“ He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:24
I have always loved the clarity, simplicity and urgency of this verse for as long as I can remember: clarity in the sense that the Lord calls you to the work He has placed before you, simplicity that the Lord who calls is also faithful, and urgency to be obedient as you trust in the One who will ultimately do the work to which He has called you.
Our family has been so blessed to have had opportunities over the last seventeen years of pastoral ministry to hear the Lord’s call to gospel works, experience His faithfulness in and through our lives, and participate in His activity through those works.
In July of 2011, our family was led to be a part of Summit Church and I became the Naples Campus pastor after having been a part of church-planting in Naples since 2007. Words cannot express the gratitude and privilege it has been for our family to be a part of the Lord’s work at this church. We have been so humbled to work alongside this amazing staff, pastor fantastic people, and see the gospel at work in this region, nation, and world. I am not the same man and my family is not the same since being at Summit. In our pastoring of you, God has shepherded our hearts to mold and make us more like Himself and for this we will be eternally grateful.
As much as we love Summit Church, we believe the Lord’s desire and calling for our family is to obediently follow what He has prepared us for next. We believe the Lord has directed us to join a church-planting network called Harvest Bible Fellowship (HBF) and plant a Harvest Bible Chapel.
Since 2003, HBF has started 152 churches in 19 countries on five continents and much like Summit Church, has a heart for gospel proclamation to every man, woman, and child.
Our family wants you to know that this decision has not been an easy one. We love Summit Church. We love its leaders and pastors. And we have cherished the opportunity to lead and love the people of the Naples campus! But when God speaks, we must obey.
A passage of scripture the Lord used to confirm this “next” calling in our lives was…
He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
-2 Corinthians 5:5-9
We leave Summit Church knowing the Lord has prepared us for this very thing and so we obey with courage and we walk by faith knowing that our aim in life is to please Him.
What is unique about what the Lord is calling us to, is we do not yet have a clearly defined place where we believe God is calling us to plant a church. We just know He has called us to join Harvest Bible Fellowship and plant a Harvest Bible Chapel. In many ways we see this as God asking us to be obedient like He did with Abraham in Genesis 12:1 - …go to the land that I will show you.” So we are obeying the call of the Lord in our lives expectantly, joyfully, and faithfully believing in the “one who calls us is faithful and will surely do it.”
As you read this I am sure there are some questions and I want to answer what I believe would be the two most frequently asked:
1. When will your family be leaving?
Our family will need to be in Elgin, IL at the Harvest Training Center the second week of August. Lily and Lucas start school August 16th. This gives us a week to move into the Training Center housing and get settled before the kids start school. We would live in Elgin from August through December as Lori and I attend the Training Center and the children would go to the school through the fall semester. In January, we will move to where the Lord gives us direction to minister.
2. What is the plan for the Naples Campus?
As we make this leap of faith trusting in the character and provision of the Lord for our family, we also take great confidence in knowing the Lord will also provide for the Naples Congregation. Aaron, Jason, and Wendy already carry much of the weight of the weekly administration, programming and ministries of the Naples Campus. Jamin will step into the primary communicator role at the Naples Campus through the end of this year. This was Jamin’s role at the Naples Campus for five years before I came to the campus and the Naples Campus thrived under his teaching. Jamin coming down to step into this role through the end of the year gives time for the Lord to reveal his long-term plan to the Directional Edlers for this position in Naples. The Naples Campus is in good hands and in a healthy place to experience God’s BEST!
As I stated at the beginning of this blog, 1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” This is true for our family and this is also true for the Naples Campus and Summit Church as a whole!
We love you all!