Reaching New Heights

We made it through the TN-CBF General Assembly yesterday. Our church responded beautifully to the all the guests from across the state and really rose to the challenge of hosting this event. The planning began back last fall, and it seems a birth has taken place. I enjoyed the day very much and feel like this was a high point for the church. The theme selected back in October, which I recommended to the planning team was “Reaching New Heights” based on Habakkuk 3:19. I had no idea then how appropriate that theme would be 7 months later.

Today I submitted my resignation as pastor of Signal Mountain Baptist Church. My family and I are preparing to move to Springfield, MO where I will become pastor of University Heights Baptist Church (UHBC) on June 1. The church facility is located across the street from Missouri State University. This is a wonderful opportunity for me and my family, and I have a genuine sense of call in making the move. Leaving Signal Mountain is bittersweet, as there are many good memories and friends whom I will be leaving behind. These emotions are offset by the challenge and opportunity of making new friends and taking on new challenges.

I don’t know much about Missouri. It is outside the Southeastern Conference and this definitely makes it a mission field of sorts. The denominational landscape appears pretty confusing, as the direction of the state convention has brought about two moderate responses: the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri (CBFMO) and most recently the Baptist General Convention of Missouri (BGCM). Although these two groups are “moderate” organizations, there is a difference between a CBF moderate and a BGCM moderate. These kinds of distinctions will be interesting to sift through upon my arrival. I’m pleased with the denominational affiliations of UHBC, as the church is aligned with the CBF and the American Baptist Convention (ABC). It is an oasis of sorts for retired ministers and folks who appreciate a traditional Baptist church family. It will be exciting to attend the CBF General Assembly in Washington D.C. in June, as the ABC’s centennial celebration is being held in the same place. I’m looking forward to making new friends and getting reconnected with old ones.

I’ve always believed that God’s timing is his signature. The Lord has been faithful to me and my family, and I am excited about the next chapter of our lives. I’m looking forward to truly “reaching new heights.”

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