in the middle of all my mess, God chose me anyway. He put a call on my life I couldn’t run from any longer. He put a desire on my heart to do church differently. Here are my life verses found in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 that prove God often chooses the weak to do His work:
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses…For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
It’s the grace of God that saved me, changed me, and chose me to lead a body of people whom I love with all my heart, Decided Church. And it’s the power of Christ on display in my life. I’m going to change the world with it.
For His Fame,
Pastor Jim Reese
If I were to choose one word to describe myself before I became a Christian it's... dead. I was living life with no one else in view except for #1, myself. The sad thing is, I liked it that way and to this day I still struggle with that same tendency. Fortunately, my story doesn't end there: Instead of rightfully leaving me in the broken place I was, God chose to initiate a reviving relationship with me.
The great thing about this story is the fact that his pursuit of me traced back way before I wanted to 'clean up' my act or desired to live a better lifestyle. As a matter of fact, Romans 5:8 says that Christ died for me WHILE I was in the act of my sins. He accepted me as I was, baggage and all. And not only did he love me enough to save me (especially from myself), but he also loved me enough to not let me stay the same. Instead, He has helped me become the man who I was meant to be all along. Since then God has blessed me with the beautiful wife in the world, Genia Dillon, and so my current journey includes being the best Christian, husband, dad, pastor and friend I can be to those around me.
In closing, I wanted to share my life verse with you, which is 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 which reads:
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”
I am that foolish, weak, and lowly thing that God chooses to use. I want people to be able to look at my life and realize that only God could do what He’s done in and through me. That's the way only He will get the glory that He rightly deserves.
For His Fame,