A Beautiful Succession
Sunday, September 10, 2017, marked a milestone moment for King’s Park International Church. On this day, the elders and Site pastors of King’s Park, along with Dr. Rice Broocks, Pastor Jim Laffoon and I, prayed for Reggie Roberson and his wife, Bomi, to become the Lead Pastor of King’s Park Durham Campus. It was an extraordinary day. The speech I wrote and shared is below giving a succinct overview of the history of King’s Park. This was in the middle of a sermon series, We Are King’s Park.
The King’s Park media team prepared two videos to celebrate this momentous occasion. Click below to view.
Kings Park, we are a City on Hill and Light to the Nations. God has been so good to us.
In the 1980’s, before many of you were born (those were the days when the phone rang and we had to get up and go answer it on a cord, attached to a wall); back then, I was a struggling campus minister hoping to win one soul a week. My daily prayers were for survival and revival (in that order!)
I’ve written about our humble beginnings in my book, Answering the Call (yes, this is called a shameless endorsement). It was a challenging, yet exciting time. We met in a room on UNC-CH Campus and our children’s ministry was located in the ladies bathroom.
In those days, we were mostly students and none of us could even dream of 1,000 people being in church on a Sunday. But God did far more than that in the 1990’s and we’ve been going, growing and starting churches ever since.
Conservatively, more than 60 UNC/KPIC graduates are in full-time ministry and many are church planters. This is just UNC, not to mention many more from Duke, N.C. State and N.C. Central as well. I remember two of our first missionaries (Mike and Myra)… he went to State and she went to Carolina. They got married and for us, an intercollegiate marriage was more of a miracle than an interracial marriage.
Several young UNC ministers who went out from us represent Every Nation church plants in seven different nations. Four other nations have been reached from graduates of N.C. State. From the campuses of this Region, into this church, to church plants in 12 nations, that’s the King’s Park story. Students are always welcome here. We love you and feel called to serve and equip you. You are the future leaders of the world. Your faith blesses us so much. This church is the miracle of what University students can do.
Together, we have Spirit-empowered, gospel-centered churches in the Ukraine, Scotland, Poland, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan, Micronesia, Mongolia, China, Pakistan, and the Dominican Republic. There are far too many names to mention, but we do have a history wall in our baptism lobby that mentions several of these fearless church planters and leaders. It’s our story, but it’s all God’s glory!
In addition, there are restricted nations that we cannot get to, but that doesn’t mean we cannot help. We can and by God’s grace we do. Jordan Lewis Missions, one of our missions strategies, has funded and helped launch churches in Pakistan, Syria and Saudi Arabia. To be precise, in those three nations, we have direct and authenticated reports of 19,630 salvations, 5,593 baptisms and 1,227 house churches launched … all in the past 3 years.
There are churches we helped start in Nepal with women who were formally sex trafficked. They were without hope and without God, but today they are healed, empowered by the Holy Spirit and have launched in a village where Christ was not known or named.
Together, we’ve initiated an active plan of reaching 25 of the Unreached People Groups (UPG’s) of the world. Very soon 5 of those People Groups, will no longer be on the UPG list, as several have already come to Jesus through the underground missionaries we sponsor.
As a church, we’ve trained and launched several hundred full-time ministers who were discipled and sent out from this church.
Together this church has started an award-winning Life Center here in Durham, in an area where hopes and dreams are often squashed, but through the service of many of you, dreams live and thrive.
Together we’ve built a multi-ethnic and multi-generational congregation, which has a footprint in the greater Raleigh-Durham Region with Christ-centered, Holy Spirit empowered, campus ministries throughout.
Together we built this wonderful building and still have room to grow on this 33-acre campus adjacent to Martin Luther King Parkway and Research Triangle Park. Together we have become the beneficiary of the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — our children are growing up together and bound by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. We’ve enjoyed living that dream and today we are NOT color blind, but we ARE color enriched and thankful that this is a church of and for many colors. By God’s grace, we will one day be, every nation, every tribe, and every tongue. (Rev. 7:9)
The diversity and reconciliation within King’s Park have been celebrated in blogs, Christian magazines, and newspapers, including the front page of a Sunday morning edition of the Raleigh News and Observer. Our story has touched many. I honor you for that. It’s your story, for His glory.
Each of you has sacrificed and stayed committed to making this happen. And to think, our greatest years are ahead!
Through God’s grace, and only by His grace, this is so true: Our best years are ahead. How could they not be? Looking back, we started with nothing, we knew nothing, and we knew not where we were going. Today we have something, we know something and we sort of know where we are going. Not in full, but in part.
By God’s grace, we have some of the most wonderful church and marketplace leaders who are here to serve and plow into the future, expecting a great harvest of souls. So, … our best days are ahead. King’s Park, you will taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).
One of the great honors of serving you as your pastor has been to serve your sons and daughters: To watch many of them grow in God and become great leaders. From this church my first born son, Nathan was saved, baptized and later called and sent to be a part of our Edinburgh, Scotland church plant. Our youth pastor, Perry Burkholder discipled him both here and then in Scotland. Today, Perry is the Sr. Pastor of Every Nation Seattle church, and through his discipleship, Nathan is the lead pastor of one of our site churches in Manhattan, with Every Nation New York City.
