One part of a pastor’s job is to equip the congregation to serve each other and to be salt and light in the community. Brad and Beth McRee are one couple at Lakeway Presbyterian who have been equipped to join Pastor Chris Talley in ministering to the church and the Morristown, TN community.
“I think one of Chris’ strongest giftings is being relational,” says Beth, “but Brad is gifted in administrational work, so he can support Chris and the church with that.” The McRee’s enjoy opening up their home. “People are starving for community right now,” Beth reflects, “so we are figuring out ways to offer that. We’ve hosted Lakeway Lake Day and a women’s overnight retreat and meals.” In addition to hospitality, the McRees help with small groups and help as Lakeway restores an old building in downtown Morristown to be their meeting place.
The McRees connected with Chris in the summer of 2020 because they were looking for a church with Reformed teaching. They hadn’t been part of a church plant before, but they had actively served in PCA churches and other churches for many years. They joined Lakeway when the core group met on Sunday nights, before Sunday morning services had started. While part of much larger churches for decades, the McRees have long valued small group gatherings, and in some ways, the small church plant was like a small group.
Brad is retired from the Air National Guard but is still working as a consultant, and Beth spent many years as a stay-at-home mom. “God’s gifted us and trained us over the years, and we both have a heart for missions, but we’ve never been on the mission field aside from short-term trips,” she says. “We raised our kids to be involved in the mission programs at church but also to be involved where we lived. As a stay at home mom, my place was the local community and local church.”
“How can the local church be involved in missions and get folks like us engaged too?” Brad ponders. “For Lakeway, one avenue for mission is through Reformed University Fellowship at Carson Newman. Chandler Rowan is the RUF pastor and he and his wife, Leah, are members of Lakeway. They ask church members to come to RUF meetings and bring food to feed a crowd of students.”
Brad and Beth enjoy meeting their neighbors. One neighbor has joined Beth as a prayer partner, and Brad met a neighbor down the street who is also prior military. “When our neighbor was a young man deciding what he wanted to do with his life, the first Top Gun movie came out and inspired him to be a Navy pilot like Tom Cruise. He started coming to small group. Then, he and his wife visited the Sunday church services.”
According to Brad, “Part of a pastor’s job is to equip the saints for ministry. Chris does this by having others lead small groups so he isn’t doing it all. On Sunday mornings, he has our church members share in the prayer and scripture reading, building capacity for ministry in the congregation.” Beth says, “In ministry, mentoring isn’t just teaching scripture lessons; it’s life together, showing them what a Christian worldview looks like. For me and Brad, we get to come alongside younger couples and do life together.”