Change: A Letter to West Franklin

West Franklin Family,

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday 2020. This, of course, kicks off Holy Week – the week we remember and reflect on Jesus’ last days, prior to His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Most likely, this week will be different than any other Holy Week and Easter you have ever experienced.

Though we are doing all we can to offer you resources to enhance your Holy Week experience (you can go here to see a LONG list of interactive choices available; or click here, here, and here); it is beyond evident – for the time being – things have changed.

The only Baptist I have ever met who likes change is a baby.

But here we are. In a moment, it seems, everything has changed. And though we long for when things will get back to “normal,” let’s be honest. . . when this season is over – to a degree – everything will have changed. More than likely, life will never be what it was pre-COVID-19. On the one hand, it’s sad. But on the other, change can be really good.

Two weeks ago, the West Franklin staff team informed you of Nathan Page’s resignation. This was “in the works” prior to COVID-19. But the announcement made it difficult – especially considering these bizarre circumstances. I believe it is good for Nathan and his family. During his time at West Franklin, the Father revealed to him a specific calling. Now he gets to fulfill it at a new assignment. That’s a good thing. And if it’s good for Nathan, it is good for us.

Today I have to inform you of another staff change. Again, a staff change that was “in the works” prior to COVID-19. Actually, this change has been in the works for a while. Lindsay Gordon, West Franklin‘s Adminstrative Assistant, is one of the most talented and gifted females I have ever had the privilege of working with. It became clear, not long after I arrived, that she would “outgrow” her role very quickly. She simply has too much to offer, with a unique and remarkable skill set, that is outside an Adminstrative Assistant role. I knew it wouldn’t be long before other organizations noticed it and offered her a position. Many opportunities have come her way. Some she entertained and considered. Others, not so much. She would make me aware of these opportunities, and I would beg God to allow it to fall through!! (How’s that for being selfish?!?!) I did my best to keep her a secret from as many people as possible (grin and wink).

But I just couldn’t keep it from Brentwood Baptist! Leadership recognized her skill set and recently offered her a position with the Communications team on the Brentwood Campus. Beginning Monday, April 13th, Lindsay will be serving as the Promotions Director for Brentwood. As much as I hate to admit it, this is an incredible opportunity for her and will prove to be a MAJOR boost for the Communications team on the Brentwood campus. This is where she needs to be, allowing the Spirit to use her unique gifts in this capacity. She will thrive, which is what all believers desire for one another.

Lindsay has been on staff since the beginning of the merger, in Fall of 2014. Her impact is great and she will be missed. Please pray for her, husband Nick, and their two boys – Camden and Bennett – as they transition. Make sure to send a note of encouragement and gratefulness to her here: lngordon@brentwoodbaptist.com. This is what is best for her. As with Nathan, if this is what is best for her, this is what is best for West Franklin. The good news is that Lindsay will remain a part of the BBC family AND the Gordon’s plan to continue worshipping at the West Franklin Campus!

You see? On the one hand, change is sad. But on the other change can be really, really good. That’s just how change works.

Now. . . what do I want from you during these next days/weeks of COVID-19 Quarantine?

Be Glad and Challenged

This is what churches do, right? Help each other identify their Spirit-giftedness and push one another out to use them for God’s glory. West Franklin should be thrilled that we have been a part of helping Nathan and Lindsay identify how God has wired them. Each of us should now consider, “How has God gifted me and how am I allowing Him to use me in the local church?” Yes, even during a quarantine. You who have the Spirit have a unique gift to benefit the local church. How are you using it, right now?

Be Thankful and Expectant

The Father is doing some things at and for West Franklin. Let’s, seriously, take time to be grateful for what He has done the past 5 years, during this COVID-19 season, and what He is getting ready to do. I encourage you to make a tangible list of ways you are thankful for what God has/is/will do at West Franklin. As you ponder what He might be doing, be expectant. Expectant with an open mind. Expectant with an open heart. Expectant with an eagerness to see how He might draw men and women to Himself in ways we had never heard of, thought of, or even imagined.

Grieve Losses and Turn the Page

We won’t get to celebrate Easter “face to face” this year. We won’t be able to give Nathan or Lindsay a proper send off. We have to observe the Lord’s Supper on-line. Whatever was planned for March and a significant portion of April has been lost. We need to grieve these things. It’s good and right to do so. In fact, though I don’t want to admit it, we probably need to go ahead and grieve what West Franklin was pre-COVID-19. Things will never be the same. After you/we grieve – however – turn the page. It’s a blank sheet. We will be given an opportunity to “do church” in new, fresh, and exciting ways. What sacred cows need to be killed and turned into hamburgers? What worked in the 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s, 2010’s, that just aren’t working anymore? What is God leading us to next?

And, if you are courageous enough, I double-dog dare you to read this and answer his 10 questions. Whoah.

Throughout my ministry as a pastor I’ve had church members say to me, “Pastor, we’ve never done it this way before!” Now, all of us are forced to say it. When the calendar changed from 2019 to 2020, would you have ever dreamed we would be doing Easter Sunday morning on a computer screen? We’ve never done it this way before.

Change is hard. But inevitable. Change is sad. But it can also be really, really good.

I know you West Franklin. We’ve got the DNA, not only to survive the next season, but thrive.

Seeking to be in lock-step with the Father,

Pastor Matt