Our Church has merged with GO CHurch as of January 5, 2020. Please go to their webpage now to follow us.

Their address is: 333 Edwin Drive, Virginia Beach, VA. 23462

Thank you for checking out our website!

Pastor Bob

Like many of you, I felt some sadness last night as I reflected upon the end of Abundant Life Fellowship. Not only has it been a great honor to be your pastor, but all of you and the things that we have done together have become an integral part of my life. In some ways, that season is changing. As Ecclesiastes 3:6 says, “ There is a time to keep and a time to let go.” I had to spend some time talking to the Lord about that and recommitting myself to his care and surrendering all of you to Him again. He’s the Good Shepherd that we all can depend upon as we live out our days on earth. He left a beautiful heaven to come to a needy earth at the command of the Father. I feel like I and others in ALF are being asked to do the same: leave the familiar and comfortable to fulfill our calling to follow Jesus as Go Church. 

As I look back on the last 10 ½ years, here is how I see what God did through me as your pastor in the main things I tried to nurture in ALF. 

Loving One Another

By the grace of God, we have become a close-knit family who loves each other very well. To me, this is the foundation for any church where God does great things. The love and sacrifice that was shown by a few members of our church when Allison Layman was sick and one Sara Minnich was sick will always be a golden example to me of the depth and beauty of love in our church. Congratulations to all of you for loving each other as Jesus loves His church. I think we have fulfilled the new commandment that Jesus gave us in John 13: 34-35.

Global Missions

By the grace of God, we have supported global missions very generously. I estimate that we have given away at least $100,000 to global missions of the past 10 years!  A few of you have been generous to a degree that is remarkable. Thank you for what you all have done to make that possible through our giving to missions and for going overseas to share the Good News! 

I suspect that when we get to heaven, many people will run up to each of us and thank us for the missionaries, the bibles and prayers that we sent their way that led them to Jesus. For this, I am eternally grateful. Let’s take care of our bodies now and live as long as we can to help more people make it to heaven!

Corporate Prayer

Like most other churches across the nation, the lack of corporate prayer meetings has been one of the long-standing weaknesses of our church. But in the last 3 to 4 years we have made some progress. I’m very grateful for the 6-8 people in the Wednesday night prayer group that have met regularly for about three years. The lady’s prayer group of 4-5 who have met on Thursday mornings has been extremely valuable for those ladies who came. The prayer for the nations group started by Kevin Coyle on Sunday mornings has been a real blessing. Our main corporate prayer as always been the Sunday morning small prayer groups which have been a foundational experience for everyone in the church. The love, unity and healings in the church have been greatly strengthened through each of these corporate prayer gatherings. I hope all these groups can continue and that more people can take advantage of the three evening prayer meetings a week at GO Church. Few churches can grow spiritually beyond the strength of their corporate prayer ministries. 

Healing Ministries

Because of my own need for emotional healing resulting from my childhood traumas, I have carried a burden to help others find healing through Jesus and to train others to do the same. Beth and I have prayed for about 100 people in the last 10 years for emotional healing and seen some remarkable results. A few of you have been a part of those ministry sessions. In the area of physical healing, we have seen some wonderful healings in our church services and several of you have began to pray for the sick in your workplaces, most notably our doctors: Michael and Dinah Thompson and Don Hastings. I know we all thank God for that kind of bold, godly ministry that the world needs so much.

But—to be honest— I am disappointed that I was not able to make more disciples in the area of healing. I hope that I have the opportunity to help more people be equipped to bind up the brokenhearted, heal the sick and set captives free from demonic oppression. I hope to equip others to do these works of Jesus in the Wednesday night service that I will be leading in the future. 

Community Ministry

I have been proud to be part of the church that works with other churches to serve our community. John Clark has worked with multiple churches with Royal Rangers for over 20 years and hundreds of teens have made decisions for Jesus as a result. Our church has birthed and nurtured David’s Tent 757. We all know the story of that miracle which continues now mainly under the leadership of Arron, Carole, Doug Cook, Bill Cage, Rick Minnich, and Dinah Thompson and others from other churches. To God be the glory. 

I thank God that, as your pastor, I was able to send out my 25-year-old newsletter called Partner’s about twice a month to about 1000 people, to build the 757.church website ministries directory with the help of Jasmine Thompson and Cari Roughton, to help produce a national conference on repentance for the sins of our nation at New Life, and One Night for the King where 30 churches came together for a combined Pentecost service at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex in 2016. A few people from our church worked together with leaders from other churches and made that happen. Our church initiated and funded that wonderful event. We even sent out a mailing to 300 Jehovah Witness churches across the nation with a small booklet proving from the Scriptures that Jesus is God Almighty. Sharon Herring was instrumental in that. 

Let me leave you with a scripture passage and with two poems by Robert Frost. 

Acts 20:17-32 ( edited): Pauls’s farewell address to the Elders of the Church at Ephesus: 

17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going…24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. 

26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

I am obviously not leaving you as Paul left the Ephesian Church ( a city-church), but I will not be your senior pastor again. We can continue the friendships and ministries we have been involved in for years but some things will be different in my new role as associate pastor. 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

BY ROBERT FROST

Whose woods these are I think I know.   

His house is in the village though;   

He will not see me stopping here   

To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   

To stop without a farmhouse near   

Between the woods and frozen lake   

The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   

To ask if there is some mistake.   

The only other sound’s the sweep   

Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,  

But I have promises to keep,   

And miles to go before I sleep,   

And miles to go before I sleep.

ALF is those woods to me! 

BY ROBERT FROST

Whose woods these are I think I know.   

His house is in the village though;   

He will not see me stopping here   

To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   

To stop without a farmhouse near   

Between the woods and frozen lake   

The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   

To ask if there is some mistake.   

The only other sound’s the sweep   

Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,  

But I have promises to keep,   

And miles to go before I sleep,   

And miles to go before I sleep.

ALF is those woods to me! 

_____________

The Road Not Taken

BY ROBERT FROST

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Merging with GO Church is the road less traveled by for all of us. 

Love to you all who have traveled with me this far,

Pastor Bob