Today is Monday, March 16, 2015. Yesterday was the first time since 1979 that I did not stand and speak as a Senior Pastor of a local church. Can I just say it was a weird feeling? Last week I resigned as Senior Pastor of The People’s Church in Franklin, Tennessee, where I served for nearly 33 years. My Facebook, text, phone, and email blew up after that announcement, so I have been talking to friends (mostly other pastors) non-stop and trying to respond to as many as I possibly could. Right now I am staying a few days with a friend who is one of those rare individuals who sticks “closer than a brother.”
Before I say more, let me say I believe that The People’s Church is one of the greatest churches in the nation today. Just like Paul said regarding the church at Philippi, “I thank my God every time I remember you.” That will never change.
I have been asked repeatedly the last few days,”How are you doing, and what’s next?” Well, it feels like we survived a plane crash, and for now we are still in the Intensive Care Unit. Sudden and unexpected stops are traumatizing. Healing will take some time, but I really do believe the gospel message I have proclaimed for decades. We may not ever get over this, but we will get through this because God really is good all the time, and all the time God is good. Romans 8:28 is just as true today as it was before this all took place.
What’s next? We honestly don’t know today. Many have asked and assumed I would start a new church. Others have suggested a new missions enterprise. All I know at this point is we are going to follow the admonition of Psalm 37:3; Trust in the Lord and do good. So for now, we will simply trust the Lord for the next chapter of life and practice our faith by doing good (serving God and people).
I have promised Patti that I will write with some frequency in order to encourage and minister to others and hold myself accountable to fresh encounters with the Lord. So, here is the first installment.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Easier to read than actually do, but that’s our goal as we start a new part of our journey. Your prayers will be appreciated.