Sunday, November 1, 2009

Appreciating the Pastors of Metro Life Church

Dear friends,

Since October was Pastors Appreciation Month, I would like this opportunity to share what I most appreciate about our pastors and about the church in general.

I appreciate our senior pastor, Danny Jones, for encouraging my daughter Julia to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as she was making decisions about her trip to Bolivia earlier this year. His affection for our church is evident and genuine, and he always has a smile and a warm greeting.

I am thankful for Benny Phillips, not only for making such an impact on me as a teenager in Virginia in 1979-1980, but for being such a wonderful influence on me as an adult and for continuing the legacy with my teenagers. He really gets it and he really cares. 

I am grateful to Mike Nash for his compassionate realism, his humor, and his encouragement to make the best of what we've got. He listens well, and gives advice from the Word and from his heart.  

I love the passion for worship, prayer, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that Todd Twining exudes. I'm also excited about the Worship & Arts Academy that he is developing for us and for the community.

I am thankful for how much Chip Chew does to keep everything running so smoothly behind the scenes. He may not be up there preaching, but his administrative work is vital for the ministry of the church. 

Then there is Jesse Phillips who, though he is young enough to be my son, amazes me regularly with his insight and his enthusiasm for pointing the youth of the church towards a strong and vibrant faith. He's also doing a fantastic job keeping folks involved in political issues.

Aaron Law, our newest intern, displays a humble wisdom. His preaching is thorough and well-studied, yet very warm. I've known Aaron for almost 10 years, and I respect him highly.

I am thankful to all of the folks at Metro Life for keeping it real and for loving each other well with such a diversity of gifts.

Virginia Knowles


  1. From Lesl Slack:

    I appreciate Danny Jones for his real and ever-deepening faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. His world has been turned upside down lately and it only makes me respect him all the more as he strives for reality and humility toward his walk with Christ. He has also been a real friend to my husband and me for these past 20+ years.

    Benny Phillips has been a real source of comfort and encouragement to Darin and I this past year. When we were in a family crisis, he and his wife were there for us and it made all the difference in our getting through it with a strong faith and hope in what God was doing in it all! I also feel so well fed on Sunday mornings! Benny's preaching is some of the most well thought out and thought provoking I have ever heard.

    I so appreciate Mike Nash's down-to-earth demeanor. The 20+ years I have known him have shown him to be consistently humble and approachable. I love being at a church where the pastors are as easy to talk to as a close friend.

    Todd Twining's gifting in leading worship as well as so many other areas is truly amazing. He teaches my son, Mark, piano with such patience and encouragement. I feel so blessed to have someone speaking into Mark's life like that! I know Todd has been going through difficult times lately and I know that just gifting is not enough. This is where I see his character and deep faith is just as strong.

    I don't interact with Chip Chew much, but when I do I am encouraged by an increased humility and relatability that I have seen him grow in over the years. I am also encouraged to see that his consistent serving is also a strong trait in his sons as well.

    I appreciate Jesse Phillips for his youthful enthusiasm as well as his wisdom that is beyond his years. He is personal and caring to all whom he talks to. I also see a deliberate and intense desire to know and serve God with all the grace He provides.

    Aaron Law is certainly a bright new light on the church staff. I don't know him well, but I know his mother and his wife, who are two incredibly gracious women. If he is the fruit on the one and the choice of the other, I know he is a very special guy indeed. I look forward to how God will use him and grow him as he serves the church.

    To all the pastors: Thank you so much for your faithfulness through all these years. We are so blessed to have pastors that are also dear friends. You allow us to see your personal lives, strenghts and weaknesses alike, which encourages us to open and transparent as well. We are all sinners saved by grace and, by your examples, I am understanding that more than ever!

    Love and grace in Christ,
    Lesli Slack

  2. What do I most appreciate about you, our pastors? It's hard to say, there are so many things I could mention. First of all, your obvious sincerity in handling the Word of God and your own personal obedience to it. Then there is the harmony I see among you. I believe this is because you are willing to confess your own shortcomings and character flaws, and to be mutually accountable to one another and to the church. Finally, in your relationship to us, the members of the church, I see your loving concern and care for everyone.

    You don't just teach us how to live, you model it before our eyes - and it catches on. That same sincerity of faith, the same willingness to be honest and transparent, and same warm acceptance and love toward one another is characteristic of the church as a whole.

    I visited Metro once when the church was meeting in the Howard Street School. That day, within his sermon, Danny confessed that he had acted in a selfish, thoughtless way toward Melody during the previous week. I was impressed. I had never heard anyone speak so humbly and openly before. That was much of the reason why I began coming to Metro after I moved to Orlando.

    So thank you, pastors - each one of you - for doing what you do, but most of all, thank you for being who you are.

    God bless you, and may He continue to minister through you for many years to come.
    Phyllis Reinhardt