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Imago Dei, Life, School, Work

New Town, New Blog, New… well a lot of things.

So I haven’t posted a blog in sometime so this first one will be rather long, but I have decided to break it up in a few parts. Part one will be today and the others will follow. Hopefully, this will be either encouraging or informative, but hopefully both.

As some of you know on May 31, 2011 I packed up all my worldly belongings in Pineville, LA and began the long 16 hour drive to Wake Forest, NC. This decision to move and leave most everyone I know behind was prompted by a few things; however, the first and foremost of those things was that this is where I felt God was leading me. Perhaps a little history behind this decision would give some context to help with understanding the oddity of my move.

In February of 2010 I attended a preview day at Southeastern Seminary and a collegiate conference they were holding as well. At the time I was trying to decide on which seminary I would like to attend and the choices had been knocked down to Southern in Louisville, KY and Southeastern in Wake Forest, NC. After having the opportunity to visit Southern during Together For The Gospel in 2008 I wanted to go see Southeastern. While at SEBTS I was given a peace about the campus, the students, and faculty leading me to believe that it was the place where the Lord was leading me and where my heart was desiring. There was not much question in my mind for sometime wether or not I would end up at SEBTS for my degree. However, this past semester the time table on that decision came in to question.
Louisiana College, my alma mater, was given a large donation to start a divinity school. The idea of a divinity school had been one that faculty, students, and staff would discuss but money was always an issue. After an anonymous donor pledged to annually cover the cost of the school and tuition of a majority of students the idea of the Caskey Divinity School was no longer a dream or an idea but now a reality. It was also an academic and financial dream.

I would now be able to attend 2 years of school studying under some of the most Godly and knowledgeable men that I have ever met or will ever meet. I would also be able to do this free of charge receiving a degree that would be booth practical and challenging. As one could imagine everyone I spoke to automatically assumed I would stay at Louisiana College and get my master’s degree there. I mean who wouldn’t take advantage of that opportunity? This was my thought for some time as well, but something about the whole thing never set right with my heart. I wasn’t sure what that was until I was able to attend a conference at Temple Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, MS.

At the conference there was an announcement that the current pastor at Temple, Tony Merida, would be moving to Raleigh to plant a church and teach at SEBTS. This news fell on me like a man dying of thirst unaware. I knew something wasn’t right and couldn’t figure out what it was until I heard of Imago Dei Church. I am fairly confident that Tony has no idea how much my 1 minute conversation with him after the conference affected me uprooting my life to move to Raleigh, but it was exactly what I needed to hear and what the Lord used to create a calm in my heart.

My desire when moving to Raleigh, whenever that was going to be, was always to try and be part of a church plant in some form or fashion. When I heard that Tony, someone whose preaching, pastoring, writing, and humility I deeply respect, and others were looking to do the same I was overwhelmed with great excitement and joy. It was hard to explain to numerous people who I loved and respected why I wanted to leave a good job, a good education, a good church, and great friends to move to a place where I knew next to no one to be part of a church that I knew little to nothing about and to pay for a degree I could get for free. Understandably, some people had there questions and doubts, but after being able to share my heart everyone was very supportive…. (to be continued)


About Justin Bailey

I am currently a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Starbucks barista, and a part of a great church in Imago Dei. I moved to Wake Forest, NC from Pineville, LA on June 1, 2011 to start school and be a part of the planting process of Imago Dei here in North Raleigh. Most of my musings will be from the vain of one of these three aspects of my life along with other things thrown in there.


One thought on “New Town, New Blog, New… well a lot of things.

  1. Very cool to hear your story, Justin. Can’t wait for future reads!

    Posted by alice' m. | July 17, 2011, 11:01 PM

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