written by Brett Elder
God has blessed this church with strong leadership throughout the years. As a result, next year we enter our 100th year of ministry as a church. As we usher in a century of ministry, we can be thankful for strong leadership following God’s lead to be mindful of the opportunities He has placed in front of us.
Since the bold move to Byron Center twenty years ago, our church has had two pastors. Each provided by God “for such a time as this.” The move from ten miles away in Wyoming, MI to our current location and established footprint in Byron Center was the vision of Pastor Gary Leyendecker and a strong board and lay leadership.
Then the Lord sent Pastor John Spooner our way for six adventuresome years. During this time Pastor John championed the vision of authentic relationships and genuine community in order that RCBC—our local body of Christ—become a vivid reflection of Christ in the community where God has placed us. A church-building overhaul and bustling center of ministry activity every day of the week is the result of that faithful pursuit.
Enter Pastor Cameron Townley—our Associate Pastor and Lead Pastor Candidate. Sought after and mentored as a student intern by Pastor Gary, and cultivated by Pastor John, Pastor Cam’s potential was identified early on and has been intentionally nurtured over the eight years of his tenure with us, the first two as a pastoral intern and the following six as our Associate Pastor. Instead of recounting the many ways God has gifted Pastor Cam, it may be more appropriate to reflect on where God has placed Rush Creek in this season of its history.
The community of Byron Center barely resembles the smaller town/farm community where RCBC began building 20 years ago. Today, within a 3-mile radius of RCBC, fifteen sub-divisions are being added or expanded; many of those communities attracting young families.
Do you remember, perhaps as recently as when our church opened in Byron Center that even our general culture—not just the Church—lived by a Judeo-Christian ethic where there were absolutes recognized? Today’s culture would have us believe that nothing is black and white but all gray areas left up for grabs. Those of us who do remember that are not among Cameron’s generation and those who follow his generation. His adult and ministry life has not required a shift in thinking from a culture where Christianity framed the debate to a society where Christianity is not invited to the table.
Lest we think that the culture hasn’t caught up with conservative West Michigan, you would be surprised.
Those young families moving in next door to us?
Likely chance they may not believe what you believe to be fundamental truths.
Our own students and DropZone students?
Chances are good—as has been the pattern—that even this month our staff will be engaging in conversation with a student wrestling with gender identity or sexual orientation—terms not commonly uttered, or ideas scarcely questioned, even 10 years ago.
Our RCBC community has seen Pastor Cameron authentically provide care and nurture to those who call Rush Creek their home, to those who have grown up in the Church, even our church. He has demonstrated his desire and ability to provide care and feeding firmly rooted in Scripture.
Yet, we have been blessed with a young attentive Associate Pastor who has also deftly winsomely navigated reaching a culture increasingly comfort-able with moral ambiguity.
Rush Creek is positioned well to continue to make an impact with families in our growing community. Not because of a great strategic plan, but because of leaders and a congregation consistently hearing the call of God as stewards of the opportunities in front of us.
Cameron has been an integral part of that prayerful discernment process and vision casting over the last several years toward our mission. Regardless of the results of the congregational vote on October 13th, we are blessed with a leader such as Pastor Cameron for such a time as this.