Sunday, July 23, 2006

Here's your hat. What's your hurry?

Last night was the first worship service of Providence Church, a Reformed & Southern Baptist congregation. Consequently, I started a new job as the pastor of Providence Church. It's a long story how I left one church and was part of forming this one.

I'll just say this, I'm not the first and I certainly won't be the last pastor who was no longer welcome. As a member of the congregation for ten years and the pastor for more than 6.5 there's an element of sadness and personal hurt from being treated with suspicion and distrust to the point of having the locks changed and seeing your name quickly painted over on the church sign.

Yet, it's only fair to note that I was also disgruntled, being unhappy with that had transpired. The three trustees repealed the bylaws and removed the advisory council, leaving themselves in charge with no accountability to the congregation. With every indication being that would not change, I could not in good conscience submit to that type of government ruling over a disenfranchised congregation. In spite of it all, I was really hoping it would be an amicable split, but that has unfortunately not been the case.

Murphy Road Baptist Church was gracious enough to allow us the use of their facility tonight and we are so grateful. Ironically, I was entrusted with a key to their building. Their pastor, the Rev. Dr. Mark Forrest has been a great support, encouragement, and advisor during my first pastorate and for that I will be eternally grateful. I'll have to handle up if his congregation ever gives him some of what I received.

But, oddly enough I'm not bitter or even still harboring feelings of disappointment. Instead, I'm grateful for the experience I gained and the relationships I have cultivated during that time. I'm appreciative of God's providential care that has brought us to this place and time.

I can honestly say that I'm excited about what the future holds, because I know Who holds the future. God in His providence has put me in a situation that I never would have sought or chosen, starting a church plant. I know I would not have chosen this because I have friends who are doing it (e.g., Christ's Community Church & Destiny Church) and I know the uphill battle it can be. But I also know the joy they've experienced in being a part of the birth of a congregation.

I'm an inertia type and I know I would have stayed in the same congregation unless something forcibly compelled me to no longer be an object at rest, but rather one in motion. God knew what He was doing getting me some pastoral experience from which to rely and some great relationships that have been formed with people who will make this adventure successful.

I preached on Ephesians 4:11-16 last night about the marks of a church that is dangerous to the forces of darkness in advancing the kingdom of God by being light in a darkened world. I look forward to going forth with such a great group of people.

I felt hurried out the door, but I think it will be for the best. God in His providence has formulated Providence Church in His timing and with His people. I ask your prayers for us in this time of transition, which will be difficult starting from scratch (needing hymnals, chairs, our own location, etc.). But, God has demonstrated His faithfulness in the past and we trust Him for future grace as well.

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At 24 July, 2006 21:27, Anonymous Renita said...

Hi Brah!

"And we know that ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

God has EVERYTHING in control. You and your family are in my prayers.

Your Sis.

At 24 July, 2006 21:42, Blogger GUNNY said...

Some wise and encouraging words from Curtis Woods, BSM Director at Kentucky State ...

Gunny, I am sorry to hear that you had that experience at the Murph. But, William Cowper's words still ring true, "Behind a frowning PROVIDENCE, he hides a smiling face..." I pray the Lord's grace upon your new ministry position.

Qoheleth said, "In much wisdom is much grief, and he that increases [in] knowledge, increases pain." Rejoice in the Lord always...

Soli Deo Gloria.


At 25 July, 2006 01:48, Anonymous Stefan Richter said...

Hey Gunny,
it´s great to hear from you, although the occation could (but then also could not) have been better! We will be praying for you!
We were / are going thru a similar situation right now here in Germany, but more later! maybe on the phone some time?
Dein Bruder Stefan

At 25 July, 2006 16:42, Blogger RBA Founder Xavier Pickett said...


Michael and I over at RBA will be praying for you, your family, and congregation.

On a lighter note, I don't suppose you would be willing to come over to the dark, I mean presbyterian side, would you? :-)

At 29 July, 2006 08:43, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howdy Gun,
This is Drew! I tried to establish a blogger account but for some reason any combination of letters and letters mixed with numbers was unacceptable to the unthinking, unfeeling, cruel decision making engine of the blogger login device :(
Anyway, if you have any advice just let me know at
Well, I am so sorry to hear
about what has happenned and I couldn't think of a better name for a church or way to understand the situation than providence. It seems so strange and sudden for that to happen?! What brought this on? I know everyone there and it just seems so extreme: locks changed, name painted over etc!
We have all been praying for you here at Spring Hill BC and have just finished our VBS. Whew!
The new baby is great and the ministry is action packed. I am loaded with premarital counseling as well as so much more. Never a dull moment!

Love, drew

At 31 July, 2006 11:26, Blogger DOGpreacher said...

Brother Gunny,

I will be praying for You and your new church, as you persevere in service to our Lord and His church.

I pastor a small SBC (reformed) church in east Texas (Emory), about 60 miles from you. I had taken a special interest in Murphy Road when I heard of you being there, and realized that it was a church I sang in as part of a family gospel group about 30-35 years ago.

Brother, I am not too far down the road, so if I can be of any assistance to you at all, call on me.

grateful for grace,
Gregg Hall
Elder/Pastor @ Elm Baptist Church


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