We are both pleased and privileged to announce that Neal Nelson will be joining our church this summer as our new Associate Pastor! His family of seven – his wife, Teresa, and his children: sixteen-year-old Emma, nine-year-old Elijah, seven-year-old Ethan, three-year-old Elanora and one-and-a-half-year-old Eva – will be transitioning from Fellowship Church Arkadelphia, Arkansas to Blacksburg in the near future.
Neal is coming to us from Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He brings with him brings fifteen years of experience of service with the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, and ten years of ministry experience with Fellowship Church prior to serving with the BCM.
Neal has recently completed his Doctorate of Ministry, earned from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Before that, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and his Master of Divinity – the first professional degree a pastor earns – came from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
One month ago, the members of Northstar sat down and voted ‘yes’ to the Leadership Board’s recommendation of Neal. Members gathered beforehand to hear from Neal and his wife Teresa, who sat down for a question and answer session with the church body. Since then, he and his family have been preparing for their transition to Blacksburg.
“I love learning the interesting stories of people and places, so I plan to learn all about the local history in and around Blacksburg and even Virginia history,” Neal said. “The New River Valley seems to have a unique cultural blend – a university surrounded by what seems to me to be a more rural area – so I am looking forward to learning the culure. The same is true about organizations, so I am eager to really understand Northstar’s people and culture.”
Neal came to speak at Northstar May 30 and examined Ephesians 4:11-16. He preached about the church’s need to grow and mature in our faith, something Neal himself has been challenged with throughout his life. He says he relates to Timothy for that reason.
“[Timothy] had a heritage of faith and older believers to nurture maturity in him,” Neal said. “He seemed to struggle with being a leader early in his life, but eventually served the church well.”
The Nelsons love anything to do with the outdoors including camping, kayaking, fishing, hunting, hiking, community events and playing at the park. Neal likes to get to know people while taking part in meaningful, fun activities.
“If I can accomplish something while having fun, life is good,” Neal said. “For example, working alongside others on a family mission trip or [doing] community service work would top my list of the best way to get to know others.”
Neal and his family are excited for their first Sunday at Northstar, which will happen sometime this summer. In the meantime, you can help to prepare the way for them by praying for their travel, their transition and ultimately that God’s will be followed through his work!