Beloved Christ Community Members and Friends,
Grace and Peace.
During last Sunday’s service, I announced that I have accepted a call to be the Senior Pastor at Spanish River Church (PCA) in Boca Raton, Florida. My work at Christ Community will conclude with a final message on March 28th and I will take up my new responsibilities on June 1, after attending to the details necessary to transfer my credentials to the Gulf Stream Presbytery of the PCA.
I will be commuting between Franklin and Boca each week for the first year of this new call so that Anna will be able to finish her final year of high school here at Franklin Christian Academy. This means that Toni and I will continue to live in Franklin for the next year and a half. We love this beautiful community and we look forward to seeing many of you in the months to come until we move in 2022.
Your Session will be sending further important information to you about this transition, so do watch for their communication. Let’s commit this all to the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the Church who will guide and direct us at this time.
My friends, I am deeply grateful for the immense privilege and gift you gave me in serving as your Pastor for the past seven years. You have lovingly welcomed Toni, Anna, and me into your lives and community. You have helped me grow as a Pastor and, more importantly, as a Christian. Your prayers, correction, and encouragement have meant so very much and we have shared real joy together in opening up the Scriptures each week, as well as opening our hearts to one another in friendship, sorrows, and joys. You have made an incredible impact on our hearts and we are deeply thankful.
It’s understandable that some of you may be wondering why we made this decision. Two big issues stand out, both of which I noted on Sunday.
First, in prayer over the past year, Toni and I have become increasingly convinced that we have to re-engage with God’s great mission to all nations. We did not know what shape that service might take, but we were aware that God was in some way awakening in us the need to more intentionally engage in his global mission.
Second, we were increasingly certain that a new leader was needed for the opportunities Christ Community will take up in the next several years. We have given all we have to give and, while it can be hard to admit that someone else is needed to offer new gifts and perspective to the church, it is something we had to face, accept, and rejoice in. There is always more work to be done and it is time for another leader to help this beautiful church do that work. The need for new leadership here, coupled with our call to a renewed emphasis on mission, prepared us for the unexpected invitation to consider serving Spanish River Church (PCA) in South Florida.
More About Spanish River
SRC is a congregation that is responsible for partnering in the planting of over 500 churches in the United States and thirty-two countries worldwide (and will seek to plant 100 more in the next ten years), training hundreds of leaders, and helping to birth the Acts 29 Network of churches. Because of its location in South Florida, Spanish River is a cosmopolitan congregation of many ethnicities, consisting of two thousand members, serving counseling center clients in four locations, and hundreds of children through its K-8 school, along with its many ministries of mercy and evangelism.
Both Christ Community and SRC are engaged in the UK Partnership, and I am certain that we will continue to work together in many new and as yet unexpected ways. I hope a close collaboration between these two churches on many missional fronts will grow and flourish in the coming years.
Don’t Buy the Lie
When a Pastor accepts a new call there is almost always some thought that he is leaving under duress or that he thinks something is wrong or lacking where he’s been serving. Some may wonder if he was pressured to go by others. Let me assure you that these narratives are most assuredly not true in our case.
First, Toni and I love this church very much indeed. We love Franklin as well, and we are so grateful we were called to serve here. Our family members live here too and so our bonds of affection with you and this community are deep and real. Only an unmistakable summons from God to the mission field would budge us.
Second, No one here has suggested we go – on the contrary, we’ve received nothing but support and kindness from the members and leaders of this church and we love the people we work with every day. Your prayers and affection have been such a gift to us. This is simply a matter of what kind of leader Christ Community needs next and what kind of service we can best render to Jesus in the years Toni and I hope to have left in ministry.
If someone suggests to you that our decision to accept a new call was rooted in unspoken unhappiness or unseen conflict, you can confidently refute that assertion. In fact, you can unequivocally say, ‘Far from it, we and the Cassidys are united still in heart and mission for the Gospel and we always will be.’
Throughout my service here, I’ve been given the joy of working with an extraordinary and godly team of elders, deacons, deaconesses, staff, and fellow-pastors. In many cases, we are not only colleagues but friends. This friendship is deep and it is a relationship that will endure across the years and miles.
I believe the best days of Christ Community are yet ahead and I can’t wait to see what God will do among you and through you for the Gospel, here and around the world. God is at work among you and has given you the graces you need for this moment.
Looking back, I can honestly say to you that I ‘left it all on the field’ and that I sought to serve in this church with every ounce of energy I could offer, however imperfectly or foolishly at times. I have loved this church for years, long before coming to serve as Pastor, and that love will only continue to grow. Looking ahead, I know God has already chosen a great Pastor for C3 and he will have my heart and prayers. I am praying for him even now and I hope you will join me in doing so too.
This also means that it is time for each of you to step into service at Christ Community in renewed commitment and love. There is much to do and all C3 members will need to work together in humble, gracious love to move forward wisely and well. You have an excellent Pastoral Team, Staff, and Officers. I ask you to pray for them and encourage them in their work. And we must devote ourselves to prayer.
My only additional request is two-fold. First, I humbly ask you to please forgive my sins, which are many – in this kingdom all the shepherds are sheep and those preaching forgiveness need it so much. Second, please continue to pray for our family during this season of change. Ask the Father to grant us Christ’s peace during this transition and the grace needed to make us fruitful in Christ’s service for the sake of the Gospel.
And now, “May the Lord bless you and keep you; may he make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may he lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
With deepest thanks and love,
All things for the Gospel,
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