Life at the Corner of Grace and Seventh Street
After prayerfully seeking the will of God for our lives, we feel that the Lord is leading our family on to a new path. And as our family travels down this new path, we do so walking hand in hand. Our gaze is fixed upon the Lord as we venture into the future that He has in store for us. I have accepted the position of Pastor of Seventh Street Baptist Church located in Cullman, Alabama. Seventh Street Baptist is also the current location of Cullman Christian School.
Cullman has a population of about 15,000 people. The county has a total population of about 80,000 people. To give the Grace family a “Tennessee” reference to consider, Cullman is comparable in size with Dickson. Located halfway between Huntsville and Birmingham, Cullman is a unique city highly influenced by German culture.
To my precious Grace family; for over five years now, we have been on the receiving end of the most loving church family imaginable. Words cannot express our love for you. Thank you for embracing us since we arrived to Chester County. Through the years, you have showered us with love, patience, encouragement and grace. As we poured our lives into you, you continually filled our bucket back up. And for that, we are forever grateful. This decision has not been taken lightly, and we are confident that it is not only the will of God for our family but also the will of God for the Grace family. It is a decision that has been saturated with much prayer, and has been made with the best interest of our personal family and our church family in mind. My mission and calling as pastor of Grace Baptist Church has been to be serve in the roll of “launching” pastor. A launching pastor has the great task of leading a church start through the early years and to help establish the ministries of the church. He is also to help position the church in such a way that it is a viable witness in the community. Now, over five years later, the time has come and the conditions are right for my departure. It is evident the groundwork is complete and that Grace has been firmly planted within the community. Yet a launching pastor can only take a church so far. For any gifts, talents, and abilities God has given me were only specific to match Grace Baptist for a particular season; just as it is worded in the book of Esther “for such a time as this.” As Grace graduates from infancy to adolescence, the time has come for the baton to be passed on to the next pastor; someone more adequately equipped for Grace’s next season of life. Whomever he might be, God will gift him with the gifts, talents, and abilities that appropriately fit the next chapter of Grace’s story. Just as I shared with you last Sunday morning; God has carried you this far. He is not going to drop you now. So I want to encourage all of you to find rest in the sovereignty and providence of God; because God has prepared the soil of our hearts to leave Grace, confidently know that He has also prepared the soil of another pastor’s heart to come to Grace. So do not see my departure with limited tunnel vision, only focused on the temporal or the “here and now.” Instead, know that God sees the panoramic view, and His eternal purposes cannot be thwarted. As Grace has recently opened the doors to our new church facility, the church opens the doors to the future. I want to encourage all of you to walk through those doors hand in hand each week with your gaze fixed upon the Lord, just as our family is doing with the new path He has placed before us. I will continue to serve as your pastor for the next four weeks. My last Sunday will be April 6th. I believe this is an appropriate length of time to help the church make any necessary adjustments along with any long range planning needed to help prepare the Grace family for this upcoming season of transition. May God Bless you all and we will love you always in the blessed love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To my Seventh Street family; we love you already and look forward to our future together! We are filled with joy to know the opportunities of ministry that are before us. Seventh Street has had roots in Cullman for over 137 years. And we must continue to be the lighthouse to the city of Cullman that God has called us to be. For our family, Cullman used to simply be a “Cracker Barrel pit-stop” on the way to Birmingham. But now Cullman is so much more than that; in recent months we have made multiple trips to Cullman in effort to confirm God’s leading to Seventh Street. We have walked down your streets, shopped in your shops, sat in your restaurants, visited your attractions, and most importantly…we have prayed over your city. And through it all, God has made it very clear to our family that he has called us to Seventh Street Baptist Church and to the city of Cullman. And through it all, we realize that your city is now our city; for we have fallen in love with Cullman, Alabama.
My first Sunday will be Palm Sunday, April 13th. I will serve on a transitional basis throughout April and May. During this time frame our family will spend our weekends in Cullman. I will be preaching both Sunday services, and take each and every opportunity to get to know the 7th street family. I want to get to know you, and desire to know how I can minister to you and your family best. We will move to Cullman at the end of May. We are looking forward to what God will do in the life of the Seventh Street family in the years to come. Know this; the fields are white unto harvest. So let’s be faithful in our harvesting of souls for the Kingdom of God. As we serve the Lord together in Cullman and our surrounding area, let us glue our hands to the gospel plow and not look back (Luke 9:62).
Soli Deo Gloria,
P.S. Grace Family – We will see you tonight. After I send this out we are leaving Cullman and heading your way. I yearn to share my heart with you as a pastor to his people…