Dear Church

Dear FBC Hamlin,

Ever since I came to Hamlin almost 4 years ago, I’ve tried to put before you a mentality of going out with the Gospel.  So many times churches like ours become so complacent and apathetic in the mandate that we’re supposed to go in to all the world and tell the Gospel.

So many churches think that by simply occupying a parcel of real estate every Sunday that they’re being faithful.  But that’s not reality.  We have to go.  And we have to tell.  And we have to know, first, what we’re telling.

That’s why we’ve talked so clearly about what the Gospel is, and about what the Bible teaches.  We here at FBCHamlin stand alone on the Word of God, and we don’t make any apologies that Jesus Paid it all, and all to Him we owe.

We need to first, deeply believe that.  But we also need to go and tell that.  We need to take that Gospel to people who don’t believe.  And to go and do that, we first have to be obedient when God calls us to the place where we’ll go and tell.

And that’s why the Powell family is being obedient.

God has called myself and my family to go and plant a church in a far away city in Texas.  I hope to share with you in the coming weeks how beautifully clear God has been as He has definitively called Katherine and I to leave Hamlin, and to follow Him across the state of Texas to a place where a church desperately needs to be planted.

I can’t tell you all the details now, because there are still some things that need to fall in to place, but I am resigning as Pastor of First Baptist Church of Hamlin Texas and the last Sunday I’ll be here will be the 11th of September.

I can tell you this: Katherine and I did not search this out.  We did not pursue it.  We were shocked by how clearly God has directed our path.

We are not going to a bigger church – no – we will plant a church with about half of the number we have here.  And we are not going because we are unhappy here or because we would make more money or something.  No.  We are going because God has called us to go.

You don’t make deals with God.  You don’t tell Him what to do.  But God has always been faithful to me, and in response to that, I’ve promised Him that to the best of my ability, I’ll do what He tells me to do.  And He’s told me to move 403 miles away and plant a church in a place that is under-served with the Gospel.

——

Katherine and I are anticipating great things from the Lord as He calls us to a new and exciting place of ministry.  It’s hard to even express how invigorating and energizing it is to know God is leading you, and to say yes to Him and put our money where our mouth is in following Him.

But we are also heavy-hearted because we love so many people here in Hamlin.  Two of my family members – 1/3 of my little family – have never known living anywhere but Hamlin.

My sons have friends here that I wanted them to be raised with – surrogate grandparents, dozens of extra moms and dads, and friends that their little hearts are absolutely knit to.  It breaks my heart to think of taking them from their friends and their family here.

Katherine and I, too, will leave some dear, close friendships here in Hamlin.  The kind of friendships that you can only have when the Gospel is at the center of them.  The friendships will last forever – but they’ll be different.  There’s no getting around that.

It hurts – deeply – to leave.

And the only salve that we have for that wound, is knowing – without a doubt – that God is sending us out from First Baptist Church of Hamlin to the ends of the earth to share the Gospel with those who need the Gospel.

We wouldn’t be able to go and be used by God in the way we will be without having been shaped by you in the way that we have.  Ministering with you, alongside you, and to you has simply changed me – and my family – in ways that I can’t even articulate.

But I believe strongly that God sent us here to shape you – and be shaped by you – for 4 years – in his kindness and intense generosity.  God knows what He’s doing – and I trust Him.

You’re in good hands.  Your pastors are well equipped to lead you – and two more Godly men I couldn’t imagine.  Trust them.  Blindly.  Do whatever they say to do.  Follow them as though you were following Christ Himself.

——

In the next two weeks, I’ll be able to progressively tell you more and more about what the road looks like in front of us – things I can’t tell you now.

But for now, I want you to hear me say this:

I love you, and I hate to leave you – but because God has called us to plant a church somewhere else – we would both hate it more if we stayed.

We want nothing more than for you to be faithful with the Gospel.  And we will be too.

I love you.  Thank you for loving us.  Our lives are better because we’ve served our Lord here in Hamlin alongside you.

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