Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
During our Monday morning breakfast and Bible study this week, we studied the mission and motto of John the Baptist who said, “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). You know who the “he” is that John was talking about? Jesus.
I’ve always tried to take those words to heart. They mean a lot to me. It’s a healthy personal motto for anybody (Try it on for size!). It’s essential for a pastor. “Jesus must become greater; I must become less.” From the very beginning of Victory of the Lamb just over ten years ago, I’ve been mindful that I didn’t want to plant a church that was more about one pastor’s personality than the victory of our Savior. In preaching week to week over a decade my goal has never been to showcase my personal gifts, but to shine a spotlight on the precious gift of salvation that Jesus won for all of us. If God would use me and whatever gifts he has given me to share the Gospel of Jesus with people so that they might get it and grab hold of it by faith, and in the process make something of it all that would last in this community, then to God be the glory!
As I’ve been deliberating the call to St John’s in Two Rivers and my call to Victory of the Lamb here in Franklin, it certainly has been a time to reflect on all that God has done in our midst over the last ten years together. And it’s super humbling. To have been given the opportunity to start a church from scratch and be able to shepherd it to the point of putting down permanent roots in a community is very special. Now to be able to share God’s blessings of so many people attending and so many people serving while dreaming about the future with a great teammate like Pastor Bill is also very special. At the same time, I’m mindful that none of where we are right now would’ve happened without the extraordinary efforts, gifts of love, personal sacrifices and prayers of some incredible volunteers, generous donors, and supportive leaders. In short…you! Truly God has blessed Victory of the Lamb super-abundantly…more than I deserve. And for that I’m grateful.
I’m grateful for all of you also who reached out to me with words of encouragement, personal stories, happy little boxes of edible goodies, and prayers the last couple weeks as I’ve been deliberating my two calls. They mean a lot. And what I heard loud and clear was not only appreciation (which I appreciate hearing!) and love but confidence in our gracious God. I appreciated the personal reflections you shared of how much Jesus now means to you. And in that I rejoice! I rejoice that by the Spirit’s work through the gospel, in spite of my flaws, the victory of Jesus has become your greatest treasure. And I pray that it might always be so!
With that said, it is my joy to announce my decision to remain at Victory of the Lamb and continue to serve as one of your pastors.
I’m aware that there are some huge challenges and difficulties in life for many of you right now. Some of you are going through difficult seasons and are struggling relationally, financially, emotionally or spiritually. At the same time the world is changing fast, not always for the better. And so I again think of John the Baptist’s words, “He must become greater.” Jesus must become greater for all of us. I pray daily for divine wisdom and strength to be able to keep pointing you to Jesus that you might rejoice in his decisive victory over sin, death, and the devil. Jesus once said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Still Sharing Christ’s Victory,
I look forward to worshiping with you all this Sunday!