A Journey Worth Considering When it comes to taking trips there are many who would rather forgo all the planning, would rather leave all that "stuff" to someone else and simply enjoy the destination itself. I'm not one of these. I want to focus on the planning. I want to make the arrangements. I want to scope out the sites in advance. I'm the type of person who thoroughly...Keep Reading
My dear brothers and sisters, here is the special announcement that I made yesterday.
I have received and accepted a call to become the next senior pastor of Fort Worth Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, TX.
In announcing this, I want to give you some context on how this came about. You see, Neecia and I attended Fort Worth Pres for a short time while I was still in seminary. And during that short time and through various connections we have not only watched Fort Worth Pres from a distance but I personally have been shaped as a pastor through their vision and ministry. For years, Fort Worth Pres has been a strong and healthy church. Yet over the last three to four years, this church has fallen on hard times. Their senior pastor retired under difficult circumstances, and since then their associate pastor, youth pastor, and music director have all resigned.
Now you may be thinking – why in the world would I ever want to take this call? Well, because I’ve always had a heart for churches that have not had the easiest go of it. That was the main reason Neecia and I were drawn to Trinity nearly ten years ago. And while I’m not called to fix hurting churches, God’s call on my life has always been to love hurting churches by leading them humbly and preaching the gospel to them faithfully, as I trust I’ve done here for the past 9 and half years.
I want you to know that I didn’t go looking for this. No, it came to me. I was recommended for this position by others, most notably my former senior pastor in San Antonio, TX. And after having been recommended, the search committee reached out to me back in February, and we began a discussion that eventually turned into this call – a call that became official on July 18, 2021.
As I tell you this, I do so with both joy and sorrow; with tears because of our deep love for you. My family and I love this congregation dearly. It has been my joy to serve and to be served by you. What a great privilege it has been to be your pastor and to be a part of what God has done and is doing in and through this congregation. My family has grown up here. I have grown up as a pastor, and together we have all grown in the grace of the glorious gospel of Christ. And it’s knowing that this congregation is rooted in the gospel that even allowed me to entertain this transition and accept this call. Trinity is healthy. We have a godly session. We have a faithful diaconate. We have a mature, gospel-centered assistant pastor, one I trust with my life. We have wise ministry leaders, and we have members who love Jesus. God has been, is, and will be at work in this church, and that gives me the confidence to say…The best days are ahead for Trinity Presbyterian Church.
As to the logistics of this transition: My last day preaching will be September 26th, so today is not farewell. Rather, it’s preparation for the coming farewell, but even then it will not be a final farewell. As C.S. Lewis once said, “Christians never really say goodbye.” For even when distance separates we are still united in Christ and one day we will all be together when he returns. You are our family – thicker than biological blood because it is in Christ’s blood!! Neecia and I are so thankful for all that God has taught us through Trinity, the beautiful friendships he’s given us that cannot be separated by miles. If even death can’t separate us from the love of Christ, then miles certainly can’t break the bond of the Christian brotherhood we have in Him!
I am confident that God is joining His Church through things such as this. He is not taking us away from one another but extending his family, tightening the bond, and introducing us to Christian relatives who live in a different place. In many ways, we see this as you sending us out to continue our work of loving and serving Christ’s church. It’s our prayer that people from Trinity will visit Fort Worth Pres when they travel and people traveling from Fort Worth will want to visit you because we’re one family in the Lord.
With all this, I do want to let you know that in the months of August and September I’ll be here with the exception of one Sunday, but I won’t be preaching as much. And this was actually planned even before I knew all this would be official. Yet not preaching as much will allow me to focus my attention on leaving well, of preparing our leadership here for this upcoming transition. Early on in my ministry here at Trinity, I remember praying, “Father, if you ever take me away from this church, may it be a good leaving, one where Trinity is grounded in the gospel and growing, one where the leadership is strong, and one where your name will be honored.” And as hard as it is to say because of my love for you, our God has answered my prayer for your benefit, for my benefit, and I trust for the benefit of Fort Worth Pres.
My friends, my brothers and sisters, my dear family, I love you and I am eternally grateful for you. Thank you for loving me and my family so well. Through you, our Lord has impressed this truth on my heart more deeply…That there is one body and one Spirit – just as we were called to one hope that belongs to our call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
May this one Holy Trinity bless and keep this one body of Trinity Presbyterian church as well as his one universal church, so that his one holy name would be honored, that we might welcome all with the gospel, and that we might continue by his grace to embody the reign of Christ until he comes again.
With much love and gratitude,