For the past four years, I have been signing off this article with “Until Next Time.”
Here we are, June 2021, and this is the last of these. No more next time in this space from Steve McNeil.
Jeannine and I want to thank you SCBI for placing your confidence in us on March 6, 2017, at the Executive Board meeting when you voted unanimously to call me as your Executive Director. What a humbling moment in my life.
I must confess to you that I feel that my life has been a string of humbling moments.
In 1975, my pastor came to me and asked if I would consider being the part-time Recreation Director at our church in Oklahoma City. I was saved through the ministry of this church. They had just built a new “Christian Life Center” and wanted me to organize the programs and ministry for the church. I couldn’t believe they were asking me to do this.
About a year and a half later, the pastor came back and asked if I would pray about being the full-time Youth and Recreation Director. I was 22 years old and still in college; but, I felt the Lord leading me to say yes. And yes, this was humbling.
Six years later the pastor came and told me about some circumstances in the church that were leading to some staff changes and he asked if I would pray about being the Minister of Education. Yes, I was working on my college degree, and he wanted me to be a minister of education without a formal education. God does work in strange ways. I believed that was what God wanted me to do, so I said yes. I was humbled by this invitation and expression of confidence.
In 1985, I received a phone call on a Sunday night from John Jeter who was the chairman of the search committee for Northside Baptist Church in Indianapolis. They were seeking an Associate Pastor. Over the course of nine months, the Lord gave us peace and confidence that this was His will for our lives. Humbled again by His grace and this church that would become our home for 35 years.
In 2006, the Executive Director for the SCBI, Dr. Steve Davis, began talking to me about serving with him at our convention. Many, many conversations and me pushing back took place. But eventually the Lord, Steve Davis and Jeannine helped me see that this was to be the next step where God wanted to use me. Humbled again by this call.
Each of these steps God has taken us through we could see God preparing us for the “Next Step.” So in 2016, when Dr. Seagle and I were eating breakfast and he told me he was retiring from SCBI and he was going to suggest that the search committee consider me to be the next Executive Director, I was humbled beyond my understanding. I was selected as the “interim” and then voted on in March 2017 to be the Executive Director.
I tell you all this because I believe my story isn’t about me, it’s about a God who loves us, expresses confidence in His children when they do not see much value in their own life and what God sees and what God is doing to prepare us for His service (Phil 1:5). He is equipping us (Eph 4:11-12) for ministry when we aren’t aware of what HE is doing.
I have always heard that God has a way of using “the least of these.” The stories about the people Jesus selected to be his disciples were common people. I feel like that is my story, just an ordinary guy, who was gloriously saved at 17 years of age, who has all sorts of doubts and insecurities and frailties. The best part of this story is if God has used me, He can use you.
On another subject:
I am hearing that people are asking what is going on at the SCBI office. Let me encourage you not to run down the rabbit hole of despair. Things are not falling apart. There is no need to fret. God is working in our lives.
I could go down the list and give you an example of each person. We are not mad, not angry, not upset, we are just all feeling like God is leading us in a new direction right now. A few are in a place of transition with their kids growing up and they feel like this is the right time to do something new. We feel we are being moved to run to something new, not running from something.
Bob and I feel like this is the right time in our lives, and it is interesting how the Lord has led us to do this at a similar time. I believe that this should excite you about what God is trying to do here at SCBI through all of you and our churches. We have been praying for revival for years (right Bev Olonoh?). What if God has called people like Mary Brown, Jennifer Hall, Bev Olonoh, Bob, Carol Houpt, Sarah Bohrer and myself to prepare the table for God to start a great work in our 449 churches? That would make me very, very happy if that is God’s plan.
I pray that you will not choose to believe a lie of the enemy that something is wrong. There isn’t! Do we have challenges? Always. Are they solvable? Always, if we choose to get together, to “partner together to discover and fulfill our next steps.”
Please remember John 17 and how our savior has prayed that we would “be one, so that the world might know HIM.”
Jeannine and I love you SCBI. We will continue to pray for you and as Paul said in
Philippians 1:6-8 (CSBBible)
“6 I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
7 Indeed, it is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
8 For God is my witness, how deeply I miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.”
The LAST, Next Time,
Your friends and brother and sister in Christ,
Steve & Jeannine McNeil