Career move launches church

If there is one thing this area has a lot of, it's churches, and many different kinds.

But I recently came across a denomination I wasn't familiar with: the Church of the Brethren.

"We are a peace- and service-oriented denomination," said Frances Beam, pastor of Living Faith Church. "We work to serve our community, to meet the needs of those who are in need and to share the love of Jesus with everyone we meet," she said.

Beam hasn't always been a minister. In fact, she moved from Virginia to the Concord area for a job that paid double the salary she had been earning.

"My sights were set on my career and climbing the corporate ladder," Beam said. "To me this was a gift from God.

"Little did I know that it was part of his plan to get me us to this place to continue his work. He knew money - and a lot of it - would be the only thing that would get us to leave Virginia."

So the Beam family - Frances, her husband, Ricky, and their children, Travis and Emily - moved to North Carolina in 1994. In adjusting to the change, the one thing they couldn't find was a church family that was right for them.

So they traveled back to Virginia every weekend for Sunday morning worship at their old church.

"Out of frustration, one Sunday morning we asked our pastor, 'What are we going to do? We can't find a church in North Carolina,' " Beam said. "And out of God's infinite wisdom, our pastor said, 'Why don't you start a church in North Carolina?'

"That was when God's plans kicked up a notch," she said. "I found a passion in doing this work with the church planting that I had never experienced before. It gave me more energy and an excitement deep within the soul that I had never experienced before.

"In 2009, after 14 years, my career came to an end, and the door opened for me to become the pastor of Living Faith Church," Beam said. "It is a lot of work, but to think that people allow me into the most personal parts of their lives to walk with them is humbling and an honor.

"God's plans are not always our plans. All we have to do is be faithful, listen and follow."

Living Faith Church of the Brethren is at 3251 Rock Hill Church Road in Concord. Sunday School is at 10 a.m., and worship begins at 11 a.m. Bible study is at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

For more information, find the church on Facebook or call 704-782-3641.