And he [Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church.Colossians 1:17-18a
Hello, church family,
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Heather Davis, and I’m one of many who call the Church at Station Hill home. I may have taught your elementary-aged child or preschooler on Sunday mornings or at VBS, or you may know me from another capacity in the church. Or you may not know me at all.
That’s kind of my point. I’m nobody in particular; just a church member like you.
Like you, I have many emotions about Jay’s candidacy as the next Senior Pastor at Brentwood Baptist. I have no doubt in my mind or heart that this is God’s will. I cannot think of a better-suited man to take this position. Nor can I think of a better Senior Pastor’s wife than Tanya. She has the incredible ability to support her man while keeping his hat size reasonable and his feet firmly planted on Earth.
I love them as a team and I love them as people. They are wonderful. I am going to miss them and their family, just as all of us are.
Church, I want to talk to you a little bit today. I want to impress on you that we cannot be followers of Jay Strother. We must be followers of Jesus Christ.
If this is God’s church, it’s His choice who goes where – and when – and why. We need not worry about it because we know that He is good. We know that He works all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
I can tell you from experience, this literally means all things. It means pain. It means suffering. It means this great shaking up. It means joys and triumphs; it means trials and challenges. It even means devastation. ALL THINGS.
This is the amazing power of our God. He can even take our past mistakes and the sin He freed us from and work it for the good of those who love Him and for His church by opening avenues of ministry to those still captive. He fully, utterly redeems. It’s astonishing. That’s what I want us to focus on right now – how good our God is and how thoroughly we can trust Him.
Something I’ve realized over the last couple of days of reflection is how Jay – in true Jay fashion – has been subtly preparing us for this moment for some time now.
Our pastor has worked closely with our God, weaving hints and allusions to change and scattering into his sermons, working from passages God ordained ahead of time. By doing so, he’s helped ready our hearts and simultaneously given us an example of walking in the good works God prepared ahead of time for him to do.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10
This is why we love his preaching so much. But it’s also why I know he is well-suited to be the next Senior Pastor.
So for now, I encourage us all to just come around him and his family, and show them love and support. When we get our next pastor, let’s show him and his family the same love and support.
I pray that our church will grow spiritually through this; that we’ll experience God’s goodness and sovereignty in an amazing way. And church, I pray that we’ll each lean into what it means to be disciples of Jesus Christ. We cannot follow any human teacher or leader over Jesus.
I’ve had the privilege of sitting under the teaching of amazing and gifted teachers and leaders in my new life in Christ. These people challenged and inspired me, but I don’t follow them. I follow the Lord. And I encourage you to do the same.
Let me share with you that my experience with the Lord includes being saved from dark and horrendous sin as an adult. This was followed by decades of chronic pain and invisible illness, dealing with past and present emotional trauma, and things that honestly might surprise you. I can tell you that every bit of it has served to bring me closer to Jesus. How? Through His Word and through prayer. It really is that simple.
Church family, whatever we face, whatever lies ahead, know this: God is good. He is the One we need. He is our leader, not Jay.
If Christ is truly the head of the church, don’t forget that He is the one to follow. He has so graciously given us his Word. That is what I urge you to press into at this time. Get into the Word of God. As Jay has said so many times, he can’t fill us on Sundays; he can only make us more hungry.
For his sake, for the Lord’s sake, for your own sake – be hungry.
God’s Word is good. The love of Christ, the Word of God, the Spirit of God acting and moving in us – that’s what we are made to need. That’s what God designed us to crave.
And church family, I can promise you this: following Jesus isn’t always comfortable. Just like He’s shaking up our church right now, He will take you places you can never imagine and pull you way, way out of your comfort zone. I’m pretty sure He’s doing that now with Jay and Tanya.
Yet I can promise you this as an ordinary layperson who happens to love and trust the Lord – if we fully surrender and trust in Him, it’s going to be good.