A True Shepherd: Pastor Rick Sherer
Nationwide, the month of October is set aside to celebrate clergy and I wanted to take this time to acknowledge my Spiritual Father, Pastor Rick Sherer.
If you are a frequent WHOAments reader, you know I often mention either my church, Berith Christian Fellowship (BCF) and/or my Pastor, Rick Sherer in my posts. For example, in my Inspirational WHOAment, Keep Calm. And Focus, after LT planted the seed about me getting distracted from my writing assignment, it was Pastor Rick, being led by the Holy Spirit, whose words sealed -- ahem--unsealed the deal during a service at BCF. The references and quotes are countless because both Berith Christian Fellowship and Pastor Rick are intrical parts of my life. Week after week, month after month and year after year, Pastor Rick has deposited so many golden nuggets and heart-changing lessons into my life and I am all the better for them.
I remember the first time I attended a Berith Christian Fellowship service:
I grew up in my family's church, but once I relocated to the East Bay, I stopped attending regularly. I wanted to attend a church closer to home and although I regularly visited a local church, I hadn't become a member. I was still searching for something. So when my now husband, LT, invited me to a church he had been attending (and subsequently joined), I accepted the invitation. With Jazmyn in tow, I decided to give this Berith place a try.
Once we got to the campus, we were greeted by a woman who had one of the prettiest smiles. She gave me a tight, welcoming hug and it was as if I had known her longer than the few minutes I had. It was...nice.
Upon entering the doors of the sanctuary, I noticed immediately that Berith was not like any other church I had attended. Where were the fancy hats? The choir? The Deacons? The Mothers' Board? All the things I was used to seeing in other churches. Where were the ladies who competed to top each other in their Sunday's finest; and the men who wore theirs? There were some people who dressed up, like me. But the majority of the people had on "regular" attire. Everyone seemed to be comfortable and what they were wearing or not wearing had no bearing. At first sight, this church was "uncommon". I mean, it was totally different from what I was used to seeing. But I wasn't sold yet. Like they say, "looks can be deceiving."
I remember holding Jazmyn on my lap, tugging at the hem of my "Sunday suit", trying to get her situated, when an Usher, who was around my age, invited me to take Jazmyn to the children's Ministry. He said that his daughter, who was also around Jazmyn's age was also there and that they had saved a space just for her. Um? How did he know we were coming? Once he showed me the way to the Children's Ministry registration area and introduced me to the staff, I immediately felt a sense of calm and relaxation. After reading the informational sheet about the care Jazmyn would receive while I was in the sanctuary, I was comfortable leaving my toddler in their care. I could now focus on the service without having her to tend to. And brownie points for them because it didn't take long for Jazmyn to get settled down once she realized I would be leaving her.
I returned to service and Praise and Worship was in full swing. There was a woman singing whose voice was reminiscent of CeCe Winans. But there was no choir. Instead, there was a Praise and Worship Team. They sang a few songs and before I could stop them, tears were streaming down my face. I could feel the presence of God in this place. It felt familiar. But it was different. Because Praise and Worship was so awesome, I looked forward to hearing the sermon of the Pastor that LT spoke so highly of. If this was the "appetizer", surely the "entree" would be FIRE! However, I wouldn't hear Pastor Rick speak this particular Sunday; he was in Southern California paying homage to his Pastor, one of the few times he is not at BCF. I was disappointed. But because the people were so nice and welcoming and the singing was so anointed, I knew I'd be back.
When service concluded, everyone joined together in another room for refreshments and I was able to meet more of the members. They were really nice! I felt like I was home.
That day, I received a guest bag and one of the items inside was a CD of Pastor Rick teaching. I remember listening to this CD multiple times because I enjoyed his teaching. He was relatable. He was funny. He spoke as if he wanted me to understand his message because he didn't use a lot of big words and fluff. There was no "hooping" and "hollering". Only profound teaching. Yes! I would be back to see him in person. I had to.
I am not sure of the time frame from our first visit to returning to hear Pastor Rick's message in person. But I do know that we attended regularly after and as soon as the first opportunity to attend the membership class arose (where I would be able to learn more about Berith, its beliefs, Pastor Rick, and have all my questions answered - like why there were no Deacons, or a Mothers' Board, or a traditional choir, and many more - before joining), I signed up; and after attending the sessions I made an informed decision to join the BCF family. I've been an active member ever since!
Pastor Rick's down-to-earth, refreshing, give-you-what-you-need-to-survive messages are just what I need. I've learned that living for Christ is not complicated. I've learned that it is not about religion and being all spiritual, but about developing an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. I've learned that I may make mistakes along the way, but my sins can be forgiven and that the Holy Spirit is here to help me navigate towards excellence.
There are so many reasons why I have a true love and respect for my Pastor and his wife. To see Pastor Rick (and Mrs. Rhyon) relentlessly walk out the vision God placed in his heart and not sway during a time when many Pastors are either living sub-par lives, hanging on by a thread, or walking away from their faith completely is encouraging. I see the many blessings they reap because of their continued obedience to God. The sacrifices they've made, only to be supernaturally, physically and financially blessed is the undeniable fruit of their labor of love. Their transparency allows me to see that I, too, can live the good life. Our family is abundantly blessed and it is a direct link to Pastor Rick and Berith Christian Fellowship.
Through Pastor Rick and Mrs. Rhyon, I have learned what it means to be Christlike. I've learned what it means to be a virtuous woman. I've learned how to be a suitable helpmeet to LT. I've learned how to be a Godly mother to our children. I've learned how to be a friend. I've learned about being accountable to people. I've learned how to manage money. I've learned how to set SMART goals. I've learned that I am blessed to be a blessing to others. I've learned that I am a small, yet important, part of a bigger plan. And though I may not always get it right, I can get back up and try again because it's not over until I win! Invaluable lessons!
The examples they've set are stellar and I intend to honor them by walking out my faith the way they've shown me.
Today, I salute my Pastor, Rick Sherer!
Take a look at this clip of Pastor Rick and you will see what I mean:
My Spiritual Parents, Pastor Rick and Mrs. Rhyon
Note from TC: If you do not have a church home, I encourage you to join me at Berith Christian Fellowship and hear Pastor Rick's teachings for yourself! I'd love to see you there!