Five years ago, I was honored to be chosen as the Senior Pastor for Gages Lake Bible Church. I was 29 years old and had little leadership experience. I had served on staff at a large church and had experience writing and editing, but had never been a pastor. Yet GLBC not only affirmed my call to the ministry, they opened up their arms and allowed me to grow as a father, a husband, and a Christian leader. In these five years I learned much about church ministry, theology, and life. Three of our four children were born during our time in Gages Lake. And some of our best friends are at Gages Lake. I owe much to this church. I am excited about my new future with the ERLC and Dr. Moore, but I will miss GLBC.
I will miss the long talks I had with good friends. I will miss preaching to the same people every week. I will miss seeing the gospel grow in the lives of people every week.
This church and these people were so generous to us. They were gracious. They were a refuge during very difficult seasons. They stood with us when we faced unfair attacks. They treated our children like family. They hungered for good preaching and teaching and loved the gospel with us. We were given infinitely more by Gages Lake Bible Church than we gave out.
So leaving is hard for us. Even though we are absolutely convinced of God’s direction in our new position at ERLC, saying goodbye to people you love is always difficult. This is how it should be. God’s purpose and plan for this age is the Church and specifically the local church. The Holy Spirit unites you to your fellow brothers and sisters as family. I believe that what happens on Sundays at Bible-preaching, gospel-centered churches is the most important thing happening in the world at that moment.
But here is the good news. Though we are leaving Gages Lake geographically, we’re not really leaving at all. We are still united forever in the family of God and we’ll spend all of eternity reveling in the goodness of the gospel toward us. And this work at Gages Lake was not my work, but God’s work. It was there when I arrived and will continue on after I’m gone.
I have no doubt that Gages Lake will continue to grow and prosper. There is great, great leadership in place and I couldn’t be prouder of the man God has called to take my place as Senior Pastor, Jay Lovelace. In God’s providence, He brought Jay and Cheyenne and their two boys, Jack and Cody to us so that when we left, Gages Lake would be in good hands. Jay is a first-rate preacher, he’s a great leader, a man of integrity and grace. He’s fun. He’s well-loved. And, he’s a Bears fan.
As we move forward in this new season of life, we will always be grateful for God’s good gift of Gages Lake Bible Church to us. You have enriched our lives in ways that only eternity will reveal. Thank you.