By Jeff Keaton
In November of 2007, I received my first impression from the Lord that something new was about to be birthed into my life and into this darkened world we live in. At first we just called it “The Vision” and then a young lady came up with the name RENEWANATION. I will never forget the day we googled “RENEWANATION” for the very first time. We were amazed to discover that not a single reference to this name could be found anywhere on the World Wide Web.
Over the last 3½ years I have maintained my position as Senior Pastor at Parkway House of Prayer in Roanoke, Va. This church has provided everything RENEWANATION has needed to get up and running. As we began to hire staff the church provided us with office space, telephones, desks and file cabinets. The congregation has also poured a significant amount of money into RENEWANATION. Parkway House of Prayer will forever be blessed because of its unwavering commitment to this new ministry.
Early on I told the congregation at Parkway that there would come a day when RENEWANATION would demand my full attention. They never complained over the last few years as RENEWANATION has called for more of my time and has taken me out of town on numerous occasions. I can honestly say that Parkway is one of the most Kingdom-minded churches I have ever been around.
RENEWANATION President Melvin Adams and I were in Orlando on RENEWANATION business in early April. After a long day of meetings with a group of men who are as passionate for Christian Worldview Education as we are, I went back to my room exhausted. I felt quite discouraged as I saw the awesome opportunities before us but could in no way find the time or energy to meet the challenge at hand. I kept thinking that night, “How can I do all that I want to do with RENEWANATION and still be faithful to the church I pastor, the school I am ultimately responsible for, all the church plants we have and a camp meeting we operate?” When I finally fell asleep for a few brief hours of rest, I had no answer, just weariness.
I got up early the next morning to catch a flight back to Roanoke. Immediately, the clouds of discouragement were gone and God spoke boldly into my heart. As best I know the voice of God, this is what He said to me. “You’re going to go full-time for RENEWANATION this fall; in the first 12-24 months you will write two books (“Radical Faith” and “Why Christian Worldview Education”); and you will speak in pastors’ conferences and in local churches across the country sharing this great vision.” I have only heard God’s voice at this level on a few other occasions in my life and all of those experiences led me into exciting new moves of God.
As a result of these words from the Lord, I met with my church staff, church board and the RENEWANATION board shortly after I got back from Florida. God has confirmed this decision in more ways than I have time to share. He has provided a wonderful pastor to take my place at Parkway and He has given me the faith to leap into the unknown.
I am walking away from a very secure situation where the pay is good and the people are even better. At this time, RENEWANATION is not in a position to cover my salary so I am trusting God to provide. Parkway House of Prayer has been so kind as to plan a going away banquet at which they are asking our congregation to offer support for our family for the first 12-18 months. During this time I will write the two books as well as build my speaking schedule around the country. Once again, Parkway shows their deep commitment to the Kingdom of Christ beyond its doors.
I will be putting a powerful presentation together to share in churches. It will inform, challenge and motivate people concerning the great need to fill the minds of our children with a thoroughly Christian Worldview. My three primary areas of focus in the first year will be, Roanoke, Va., Miami/Ft.Lauderdale and Hagerstown, Md. We have strong affiliate schools in these areas and I want to help connect more and more churches to these schools. If you would like for me or another RENEWANATION representative to bring this dynamic presentation to your church, please contact the RENEWANATION office.
I, along with some others I have worked with through the years, will also be speaking at and even planning pastors’ conferences. God has allowed me to see two churches grow significantly and I have been blessed to plant a number of new churches. I hope to take my almost 20 years of pastoral experience and use it to help pastors in small to medium-sized churches. During all of these conferences I will focus in one session on the churches role in Christian weekday education. Too many parents and churches have abdicated their role when it comes to the education of their children. I want to see this change.
As I make this move, I have two things to ask of you. First, I would ask that you pray for me and my family as we make this transition. My oldest daughter, Julianna, enters her first year of college this fall and my youngest daughter, Heidi, will be a sophomore in high school. God has called me to make this transition a little sooner than we had planned. My wife is still working through our leaving pastoral ministry and we’re trying to figure out the details of my being out of town more but not losing touch with my family. I refuse to abandon my wife and daughters even though I know I must be on the road a lot more than I have been in the past. We covet your daily prayers.
I would also like to ask you to prayerfully consider your support for RENEWANATION over the next 24 months. We are moving into our own offices in July and we will no longer have Parkway’s direct support when our cash flow runs low. Over the last three years, the church has been there for us when the monthly support did not meet our needs. It’s time for us to wean ourselves and go it alone. However, I must make sure that I continue to cover the cost of the great team God has given us. Right now would be a great time for some extra gifts and even a few large gifts. Our opportunities are unlimited and we want to take advantage of the open doors that stand before us. Will you follow me in your giving into the arena of radical faith?
Thank you for believing in this work of God at such a tender and early stage. I know that the days ahead will require deep and continuous faith in the God who has planted this vision in our hearts. But, I also know that the days ahead are going to be unbelievably exciting and rewarding. Thanks for your willingness to help birth this great work of God.
Volume 3 Issue 3 - The Renewanation Review