And there are many more stories like this…
This is a multi-generational church and it’s time for a new generation of strong and faith-filled leaders to rise up and lead this church to the next level. I’m proud of each and every one of you who are those leaders. You’re in the youth group, you’re leading campus ministry groups, you’re leading life groups, you’re greeting at the doors and you’re serving in Kid’s ministry.
I’m grateful for my partnership with Pst. Brian and Eleatta Diver, Pst. Jim and Cathy Laffoon, the Kiefers, the Bates, the Jones, the Syfrettes, the Williams and many others serving this church. I’m sorry to leave out hundreds of names I’d like to recognize. At the end of the day, our only recognition that lasts is that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of life. But in my heart and the heart of many others, I honor and recognize you today. You are King’s Park. You are a city on a hill and a light to the nations.
I’d like to especially honor our elders and their spouses who have been pillars in this house for many years. Thank you very much for your walk with God and with me through the thick and the thin of church life. We can honestly say as Paul did, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:12-13)
Thank you, Doug Clark and those who were with me in the 1990’s when we met every Tuesday at 6:00 AM for nearly a decade. Those early mornings required much sacrifice from you and many double shot espressos for me, but we made it. Thank you and all of our elders for all you’ve sacrificed for this church. I’d like for our elders, past and present to please stand. We thank you for your service and labor of love!
I’m grateful for each of the King’s Park Site Church pastors and leaders who are here today. My dear friends and fellow site pastors from the Triangle, Taylor and Elizabeth, Kai-di and Frank, Ernesto and Marta are with us this morning. Your influence has been felt with us and in the greater Raleigh-Durham Region. Thank you so much! It’s an honor to work together as God’s fellow workers. (I Cor. 3:9)
I’d like to thank Pastor Reggie and his Core Leadership team. Thank you for following Jesus and picking up your crosses to honor the Lord by “keeping watch over yourselves and the flock which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” (Acts 20:28) Because of your service and leadership these past two years, I have been able to visit our King’s Park churches in this area, in our nation, and also in several nations around the world. I’m very grateful for this opportunity. It will be part of my new role as an Overseer of churches.
It’s been an honor to be with each of our Site Churches the past year or so. Many lives are being changed through our four Site Churches led by Christ centered leaders.
Outside of our area here, I’ve ministered to our churches in New York City, New Jersey and the churches we helped start in Philadelphia and Chicago.
Internationally I’ve been able to minister to our churches in several nations. There are so many stories and blessings to share, but here are three highlights from recent trips: It was an incredible honor to minister with Pastor Simon Suh to 40 or more North Korean escapees whom he led to Jesus in Seoul, Korea. We prayed for each of them to be filled and baptized with the Holy Spirit. What’s happening through our ministry in North Korea is extremely rare, perhaps historic.
Ternopil, Ukraine was special because I got to preach in one of our secondary church plants in their beautiful building there that you helped to fund. It’s a remarkable and a large church planting church in our Every Nation family in Europe.
Most recently, I visited Leon, Nicaragua with my brother and friend, Dr. Rice Broocks. I’m thankful he is with us today and I’m also thankful God put him in my life since the day he baptized me at UNC-Chapel Hill. Thank you, Pastor Rice for your labor in our lives at the very foundation.
All of these mentions, local, national and international, were made possible by the faith and work through this church. I want to encourage you that you are part of something that’s local and global. This work is having a quiet impact around the world. Please think about this: When you go to sleep tonight, more than likely someone is meeting Jesus in another part of the world because of the faithfulness of the prayers and generous financial support of the people of King’s Park.
The prayers of so many of you, I could list many, but especially our beloved Pam Pulsfort, have literally changed nations. Thank you, Pam. We love you and know you will overcome all you are facing today. Pam is home watching by Livestream. Pam, we are praying for you; you are our hero!
King’s Park church has never been selfish or self-serving. As a result, we have become a gospel movement that is spawning more gospel movements around the world. Globally and nationally, most of what we have done together through this church is now under the name, Every Nation, and yet many would not know that some of these churches and gospel movements I am describing, were started out of King’s Park by our ministers and/or missionaries.
Several of our other church plants or ministries now operate under other names or are part of other movements outside of King’s Park or Every Nation. Here’s what’s important, At the end of the day, the primary thing that matters is that the Kingdom of God is increasing and our Lord Jesus is both preached and exalted. Greater than a consistent brand or an icon is another Name… it’s the Name that’s above every other name and at that Name, “at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11) Just in case anyone is wondering or has any doubt… this church is all about Jesus. All praise belongs to Him. And the Lord Jesus has been moving through us for three decades.
In this new season, Lynette and I are honored to stay with this amazing, fruitful church, and honored to be a part. We will pray for and undergird Pst. Reggie and Bomi. We will do what we can to build up the saints, to reach the lost and make disciples. We are very happy about King’s Park as our place to “park” and call home. As we can, we will be here praying, giving, speaking and being a cheerleader for you all. We love you very much.
Finally, today, I want to thank and honor a young man who is still in his 30’s and yet he’s as wise as one in his 50’s. He and his wife have been with us for 20 years, serving, giving, winning, discipling, counseling, healing and leading. Reggie and Bomi Roberson you guys are winners. You will find a way, together with Jesus and others, to build this house, bless the cities and raise up new leaders to continue the legacy of King’s Park (2 Tim. 2:2). Thank you for answering the call, taking the baton, running the race, fighting the fight, loving the truth, and securing the prize, all to the glory of God.
Reggie, We are honored to receive you today as our new lead pastor for this congregation.