Jerry King, a lifelong Southwest Virginia educator of school divisions in the counties of; Montgomery, Pulaski, Floyd, Carroll and most recently, Radford City, recently related how the experience of going from a school administrator to becoming a pastor was literally life-changing.
King called the transition “almost unexplainable” since the events happened in such a short period of time. His story began when he and his wife, Lucy, were enjoying a ride in
the country and they saw a beautiful, rural church in Pulaski County they had never seen before, Snowville Christian Church, and spontaneously decided to visit and worship there the next Sunday.
The state superintendent (regional minister) of the denomination, the Rev. Bill Dunning, heard from a pastoral friend that King was interested in filling in for pastors on Sundays when they were on vacation as Dunning had done for years, and he contacted King. Unaware that King had visited the church in Snowville the previous Sunday, Dunning said, “There are several churches in Southwest Virginia that would be interested in hiring you, but after reviewing your resume and biography, there is one specific church that’s located just a few miles from Radford, where you
live, that I would like to send your information to because I think you would be a great fit with them.”
The church was Snowville Christian Church.
Out of hundreds of churches in Southwest Virginia, Dunning wanted to send the educator’s information to the very church King and his wife had ‘randomly’ visited the week before.
King then delivered the message in the church’s worship service the following Sunday. He then received a call from the church board expressing an interest in his not just ‘filling in’ but a desire to interview and possibly hire him as the church’s pastor. King then received unanimous approval from the congregation.
He retired from Radford City schools and 30 days later became the official pastor of the Snowville Christian Church.
“Most people can recall times in their life when something happened they couldn’t really explain, but they knew it was more than just a coincidence,” King said. Referring to a term used in the book, “When God Winks,” King said, “I really like the term that relates to situations like this as a Godwink, which basically is a way our Creator gives encouragement and assures us that we are on the right path. Some of them are small, daily occurrences and some, like this situation, can literally change your life.
“The opportunity to be the pastor and servant-leader with the group of caring, loving people at Snowville Christian Church has been one of the biggest blessings of my life,” King said. “Just
amazing folks that have opened their arms and heart to my wife and me, and words can’t begin to
express our gratitude and love for them.”
When asked to share what King has been like as their pastor, some of the phrases and statements members of the congregation used include, “His messages are inspiring and Bible-based, and he makes them relevant to our lives,” and, “Jerry is very enthusiastic and energetic when he shares from the Word,” and, “He truly loves and cares for people” and, “It’s just a miracle – or Godwink, as Jerry describes it – that he and our church were drawn together.”
Amanda Harbor said that after a large number of her family members attended and heard King speak for the first time at the Christmas Eve Service and then returned home, she enjoyed hearing them share how much they enjoyed his message, how he was so inspiring. She
listened to all the compliments for a while, then smiled and said, “Yes, we have a pastor that rocks!”
And church member Dave Bryant said, “I invite people to visit our church and hear Jerry. He
has a God-given talent for sharing the Word in an enthusiastic and easy-to-understand way that teaches, challenges, encourages, and inspires us.”
King said he was very appreciative of the leadership opportunities and experiences he has
been given ‘on the mission field of public education’ in several Southwest Virginia school districts, most recently with the ‘awesome, dedicated educators in Radford City schools.’
He added that he understands a church is not about the pastor or the building, but the people are
actually the church. In other words, ‘Don’t just GO to church – BE the church.’” At the same time, he feels Snowville Christian Church has the best of both worlds. The church facility itself is a beautiful, historical building that was built in the 1860’s with a very ‘worshipful’ sanctuary. And that physical setting and the loving people who make up the church are what make it so unique and special.
King said, “I love what we are about, as stated on our church website: We are here to ‘inspire hope, help grow your faith, and share God’s love with others.’ People are experiencing more
stress and challenges in their lives today than ever before,” the Snowville pastor said. “And when they attend church, they need to hear the encouraging, positive, Good News of God’s love, forgiveness, and hope for a more abundant and fulfilling life. And we invite everyone to come and experience it with us.”
When someone commented that this amazing, life-changing event in King’s life and the church
started with a scenic ride in the country, King smiled and quickly added, “Yes, and a huge Godwink!”