The 50th Year Anniversary of the First Flint Seventh-day Adventist Church became a homecoming Sabbath for many members, new and old. One hundred and twenty-five people attended the anniversary Sabbath on October 2, 2021. Most of the guests also stayed for a delicious and bountiful potluck served afterward by church volunteers.
Many past members of First Flint live locally and now attend various Adventist churches in Genesee and Shiawassee counties. But others live much farther away, including Detroit, South Branch, Cadillac, Ann Arbor, and also in the upper peninsula. Some, like Richard and Karen Kelly, traveled from Colorado to be able to be with their church family again.
Church members and guests were blessed by the ministry of three pastors during this anniversary Sabbath—Joel Nephew (who served from 1998-2003), Tony Messer (who served from 2019-2021), and the present pastor, Malcolm Douglas. Pastor Messer led in an introduction to the book of Deuteronomy during Sabbath School. Pastor Douglas shared letters from two other previous pastors: Pastor Jonathan Chitwood (who now serves as a missionary pastor to the Navajo nation in Arizona) and Pastor Justin Ringstaff, now serving as the Executive Secretary of the Michigan Conference.
Pastor Joel Nephew was the speaker for the anniversary Sabbath, reminding every member not to hold onto the past but to move forward in the power of God. Repeatedly, he pointed to the church that “the best is yet to come," for Jesus is coming soon.
“I’m here to tell you,” he said, “that at the First Flint church, the best is not in the past. The best is yet to come.” The same is true for our denomination as well as our individual lives. “The best is yet to come if we remember God’s leading in our past,” explained Pastor Nephew, “if we commit our past to Jesus in faith, if we submit to the following of His Spirt, in His leading in our present, and we surrender to His leading in our future.” He also emphasized accepting Christ’s righteousness and His vision as our own.
Pastor Nephew then ended with the words of Paul: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that Day, and not only to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). His question to every member on that day was, “Do we love His appearing?” For Jesus is coming soon.