“The inner action of prayer takes precedence over the outer action of proclamation. The implication of this for pastoral work is plain: it begins in prayer. Anything creative, anything powerful, anything biblical, insofar as we are participants in it, originates in prayer. Pastors who imitate the preaching and moral action of the prophets without also imitating the prophets’ deep praying and worship so evident in the Psalms are an embarrassment to the faith and an encumbrance to the church.” (Eugene Peterson in Working the Angles)
This past Sunday I announced to our Crosspoint Community Church family that we would be leaving for me to take over as Lead Pastor at North River Church in Parrish, Florida. Here is the letter I read to our church family on Sunday:
It is with mixed emotions that I stand before you this morning. In June of 2012, I began serving as your pastor. The 3.5 years since have only served to confirm that God was in our coming here. You have been a loving, supportive, and gracious congregation. It has been a great joy for our family to live life together with you, to worship with you, and to serve alongside you these past years.
But now the time has come for us to say goodbye.
Last Sunday morning, I preached at, was voted on by, and was offered the position of lead pastor at North River Church in Parrish, Florida. We have been talking with this church for several months, and it became clear, as we continued in the process with them, that this was where God was leading us.
As I result, this morning I offer my resignation as the pastor here at Crosspoint Community Church. Our last Sunday here will be December 27th and we will transition that next week.
Even though we struggle with strong feelings of grief over having to say goodbye, we are excited about what God wants to do both here and in Parrish in the years ahead. As we have experienced God’s hand at work in our leaving, we can also trust that he will provide the right man to come and faithfully serve here for the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We love you. And if you will allow it, we will leave Crosspoint Community Church feeling as if we have a forever-family in Dublin, Georgia. Thank you for loving Janie, Anna, Leah, and myself. We feel blessed to have been a part of this church family. Thank you for taking a chance on me, knowing that I had never been a senior pastor, and allowing me to serve you over the past 3.5 years. God has done incredible things…to Him be the glory!
I want close with the words of the Apostle Paul, in Philippians 1:27-28, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.”
Thanks for your prayers as we make this transition!
Last night I had the chance to talk with Henry Neufeld, my publisher, about my book Parent-Driven Discipleship. If you have a spare hour in your day (or you are just really bored) take some time to watch the interview. Would love to hear your thoughts!
“Ambitious and self-seeking Christian workers, like the priest and the Levite, pass by on the other side of the street in order to devote themselves to a higher stratum of society. They are not willing to keep teaching the elements of the gospel to simple believers, or to endeavor to encourage backsliders onto the narrow way. They want a ministry more worthy of their powers.
Jesus, however, found delight and satisfaction in stooping to serve those whom most choose to ignore. His skillful, loving care caused the broken reed once again to produce heavenly music and fanned the dimly burning wick into a glowing flame. He never entirely crushed of concerned the penitent. It is noble work to care for those whom the world ignores.” (J. Oswald Sanders in Spiritual Discipleship)
On Sunday, June 7th Crosspoint Community Church celebrated it’s 1 year anniversary of moving into a new facility and changing its name (it was New Vision Fellowship for 10 years). The year has flown by and I am incredibly grateful to have pastored such a wonderful group of people for the past 3 years.
Over the past year we have seen 25 people join our church, baptized 13, and paid down the note on our building $300,000! We have given over 10% of what is given to our church to local, national and international ministries. We also have 6 children that have made professions of faith in Jesus Christ and we are working with them and their parents as we prepare to baptize them in the coming months. God is at work in and through our church family!
We should celebrate all that God has done over the past year but I am convinced that he wants to do more! Statistics tell us that 80% of our community is unchurched and they lack a relationship with Jesus Christ. The mission field around us is huge and I believe the Lord wants to use our church to pierce the darkness and carry the gospel to our community.
Will you join me in praying for our church and our community? Will you ask God to open doors of opportunity for us to reach into the darkness around us? I am reminded of Jesus’ words to his disciples in Matthew 9:38, “Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send our laborers into his harvest.” Let’s pray. Let’s go. Let’s see what God will do!
“The Church is in urgent need of shepherds and teachers who will study. The pressures and pace of contemporary life make that an increasingly difficult goal to achieve. Christ’s flock on earth depends upon its undershepherds to lead it into fresh pastures of God’s Word. Undershepherds maintain an effective ministry as they extend their own understanding of God’s Word. If we are constantly pouring out without pouring in, we will soon cease to pour out anything that is of value to others.” (Derek Prime & Alistair Begg in On Being A Pastor)
“Our goal is not empire building. Although all called to serve our Lord Jesus Christ would accept that, it is easy nevertheless to err in this respect through lack of personal watchfulness. Lording it over others has no place in the work of shepherds and teachers (2 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Peter 5:3). The key title for those in Christ’s service is servant. Shepherds and teachers are for churches, not churches for shepherds and teachers. Churches do not exist for our benefit or for our livelihood. We exist rather for their good.” (Derek Prime & Alistair Begg in On Being A Pastor)
The Christian pastor holds the greatest office of human responsibility in all creation. He is called to preach the Word, to teach the truth to God’s people, to lead God’s people in worship, to tend the flock as a caring shepherd, and to mobilize the church for Christian witness and service. The pastor’s role also includes an entire complex of administrative and leadership tasks. Souls are entrusted to his care, the trust is entrusted to his stewardship, and eternal realities hand in the balance. Who can fulfill this job description?
Of course, the answer is that no man can fulfill this calling. The Christian pastor much continue acknowledge his absolute dependence upon the grace and mercy of God. As the apostle Paul instructs us, we are but earthen vessels employed for God’s glory. On his own, no man is up to this task. (Albert Mohler in On Being A Pastor)
“One of the greatest tragedies in the church today is the depreciation of the pastoral office. From seminaries to denominational headquarters, the prevalent mood and theme is managerial, organizational, and psychological. And we think thereby to heighten our professional self-esteem! Hundreds of teachers and leaders put the mastery of the Word first with their lips but by their curriculums, conferences, seminars, and personal example, show that it is not foremost.” (John Piper in Brothers, We Are Not Professionals)