Words can’t describe how we feel right now. Kandi and I have experienced a whirlwind of emotions over the past three months. We were happy serving the Lord and his church in Chattanooga, but this unexpected journey has brought us closer to Jesus and each other. First of all, let me say that the Pastor Search Committee at Long Hollow has served the church very well. Kandi and I left every one of our meetings with them encouraged by their diligence, their kindness, and their commitment to Biblical integrity and ministry excellence. Make sure you let each of them know how much you appreciate their hard work.
We have invested our lives over the past seven years into a community of people who have a passion to make disciples of all nations. While it will be difficult to leave behind the lifelong friendships that were formed, we know God is leading us to Long Hollow. He confirmed this call through prayers, random phone calls, chance meetings, dinner conversations, and family discussions. God is not a God of confusion, and He has made this step in our journey abundantly clear.
What God has done through the fellowship at Long Hollow is simply remarkable. Only God knows the impact that Pastor David had on the greater Nashville area, our country, and the world. He mobilized thousands to take the Gospel to their friends and families. His legacy still lives today, and will for countless years through the lives of the thousands of people who came to Christ under his teaching, and through those he influenced to share the Gospel with family and friends. I am humbled and honored to follow a man of his character and integrity.
I don’t know what the future holds for Long Hollow, but I want to make two promises to you as a church family. First, I will exalt Jesus Christ through the preaching of God’s word every week. Since the Word of God changes our lives, we will gather to gain direction and insight from God. What the Word says, I will say… no more, no less. Second, I will, by God’s grace, lead our church to continue the mission given by Jesus to “make disciples of all nations.” I believe this mission is a continuous, generational call. We are called to make disciples who make disciples, who make disciples, who make disciples… until Jesus returns.
William Carey, the father of modern missions, understood this call to make disciples of all nations. After a tremendously difficult time serving in India (where not a soul made a profession of faith in seven years), Carey decided that success in missions and evangelism is not in the saving; God does that, but success is in the sharing. He lived by a phrase that has impacted me since the first time I read it. I believe it’s the heartbeat of Long Hollow as well: Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God. I believe Long Hollow is a key part of God’s plan to make disciples of all the nations.
I can’t tell you how excited Kandi and I are to invest our lives into yours. We are beyond excited about what lies ahead for Long Hollow. My prayer throughout this time has been, “God, would you do something so amazing that we can’t even explain it in human terms?” I would ask that you begin to pray that with me.