Change. Change is an interesting thing. If we are being honest, we are probably OK with this thing called, “change” as long as it has nothing to do with us and our level of comfort, right? It’s OK if somebody else has to change but “I’m good.” We hear things like, “Change is an opportunity to excel!” “We need to trust God amidst all this change!” “Yes, God has a plan and HE is still in control, and we just gotta pull together and trust in the LORD.” And of course, there are many more similar statements we all hear and have probably said but do we really believe them?
Have any of you ever cared for a Ficus tree? Ficus trees are rather finicky. Any change in their environment can cause it to lose or drop leaves. A Ficus lets you know it doesn’t like even small changes. Once you have placed it in a stable environment you dare not move it to make it uncomfortable—don’t you dare! Sounds familiar?
Change. Yes, our dear Pastor is leaving because he feels the LORD is calling him elsewhere and that also means (just like the early church) he will take the gospel to other parts of the world, Praise GOD!
While we aren’t ficus trees, as believers, we all are living breathing branches called to bear fruit (John 15: 1-5; Galatians 5:22-26)
John 15: 1-5
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Galatians 5:22-2 6
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Christ is our rock, salvation, refuge, and fortress (Psalm 62:1-2; 91). Though change in our environment is inevitable and can be difficult, we don’t need to be shaken and start dropping the good things, like the Ficus tree, that we’ve been doing for Christ and towards each other as children of God. We all must continue bearing fruit and flourishing in the LORD.
1 Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. 2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Let’s remain prayerful, trust in the Lord, continue to be united in Christ (and provide each other with love, grace and patience as Christ would have us to do) as we journey through this transition. Remember the mission of First Baptist Church of Woodbridge (FBCW) hasn’t changed—it is God’s Great Commission. That will never change! It is not about us but has everything to do with God. That will remain the focus of FBCW regardless of who comes and goes and regardless of changes in the environment.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
FBCW is elder-led, which includes Pastor Brad until his departure. The Elders have always been very much united and supportive of our church staff and will continue to do so during this transition. Day-to-day activities and staff business is orchestrated by Pastor Jeff and will involve the leadership of the Elders.
There will not be an interim Pastor but the Elders, Staff, and potentially an interim preacher will provide pulpit supply to continue preaching the Word of God until God provides our next Senior Pastor. In the weeks ahead, we anticipate presenting, for a church vote, a new candidate to lead our Children’s Ministry and ultimately a candidate to serve as our Go and Tell Pastor. The Elders and Staff covet your prayers, grace, patience, love and encouragement to each other; and continued focus on the Sovereign God we serve during this time of transition.
The Elders will continue to provide updates to the congregation in the weeks ahead. Please reach out to any of us with your questions.
Let us pray, bear fruit, and flourish in the LORD!
Your Elders: Pastor Brad, Billy Wilhite, Chris Belson, Jeff Mayo, Mike Kuhns, Mike Taylor and Sam Sanford.