Last night was a very special night for PCC. Last night, we honored Jimmy and Brenda Boggs.
I couldn't be there (I'll talk about why tomorrow), so I thought I'd take a minute on this forum and do what many did last night - share my own experience with them and why they are unique at PCC.
The Boggs' first came to PCC a few years ago. That I cannot remember the exact moment is notable, because they came and checked out our church without an agenda. They didn't compare everything with their previous church and tell us how we were better or worse than that. They didn't criticize or even offer advice for improvements. They took the time to get to know us a little and make sure they understood.
THEN, they helped. They plugged in and started serving. Their attitudes were always positive. And it quickly became evident to me that Jimmy and Brenda were the kinds of people that filled your bucket. After being with them for a few minutes, you walked away feeling better about yourself, better about your circumstances, and more optimistic that you'd be able to overcome whatever challenges you faced.
I heard Jimmy share the story of Weatherford Memorial Baptist Church. Weatherford sits on the corner of Belt Blvd and Hull Street. It was, at one time, in the center of a thriving suburban Richmond community. But slowly, the community changed, became much more urban, and church members moved out to Chesterfield and other outlying areas. The church declined in attendance. More importantly, it ceased to be relevant to the urban, largely African American community that surrounded the church. Eventually, it became clear to Jimmy and Brenda that a dramatic shift had to happen. Either the church had to change and adapt in order to reach the people around the property OR it would die. And it could die in 2 ways: a slow, pathetic death as one member after another left or passed away until finally there wasn't enough money to keep the lights on; OR, it could die in such a way that left a huge legacy - continuing the Kingdom work that it began many years before.
Jimmy and Brenda Boggs were major voices at Weatherford, leading the church to disband and give the entire property to St. Paul's Baptist Church, a huge, predominantly African American church. Their hope was that Lance Watson (Senior Pastor there) and his team could do something for the Kingdom with the building. And did that ever happen. Almost immediately after St. Paul's launched it's satelite campus in that building (becoming a multi-site church with video teaching), over 1,000 people from the surrounding community were there every weekend worshipping and learning about God!
Because Jimmy and Brenda are two of the most forward, innovative, creative thinkers around. And their eye is always on what God is stirring up. They aren't held back by 'the way we've always done it', but are motivated by "what's Biblical" and "What will be effective at accomplishing what we set out to do"
So, one day a couple of years ago, we're in the hallway of Powhatan High School loading trailers after church and thinking about our move to our new building. Jimmy subtly mentions to me that he feels a continued presence on the eastern end of the county or in western Chesterfield is important. I get a little animated, "After SIX years of loading this trailer. SIX YEARS of unloading it. SIX YEARS of pulling it. We're all tired of it. After all that, who in the world is going to keep doing it???"
Jimmy never missed a beat. Without any hint of condescension, Jimmy simply said, "I will." I'll never forget that conversation for the rest of my life. It sounded a whole lot like Isaiah's word in Is 6 when God asks, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" and Isaiah replies, "Here am I. Send me." And Jimmy proves it every Sunday, aches and pains not withstanding, Jimmy is there, hauling equipment into and out of the movie theater at Westchester, with a smile on his face, thankfulness to God in his heart, passion for people his motivator, and always a great attitude.
Jimmy and Brenda Boggs are two of the most sacrificial people I've ever met. They give and give and give some more. Both of them are highly respected leaders, so that when they speak, we listen. They've earned credibility through good leadership and sheer grit, and I'm personally a better pastor and leader because of them. It has been a privilege to learn from them and serve them here at PCC these past few years.
PCC would not be the same without them, and I thank God that He sent them here.
Way to Go, Jimmy and Brenda. We love you!