SEBRING —The sun was shining brightly last Sunday above The Church of the Way on North Ridgewood Avenue in Sebring. Two ministries embraced and then became the past and the present.
Retiring Pastor John Nelson, who served his congregation for a number of years, passed the ‘baton’ to Pastor Daryl Brezee, who just moved here from Wisconsin. Brezee will nurture the caring ministry already in place and hopes to further expand its boundaries.
“I received a call from Glen Schrieber, Superintendent ECFA (Evangelical Free Church) Southeast,” Brezee said. “My family and I came to Sebring for a visit and were so drawn to the warmth and friendliness of this community. We knew we wanted to live here.”
Pastor Brezee is a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute with a degree in international ministries and is working on a master’s in theology studies. Daryl and his wife Christina are originally from Michigan and Wisconsin. They have a daughter, Selah.
“We are a house divided when it comes to NFL (football) teams,” Brezee said. “Christina and Selah cheer for the Green Bay Packers and I wait patiently for the Detroit Lions to start winning.”
The family moved here from Madison, Wisconsin where Brezee was working at Hidden Valley Community Church – Richland Center, as their campus pastor. They have also served ministries in Michigan, North Carolina and New Mexico.
“I really enjoy just getting to know the people and the needs of the congregation. What are the strengths and needs of our church? Who can we partner with and assist in our community? How can we best spread the work of God?
“I used to travel an hour to get to work and now it’s only three or four seconds, and that’s if I stop to tie my shoes,” Brezee laughed. They live on the church campus.
“I have family that recently moved here to Florida,” Christina Brezee said. “We were excited to move to Florida to be close by.”
The Church of the Way is very open, warm and welcoming. The installation service opened with some hymns, led by the worship team, consisting of guitar, drums, percussion and vocals.
Pastor Nelson was welcomed to the stage for the ‘passing of the baton’ ceremony to Pastor Brezee. Nelson passed a symbolic shepherd’s crook to Brezee. The Overseers of the church then blessed the Brezee family with prayer.
“The passing of the baton is symbolic of the change in ministry,” said Nelson. “These three things I pass to you: leadership (as God has entrusted you with), the shepherd’s crook (to be a shepherd and oversee your flock) and the Bible (teach God’s word to his people). This is the foundation of a ministry.”
Schrieber gave his message to the congregation and the new ministry. “Look to 2 Timothy 4:1-8. Keep the faith. Preach the word, praise those who do, share the gospel and be empowered by the Lord.
“Fulfill your ministry, Daryl. You have a great opportunity to serve this great community, my friend.”