A young pastor from Opp, Ala., had a tragic start and end to 2014 last Wednesday when he died after reportedly skiing into a tree while enjoying his vacation in West Virginia on the first day of 2014.
A report in the Andalusia Star News was short on details of the accident, but suggested that mission and discipleship pastor Johnny Warren of Westview Baptist Church in Opp, Ala., died after skiing into a tree.
While Warren was buried on Sunday, Westview Pastor Gary Miller said his church had a "trying 24 hours" after news broke of the young pastor's death and they were still trying to cope.
"Johnny had a heart for God," said Miller in the report. "That describes him. He had a heart for this community, and our church here at Westview."
Warren, he explained, had been a part of the church's ministerial team for the last four years and was planning to start serving as a missionary in Haiti with his wife, Amy, in February.
"He really had a heart for sharing the Gospel with the nations," said Miller said. "Johnny had served as a missionary in Vietnam several years ago. He and Amy were actually planning on going to Haiti in February. They were going to go and continue their relationship with us from down there."
In a post on the church's facebook page last Friday, the church revealed that Warren, who had been a committed Christian since he was a 9 years old, preached his last sermon at the church on Sunday Dec. 29., from Philippians 3:7-11, which reads (from KJV):
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
"He encouraged so many in their walk with God and constantly pointed people to the joy of knowing Christ. He preached his final sermon on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, on Philippians 3:7-11. This was truly the testimony of his life that Johnny considered all things loss compared to knowing Christ Jesus as Lord. We have hope that we will see Johnny again, because we know the truth of the Bible that says all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved and that we will live forever with God in heaven," noted the church on its Facebook page.