Dear Crossroads Church Family,
There is a tender scene in the book of Acts, chapter 20, that always warms my heart when I read it. The text describes a meeting that happened on a beach just outside the ancient city of Miletus in Greece. The apostle Paul had just sailed past Ephesus where he had earlier spent three years in a located ministry. He was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost. But, when he reached Miletus, it is as though he had second thoughts about not having taken the time to reconnect relationally with the elders of the church in Ephesus. Paul was not sure he would be returning from Jerusalem alive. He thought it could be his last chance to say a final good-bye to these brothers into whom he had poured his life… teaching and mentoring… so, he sent for them. It is about a thirty-five mile hike from Ephesus to Miletus! It was probably two days journey and one or two overnights on the road. Yet these church leaders took the time, went to the expense, expended the effort and made the trip. And so here in Acts 20 was this band of brothers gathered together on the beach, relating at the deepest level… as they talked and laughed, told stories and cried… as they relived the conversions, the changed lives, the saved souls, the lessons learned and the leaders raised up in the church of Jesus that they loved.
This touching scene is similar to the one that Kaylene and I will be living out in the weeks ahead as we journey down the path God has marked out for us. In doing so, we will have to say a temporary good bye to people we have come to love deeply. The emotion of it feels a little like the experience of giving our daughters in marriage! You feel positive anticipation about the future, but it’s hard to think about entering a new life passage when you loved the previous one so much!
But after 50 years in ministry leadership, it is time for us to contribute to the Lord’s purpose and work in a new and different way. By residing in Louisville, we will be able to continue to invest in both serving and serving the Lord with our adult children and grandchildren from a location in closer proximity to them. After a short break, I will be serving churches in a consultant role, preaching in local churches and coaching/mentoring Christian leaders. Be sure of this: We intend to maintain our Crossroads connections in the years ahead!
Our Crossroads years have been truly amazing. But, as good as the past decade has been… God is going before us, and before Crossroads, to give new vision, to raise up new leadership, to do new things in new and exciting ways. You cannot possibly know how deeply grateful we are for the way you have accepted and loved us, and the fact you have consistently honored us as your servants for Jesus’ sake. My only request is that you press on wholeheartedly as you continue to unite to take higher ground for God’s kingdom. I [joyfully, but reluctantly] am relinquishing my chief shepherd leadership responsibilities to a truly exceptional young leader in Pastor Patrick Garcia… as well as an exceptional pastoral team and a much loved and deeply respected eldership.
Please remember: I will be preaching and serving at Crossroads until the weekend of May 20-22. We are praying for these next five weeks to pass slowly!
In Christian love,
Crossroads Senior Pastor