I want to thank everyone for all the kind words and well wishes over the past week. This transition, like most are bitter/sweet.
•It’s hard to leave those of you who have allowed us open access to your lives.
•It’s hard to leave those of you who have become friends and family to us.
•It’s hard to leave those of you who have allowed us to impact your life for Christ.
•It’s hard to leave those of you who have helped us grow closer to Jesus.
•It’s hard to leave those who have stuck with me and believed in me even when others did not – even when others left – even when others gave up.
•It’s hard to leave our home and neighborhood and all the memories we made there over the past six + years.
•It’s hard to leave a place in which you experienced God do such huge things in people and community. The fact that God allowed us to baptize 26 people last year and pull off a big event with over 20,000 people attending is simply miraculous. I love being a part of God sized things.
•It’s hard to watch your wife pack up a classroom and leave a school and friends that she loved so much.
•It’s hard to leave a staff that is like family to us. Mitchell, Steve and their families have a true passion for following Christ. I am honored to have served with them on the battle lines and would want few others next to me in the fight of faith. I wished so bad that I could take them with me for this next part of our journey.
•It’s hard to explain to three daughters that God is leading us away from their friends, schools, and memories.
•It’s hard to trust God with these “faith steps.” The older I get the harder they become.
•It’s hard to leave a place in which I failed to lead the “power brokers” to catch God’s vision of reaching this community for Him. Someone asked me yesterday what lessons I’ve learned over the past six+ years. My response, “plenty.” More on those lessons later.
One thing I learned early on in youth ministry is that no matter how hard you try it’s ultimately up to each individual person to follow Christ. We are just called to sow seeds. As I look around Lebanon I see a huge mission field that needs to be reached for Christ. I’m thankful for those who remain here to do His work and my prayers are with them.
My prayer is that I have lived in such a way that those who knew me saw Christ in the way I lived and in some way I may have compelled them to also live completely for Jesus.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Today I officially stepped down as pastor of First Church of Lebanon. I have accepted a position with the Free Will Baptist International Missions Department and will be relocating my family to Nashville, Tennessee within the next couple of weeks. My transition is quick, simply because of the nature of my new position and the launch of a new campaign at the end of this July (not much time to get things rolling).
As one might imagine, this has been an extremely difficult decision. One thing I’m learning through all of this is that the older you get the harder “faith steps” become. Because the older you get the more stuff you have in your life that is impacted by your decisions – children, home, contacts, friends, family, you name it.
We have been privileged to invest six years of our lives leading and challenging the people of First Church to grow in their personal relationship with Christ and to make His name famous throughout the world.
As we work through this transition faze we greatly appreciate your prayers. Relocation means we have a house to pack up and sell. At the same time, we are trying to find a place to live in Nashville. Not easy while saying goodbye to friends and moving to a new city to tackle a Goliath of a ministry task.