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Pastor moves states away to take reins at Montoursville church

KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Jack Delaney, left, retired pastor and Tim Snyder, right,lead pastor of Lycoming Valley Baptist Church in Montoursville.

After serving 15 years at Lycoming Valley Baptist Church, Pastor Jack Delaney has retired again, and according to Delaney, this time it is final.

While he was pastor at Lycoming Valley Baptist, Delaney said the church had undergone some changes, such as remodeling in order to facilitate the growth of the congregation. But, one change Delaney has noticed during his tenure at the church is the renewed interest of younger people in spiritual matters.

“That would be my number one thing — their willingness to be involved,” he said, adding that this had happened over a period of years while he pastored the church.

Admitting that he’s not sure what has brought about this resurgence of interest by the younger generation, Delaney said he thinks, “Some people are just saying there’s something more than whatever the world is trying to sell us. It’s more than money, it’s more than status. I think that’s the bottom line of what they found.”

“I believe that’s the reason why our new pastor, Tim, is so poised for growth. I will be shocked if the church doesn’t grow exponentially under him because he’s a young guy. He’s a really good preacher,” he added.

Pastor Tim Snyder, who with his wife, Jennie, and their two children, moved here from Flint, Michigan, in August to assume the pastorate at Lycoming Valley Baptist.

Snyder, who began preaching at the church on the first Sunday in October, said that the move from the larger, more urban city to this rural area was prompted by the Lord leading them here.

“For about five years I knew the Lord had something in store for our family, something different, a new ministry. We loved our old church. It was a fantastic church filled with fantastic people. Our kids were born there. In fact I worked with one of my older brothers. We pastored there for 13 years. So, for us to leave was probably the hardest decision we’ve ever made,” he said.

“We just knew that this is where God wanted us after several visits and meeting the people and seeing the area,” Snyder added. “We knew this is where God wanted us to move.”

Snyder said that he and his wife, who along with her role as a mother serves in ministry, felt that God wanted them to bring the Gospel to this area to see more people saved.

“It (moving) was very hard, but honestly, what made the decision ultimately easier for us is we just thought about what Jesus did for us. Jesus, God’s son, left heaven. How hard must that have been for Jesus to leave heaven? To come all the way to earth. He traveled the greatest distance. He did that to take my sin. To die on a cross and take my place, so I could be forgiven and serve Him.” Snyder said.

“If Jesus could do that for me, the least I can do for Him is to travel a few states over and proclaim his Gospel in this area. So, we knew this is where God wanted us to move. We looked at Jesus as our motivation and we followed His example and every week that we minister here, God makes it more and more clear.”

Snyder and his wife were born and raised in upstate New York, so the move here was more like going back to their childhood, he said.

One affirmation that Snyder and his family got that the move was God-led, was that their home in Flint sold immediately.

“In Flint, Michigan, we lived in the city and we all know the water crisis and all those things, it’s really hard to sell a home in the city. We sold our home in less than seven hours,” he said.

Looking ahead, Snyder says that he has several goals he’d like to achieve while at Lycoming Baptist. Coming from Flint, which is an impoverished area, Snyder said that there were many opportunities to minister to people by providing clothes and food.

“We’d like to have that same type of ministry as well, where we’re able to impact our community first and foremost with the truth of the Gospel, but then also being the hands and feet of Jesus — looking to meet those needs where we see them,” he said.

“We want to do ministry not just in the four walls of a building. The church isn’t just a building, it’s a body of believers and we’re called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, so we want to minister, yes, to one another. We want to build each other up as a church, but we also want to bridge out to our community with the Gospel.

“The Bible says we should be zealous with good works, so we want to do some good things to people and share in order to open doors to share the greatest news — the Gospel of Jesus and the good things Jesus did for us by dying for us,” he shared.

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