New: A Letter to West Franklin

Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth. . . ” (Isaiah 42:10)

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

West Franklin Family,

When was the last time you sang a new song to the Lord? I don’t mean you learned a new praise chorus or a modern hymn (which I highly recommend, but this is not what I am referring to here). When was the last time you experienced a new way the Lord works? A new reality of the biblical God you have never personally known? When was the last time you allowed Him to redeem or rescue or transform something in your heart that you had kept hidden? When was the last time your soul sang a new song to the Lord for having been amazed at a different part of Himself He chose to reveal to you?

Let’s take it a step further. . .

When was the last time The Church at West Franklin sang a new song? Again, I don’t mean one Brad taught us on a Sunday (which I love, by the way; it’s just not what I am referring to here). When was the last time we, as a church, experienced Him doing something new in and among and around us? When was the last time we gathered together to share and celebrate a new thing He was doing? When have we ever gathered and had our souls burst with excitement because God had invited us to join Him in something He was doing in Franklin?

Let’s take it a step further. . .

When was the last time the City of Franklin sang a new song to the Lord because of our seeking after and obedience to Jesus? When has Franklin experienced the saving, powerful presence of the Lord due to our individual, group, and collective efforts? When has a citizen of our great city emerged out of the baptistery elated with the new work God was doing in his/her life?

When was the last time you, me, we, Franklin – didn’t just learn something new about God, but experienced His power and presence in a new way? When have you gone back to your home, not with a notebook full of a new insights on a passage; but with a heart full of new ways you have seen God change a life?

West Franklin, if we keep doing what we’re doing we will keep getting what we’ve got. We are already doing everything we need to keep experiencing what we’ve always experienced as a church family. Much of it I love and crave and can’t wait to get back to (hopefully soon!). But I believe there are new things God is calling us to. Not a new god. No, no, no. The same God of the Bible. But the God who wants to reveal more of Himself in ways that are new to us.

Over 15 years ago, a small group of Jesus followers desired to see the West side of Franklin reached with the Gospel. They formed a church.

Around 7 years ago, a small, but larger group grew frustrated that their efforts weren’t seeing Gospel fruit. They reached out for help.

Almost 6 years ago, that small, but larger group merged with Brentwood Baptist in order to be used of God for kingdom impact in Franklin. They became The Church at West Franklin.

The beginning of this church; the desire of this church; the hope of this church; the craving of this body of believers has been for God to make Himself known in Franklin through the power of the Gospel.

Go back and read the last four lines again. This church started and then sought help in order to see Franklin experience the power of the Gospel. That is who we are. 

Now – let’s all be honest with each other. Like, really-really honest: we haven’t seen it yet.

There’s been a glimpse here and there. But we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface.

What if COVID-19 was intended by God to be a gift to our church to start over? What if God is calling us to a new beginning, an empty white board, a blank page? What if our culture isn’t the only group experiencing a “new normal”? What if West Franklin embraced a “new normal” too? What if our new normal wasn’t business as usual, but intentional efforts by everyone to communicate the Gospel to those around us?

What if in the year 2030, West Franklin didn’t have more churched people who have joined us, but a congregation of formerly unchurched people YOU led to Jesus, baptized, and discipled?

What if in the year 2030, current 6th graders are leading Bible Studies in their dorms their senior year at college? What if a youth minister didn’t equip them for this, but you did?

What if you weren’t able to attend West Franklin on a Sunday morning because it’s the only time your unchurched neighbors could meet at your home for a Bible Study that YOU led? What if your attendance became on-line while you pastored your neighbors?

What if we had fourth graders share their Gospel conversation stories in our morning worship gatherings?

What if our groups became dominated by praying for the lost, opportunities to share with the lost, and celebrating Gospel-wins; rather than just praying for our sicknesses and ailments?

What if our church resembled the book of Acts rather than a Christianized version of a family reunion?

Get ready, West Franklin.

It’s finally time to be who we were put here to be. Remember, it’s who we are. God is doing some new things in Franklin. Same God. New things.

Let’s take it a step further. . .

Are YOU ready?

Eager to meet again – but meet with a new mindset,

Pastor Matt