We have some exciting news this month! After a long, arduous search, I’m happy to announce that the elders of Pinewoods have called a new Assistant Pastor, David Balzer!
David comes to us from Grace Church for All Nations (PCA) in Stone Mountain, GA, where he’s served as the Senior Pastor since 2014. Before that, David was an Assistant Pastor at Community Presbyterian Church in Moody, AL, an Interim Pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church in Chelsea, AL, and an RUF Campus Minister at East Tennessee State University and King College in Johnson City and Bristol, TN.
Before David became an ordained pastor in 2003, he received his BA in Humanities from Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC and his M.Div. from Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Greenville, SC.
David is married with three children. His wife Laura grew up attending our sister church, Briarwood (PCA) in Birmingham, AL. Their children Ben and Cate (twins!) are both 9-years-old and they will be entering 4th grade. Their third child has not yet been born … so we’ll give you more information on the youngest Balzer when we meet him / her on his / her birthday!
So why did we choose David to be our new Assistant Pastor? The first factor was experience. David comes to us with 16 years of pastoral experience in a variety of different contexts. He’s ministered to college students, middle school and high school students, young families, and seniors. Since Pinewoods is a multi-generational church, we think his experiences in ministry will allow him to connect with all of our members. The second factor is giftedness. We think David is a uniquely gifted evangelist and a natural “people person.” He loves Jesus and he loves connecting with people! Since we would like David to focus on connecting unbelievers to Jesus (outreach) and believers to the church (assimilation) … we think he’s the perfect man for that job. The third factor is missions. David has a passion for cross-cultural missions that very much aligns with our own passion for cross-cultural missions. He’s spent time in London, Haiti, Greece, Ukraine, and Jamaica. As we continue to plead with God to raise up 1% of our congregation for cross-cultural missions, we think David’s passion for the lost world will be a real blessing to us. The fourth factor is the Holy Spirit. This one is the hardest one to explain, but it’s definitely the most important! After much prayer, we think that God has orchestrated this connection. David loves Jesus, just like we do. He truly believes God is calling him to Pinewoods, and we agree! We think God is calling David here, and we’re so happy about what God is going to do in our church and our city through David’s faithful service.
There’s much more to be said … but I thought I would close with David’s testimony, in his own words.
I didn't grow up in the church. I didn't trust in Christ until I was a senior in high school. The first person (that I actually respected) to tell me of my need for Jesus was my elementary school teacher, Mr. Wise, who I would visit sometimes in high school. God also used my friend’s uncle Jerry to talk to me about Jesus and the Bible when I ran into him in McDonald’s. He gave me a Good News Bible that day, and I read Matthew that night. Then God used a complete stranger, Joe Cordosa, the very next day (at McDonald’s again) to share the Gospel with me. He told me about the lambs in the Old Testament having to die because God is good, and someone had to die for sin. And then he told me that Jesus is the true Lamb of God who was the perfect sacrifice. This is when the Gospel started to click for me. Then I started visiting Pinewood Presbyterian Church in the fall of my senior year because I thought if I joined I could get a scholarship to Warren Wilson College. (I didn't know the difference between PCA and PCUSA.) But God used my mixed motives to put me in a good church, and after the second worship service I visited, I prayed with the youth pastor, Steve Reese, and I repented and trusted in Christ. God gave me immediate assurance, and He helped me to grow in my faith through that church. Pinewood helped me see the Scriptures as the Word of God and discover a sense of calling to preach. Covenant Reformed Presbyterian and RUF in Asheville challenged me with the doctrines of grace and gave me a sense of Christian community, and I found great comfort in these things. My ordination and service with RUF and involvement with Christ Community Church in Johnson City has helped me grow in my experience of God's love and of the centrality of the Gospel. Laura has helped me accept God's grace more. Getting to be Ben and Cate's dad has helped me see more of my need for grace.
I would love to pastor a church that connects well with unchurched people or people who have had a difficult time with the church. This church would be simple and very relational. We would hope to do a small number of things and to do them well. Through Gospel-Centered worship, community groups, and individual relationships, we would hope to help people come to know Christ and to serve Him in His kingdom with great blessing to our city and the world.
God changes us by His love, and His love is seen most clearly in His Son. Ministry is using your gifts to communicate God’s love through Christ in word and deed in a way that grows the family of God in love for God, for one another, and for those who don’t yet know Him. Ministry helps people know who God is and become more like Him to show how wonderful He is. In ministry we show love to grow love because this is what we were meant for. (Based on Eph. 3:14-21; 4:7-16)
Amen! We’re looking forward to welcoming the Balzer family to Pinewoods! They arrive on Saturday, August 10, and will be worshipping with us on Sunday, August 11. Praise God!