A journey that led back home… Bewley returns back to childhood church as the pastor

Published 3:14 pm Friday, October 23, 2020

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Jody Bewley grew up knowing more about the church than most people his age as his father, Kenneth Bewley, was a pastor in the Church of God headquartered in Cleveland.

He saw the frustrations and heartache of being a shepherd to a flock and more than likely in his own mind had said several times that wouldn’t be the life he wanted to pursue.

However, as anyone who has ever been called by the Creator of the universe knows, its not always about what you want and what path He has chosen for you.

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The Bewley family moved to Elizabethton in 1985 when the elder Bewley assumed the pastorate of Roan Street Church of God moving into a parsonage located next door to the church at that time.

Bewley attended and graduated from Elizabethton High School in 1992 and went to work for Food Lion in Banner Elk, NC where he would meet the love of his life in his future wife, Angie.

The two married in 1997 and settled in Wilkesboro, NC where Bewley worked as the assistant manager at the Food Lion in Wilkesboro while his wife was a Certified Public Accountant at a local accounting firm.

In May of 1999, Bewley heeded the call to go into ministry and preach and served as the interim pastor at Roan Mountain Church of God in 2001 and as assistant pastor of the North Wilkesboro Church of God until August of 2002.

Bewley took his first full-time pastorate in September of 2002 when he accepted the position of pastor at the Ronda Church of God in North Carolina where he preached his final sermon on Sunday, October 18, 2020, a span of 18 years.

The Bewleys have two children – Leanna who is 15 and Connor who is 11.

Bewley was asked what it meant for him to come back to the church where he grew up in as its new pastor.

“It is almost overwhelming to be given this opportunity,” he said. “How many pastors have had the chance to come back and serve at the church where they grew up?

“Much less to serve in a place where a great man was so successful for so long? Then have that great man be their father? It still doesn’t seem real and there’s a part of me that expects to walk in and see dad in his office studying.

“There are so many great memories of the people at Roan Street and if the Lord tarries, I hope that we are able to make some great memories for the younger generations that are to come.”

Bewley believes that at the current time there exists more of an opportunity to connect with each other than ever before even in a time when people are also feeling more isolated than they have ever felt.

Also there is much uncertainty not only for the times tomorrow but even for today.

“We the church, need to be very intentional about making people feel connected not just with each other but with God and also show people how to be certain of God’s word and sovereignty in these uncertain times,” commented Bewley.

When asked about his approach to ministry, Bewley said his main goal is to preach a Christ-centered message that is relevant and understandable by all ages.

During his sermons, he blends subjects with real-life interactions – many coming from his life and those involving being a father and husband saying, “I want people to know more about the Lord and His word when they leave church. I like to see people serving within the church according to their gifts and callings.”

The opportunity to return back to the place where most of his early years were formed was one that Bewley admitted that he never expected.

“When I left Tennessee and moved to North Carolina, I never seriously thought that one day I would be back in Tennessee with a family of my own,” Bewley stated emphatically.

“When Angie and I stood before the congregation and was presented as pastor and family, I had to keep telling myself that this was really happening. I don’t believe anyone is more surprised by this than I am!”

Many pastors have had to face the same thing Bewley had to face in his final sermon before moving on to his new assignment and that was saying his final goodbye to the people who have become his second family for the last 18 years.

Bewley reflected back on his final farewell.

“After being anywhere as long as we were at Ronda, you form deep relationships,” Bewley said. “I have seen children born, others grow up and some get married and have children of their own.

“As a pastor, you are with people in the worst and best of times and it is during those times that bonds are formed. We will always love and miss the people of Ronda but this is God’s will for our lives at this time.”

The new Roan Street Church of God pastor is bringing a vision of unity and love as he assumes his new position on October 25, 2020.

“I want to see Roan Street as a place of love for God and one another, a place of unity among the congregation and a church with the mission to be the kind of church the Lord Jesus Christ has called us to be,” Bewley said.

Not everyone has the opportunity as Bewley so that is what makes coming home that much sweeter.

He is ready and excited for his new position and welcomes all those who once attended Roan Street to do as he has done and that is to come back home!