On Sunday, I accepted the call to serve as the pastor for First Baptist Church of Bradenton, Florida. For some time, I’ve known that the Lord was going to move me back into full-time ministry. I’ve sought clarity from God, confided in close friends, talked to church leaders, and waited. The time has come and we’re ready for this new phase of life.
I’ve spent eight years working at LifeWay Christian Resources. During that time, I’ve been around some great people who labor in obscurity to deliver trustworthy resources to the church. I’ll always be grateful for the many lessons I’ve learned from these men and women. I’ve also been a bivocational pastor for The Fellowship for six years. We’ve moved through some deep waters together. But, as to be expected, the Lord has restored what was troubled and is doing some wonderful work through the people of the church.
I’ll spend two more weeks in Nashville where I’ll finish up my work with LifeWay. On October 9, I’ll preach at the Mt. Juliet campus of The Fellowship and then preach my final message on October 16 at the Two Rivers campus. If you’re in Nashville, I’d love to have you as a part of one of those worship services.
Then, I’ll begin my ministry with First Baptist Church. The church is 127 years old and is positioned in the small downtown district of Bradenton. The beach community county has an eclectic mix of long-time residents raising their kids, single parent homes that are struggling to make ends meet, retirees who love living near the beach, and tens of thousands of snowbirds who live there for a few winter months each year. The area, however, is growing younger and more ethnically diverse. The church has been doing some great work of discipling members and reaching the community. In fact, they have a simple mission statement that summarizes everything: Share Jesus.
Angie and I are excited to join them in God’s work to this county and beyond. My work as an author will continue along as I’ve just recently signed a contract with LifeWay to write a Bible study on the book of James. I’ll also continue my service to Houston Baptist University and traveling to do some speaking at various events.
My simple request is that you offer a prayer on our behalf. No matter what change you encounter, it comes with the unexpected twists and turns. I’ve sought to know God’s will and sense that this is the next step we are to take. It is a high privilege to lead a church. Any interceding prayers that you can offer would be of the greatest value.
And, if you’re ever in the area, make sure you stop by for a visit.