Throughout my life, I have wandered in and out of the church. Having been born in a family of Christ followers, I was raised in and around the church. My father at one point held a local minister’s license, and my mother was always active in teaching Sunday school classes and leading small group Bible studies. Church was what we did. Even after my parents divorced, my mother ensured we stayed rooted in the church.
In my late teens and early 20s, I did what many young men do . . . I ran from the church as fast as I could. Despite sensing God’s call to ministry when I was 23, I had convinced myself that my own plans were going to lead me to greater things than what God had planned for me.
While I ran from God, that lingering feeling of unfinished work stayed with me.
Flash forward an entire decade through an affair, a failed marriage, and a destroyed family. I was at a loss for what my future would hold, and I found myself living in my eldest brother’s basement trying to piece my life back together (there’s more to this story). The time in the basement could have had catastrophic effects on my life, but I was also a father to two young boys, and I knew how I proceeded forward would have an impact on their future too.
About a year into my time in the “dungeon domicile,” I began courting a woman who I am now blessed to call my wife. She invited me to church, and when I inquired where she went, she stated, Renton Church of the Nazarene. Wouldn’t you know it—the same denomination I was raised in would also inform my faith, even as an adult! My gut reaction was to say, “No way, I’m not going back there.” But before I could answer with my desired response, out of my mouth jumped, “Sure, I would love to.” I wondered who was speaking.
My first trip back to church with Shawna was the most welcoming and comforting experience I had ever had in a church. It felt like home. In fact, when I visit that church now, it still feels like home. I suspect it always will.
It was in this church that God renewed His call on my life. The work He began at the age of 8, when I accepted Christ, and that He continued in me at 23, was now refreshed just days after my 33rd birthday. The difference was that this time I knew that if I refused the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I would regret it forever. One of the blessings that came with answering the call to ministry was that God helped me to see how all of the failures of the past were actually the places where I had grown the most (there’s a lot more to this story). During the 10 years I ran from God, He was shaping and cultivating me in a way that would help me to serve Him more effectively now.
I answered the call in 2014. In March 2018, my wife, our family, and a core team worked together to plant/restart Maple Valley Church of the Nazarene as The Rescue Church. For the last three years, we have been spreading the gospel in our community. We look forward to seeing how God will continue to use us in the future and how He will shape the rest of the story.
Scott Fox is lead pastor of The Rescue Church of the Nazarene in Maple Valley, Washington, USA.