Our church has enjoyed an affiliation with a denomination called the National Association of Free Will Baptists for a long time. My wife and I have enjoyed coming to faith in this denomination, learning, growing, and serving within it for our whole lives. We love Free Will Baptist people and we love you.
However, over the past several years, I have had a growing conflict in my spirit with what I see in Scripture and the doctrinal distinctives of the denomination we love. When this conflict would arise, I would push it down or seek to justify it. Sometimes I would call a friend who knows about these things and seek their counsel. My spirit has never been at rest on this. It has felt like I was being dishonest.
While I don’t think everyone who is part of a Free Will Baptist church must affirm all their doctrine, I have felt that in order to pastor a Free Will Baptist church, I ought to.
In my mind I have been left with two options: (1) leave the denomination and therefore Central Oaks, or (2) lead Central Oaks to leave the denomination. Lynsey and I wouldn’t be able to live with ourselves if we chose option two. There are too many people we love dearly that would be hurt by that. So, after years of struggling about this and much prayer and counsel, we started seeking where the Lord might want us to serve Him next.
By His grace, a church in northwest Indiana called Lake Hills Baptist has invited me to be the lead pastor, and I have accepted. We have been talking with them for several months and officially tried out last Sunday. It is clear to us that the Lord has paved the way for us to serve there.
The deacons of Central Oaks and Pastor Chris have been gracious and supportive of me for the entire time I’ve served here. I suggested that April 23 be our last Sunday at Central Oaks to give us some in-between time before we move, and they have agreed to that date.
Central Oaks family, you have been patient with me and kind and generous to my family. I have seen the Lord work in many of your lives and know He will continue to do so. He has used you to grow my wife and I closer to Him and closer to one another. Thank you for taking care of me, Lynsey, and our daughters. Thank you for praying for us so faithfully and giving. Thank you for being receptive to God’s Word and for many more things. I pray that God gives you wisdom as you consider what’s next.
Now for any of our FWB friends reading this, Lynsey and I both love you all dearly. We are so grateful for all of you who have invested so much in us and given us so many opportunities to serve the Lord. We will always have a special place in our hearts for all FWBs. We will miss so many friendships and rituals we have enjoyed for so long. We will always be rooting for you all and your work for the Lord Jesus.
Moving forward, we have a getaway scheduled to help us reset before we move to Schererville, IN. We hope to move sometime in May, if the Lord wills it. There are many details to take care of between now and then including selling our house and finding a new one in “the region.” We appreciate anyone praying for us.
May the Lord be glorified at Central Oaks, and may her best days be ahead of her.