Throughout the process of transition from one season to the next-prayer, fasting and counsel were all engaged…however, as you know making a major decision can be tricky at best. Seeking to live by faith and say yes to Jesus is not necessarily easy. Along the journey I asked the Lord to confirm his leading in 3 ways: 1) His Whisper, 2) His Word and 3) His Witnesses. Over the last year I had heard some gentle whispers through nudges in my spirit, impressions during prayer, thoughts in my mind and conversations with friends. I knew that a step was awaiting me on the horizon. Along the way, God began to speak through his Word as well. A key passage of scripture came to me in Jeremiah 17. I had 2 out of the 3 but was still desperate for greater clarity. When I say “His Witnesses” I am not talking about people who love, know and believe in me, I am talking about people who know nothing about the situation yet confirm the leading of God. One of the witnesses came early one morning in March…

For those of you who know me, I can likely be found at a local Starbucks reading the Scriptures or the “book of the month”. It was on one of those typical days that my life intersected with a gentleman named Hal. He became a “Witness” indeed.

It was a Tuesday morning around 6am and I came into have my tall dark coffee just black please! Although I can’t recall now, I probably requested a mug rather than a paper cup since I knew that I would be there for a bit. After being served my coffee I proceeded to make the most important decision of my morning-where would I sit. At the Starbucks at Grand Boulevard in Santa Rosa Beach there are a lot of options. Most of the options are typical and not easy on the tush. Nevertheless, there are a section of chairs in this particular store that are soft cushions with some short “end table” like things in the middle of them. These chairs are a group of four with 2 facing each other. Since it was 6am, no one was in the store so I elected the nice cushion chairs. I sat down, put my head phones in, spread out my bible and books and began to soak a bit. I enjoyed myself for a good solid hour with no interruptions and no weirdos deciding to sit in the chairs in front of me….

Around the 7am hour, two persons whom Destin people refer to as “snow birds” propped themselves down in the seats in front of me. I thought “o great, what else do I need to do to ensure they DO NOT talk to me?” After sitting down, they proceeded to drink there coffees and look at the paper and iPad. It appeared that I was dodging a bullet….

So the “snow birds” got up and left and with 5 minutes another gentleman pranced down from one of the back tables and set up shop. He plugged in his phone so that it would charge and opened his iPad and began to read. I noticed all of this out of the corner of my eye as I desperately tried to hide. After about 20 minutes of additional reading and feeling annoyed, it was time for me to pack up and head to church. After assembling all of my things and standing to leave, the gentleman across from me says “Are you studying to teach something?” I replied, “Actually I am….I am one of the pastors at the church over here.” His immediate next questions were so distinct, unusual, pointed and for me personally prophetic that they are forever etched in my mind. They were in this order…”What does your church do for discipleship? What do they do for men?” Never before in all of my years growing up in church and ministry has anyone ever asked me a question about discipleship. I knew that this was no coincidence especially with all that I had been sensing about the congregation I believed God was calling Shannon and I to lead in which the “engine” would be that very thing.

I stumbled over my words in attempt to answer Hal’s questions. Following that interchange, Hal and I formerly introduced ourselves…I said, I am Jerimy Kanaday, the Executive Pastor at Destiny Worship Center here in Destin. He then responded, I am Hal Hadden and I am from Brentwood, Tennessee….Now for those of you who do not know, Brentwood is in the Nashville area about 15 miles north of Spring Hill. I KNEW these two connections were not just chance but possibly the providence of heaven. I had to rush off to make work on time but Hal offered to meet with me later that day to talk about his ministry called Christian Leadership Concepts. I took him up on the offer later that afternoon and learned that Hal has lived in the Nashville area for 30 years and has given his life to seeing men discipled. He has led a Bible Study every week for 30 years in Franklin of around 60 men. He is the founder of CLC which currently has over 2000 men committed to a 2 year discipleship program in Middle Tennessee alone not to mention the other chapter of CLC in Atlanta and Pennsylvania.

Needless to say, Hal has been a “witness” that God has so graciously placed in our lives. Since that meeting in March, Hal and I have met several other times and discussed the spiritual climate of Middle Tennessee, discipleship, Spring Hill and ministry. He will be voice in the future. He has already, challenged me, encouraged me, prayed for me and offered who he is to all that might be. He is also ONE of the witnesses who told us that 80% of the people in Spring Hill are unchurched…

In our next entry, I’ll introduce everyone to “witness 2”….brother Brad…