Sunday, November 8, a public service was held to commission me as the new president of SIM USA. What a wonderful service and reception following. It was held at our home church, Christ Covenant Church here in Charlotte.
Some 400 people came - SIM staff, church friends, friends from Charlotte, leaders of other Christian ministries in the Charlotte area. The service included some incredible music my Christa Wells and Nicole Witt, who are friends of SIM and professional song writers and performers. They were also joined by the Carolina Community of Faith Choir who sang one of my favorites, “Fairest Lord Jesus”.
Bishop David Perrin, a board member of SIM USA, conducted the service. Several people participated. Our pastor, Mike Ross led in prayer and prayed the final commissioning prayer. Board chair Ron Williams spoke of the extensive search process and God leading. Malcolm McGregor, International Director of SIM gave the message on biblical leadership. Steve Strauss, the immediate past president told how he pictured a certain type of leader needed to lead SIM into the future and as complimentary that he saw those qualities and qualifications in me.
Steve Harling, board member, gave the charge to me from II Kings about taking on the cloak of Elisha. He delivered a memorable word.
Then my fellow elders from Christ Covenant joined the Board of Directors of SIM USA on the platform and they laid hands on my and prayed for me and Mary.
What a responsibility and blessing to receive these prayers.
Following the prayers I had the opportunity to thank everyone and share some thoughts the Lord had been impressing upon me. The theme of what I shared as “Be alert and responsive to the Lord”. As I assume the leadership of SIM USA, I told the audience I was very mindful that I was stepping into a ministry which the Lord has led, guided and used over the past 116 years. What I desire is to listen to the Lord and follow His lead.
I also shared how blessed Mary and I are by our sons Luke and Olin, our friends and Mary’s healing from her cancer this summer.
Then Mary and I had such an enjoyable time greeting friends at the reception.
What a great service to share with family. Here Mary and I are with GP and Nancy Foote, my sister and my father, Dick Johnson. My sister came from Ames, Iowa and my father flew down from St. Cloud, Minnesota. Unfortunately, Luke missed being in this photo, as it was taken when most of the people had left the reception. And Olin missed being at the service, because he is in Iraq for four months serving in the U.S. Air Force as a navigator.
This commissioning service capped off my assuming the responsibilities. I had officially taken over October 1, but this was a wonderful public celebration of God’s faithfulness to SIM, my calling to this new role and worship of our Lord Jesus.