Ready: A Letter to West Franklin

West Franklin Family,

In less than seven weeks, my kids will be expected to be ready for their next grade in school. Assuming schools begin on time, my now 10th grader will be expected to be ready for 10th grade. My now 8th grader will be expected to be ready for 8th grade. And my now 7th grader for 7th grade. The last time they were in a classroom was the first week of March. Like most kids, they missed one-third of the school year due to COVID-19. No one’s fault. Just reality. Regardless, they will be expected to be ready for the next grade.

When school starts back, they will be expected to step up and “kick it up a notch.” Early bedtimes that haven’t really been a factor for 6 months. Early awake times. Lunches made the night before. Homework. Tests. Note taking. Reading. Studying. They left one Friday afternoon a two-thirds 9th/7th/6th grader. They will descend upon their campuses as a full fledged 10th/8th/7th grader. It’s the hand that has been dealt. Will teachers and parents grant grace? I believe so. But the students will still be expected to be ready. They won’t have the opportunity to go back to where they were. They will need to embrace the grade they are in and work hard to meet the reality.

West Franklin, I want to challenge us to something similar.

As things begin to open back up and a sense of normalcy returns to our church routines, I want to push us. Push us forward. Push us away from where we were. Push us to be ready for where God wants us to be.

Now. Don’t misunderstand. We will still be West Franklin. We will still be a family. We will still enjoy seeing and hugging and eating and laughing and crying with one another. But we can’t go back to where we were as a stagnant congregation.

  • We cannot go back to just gathering for the sake of gathering.
  • We cannot go back to our baptistry being dry more weeks than wet.
  • We cannot go back to not being intentional.
  • We cannot go back to not hearing about changed lives caused by one of us sharing the Gospel.
  • We cannot go back to not seeing groups multiply.
  • We cannot go back to our groups being  religious social clubs.
  • We cannot go back to being more concerned about music type than the type of person God engages with.
  • We cannot go back to not being amazed at what God is doing in our city.

If COVID-19 has done anything for West Franklin – and it has – it has given us a restart. A refresh. A white board. A new sheet of paper.

 

We will be us. We will be West Franklin. But we cannot be content with being just us.

This is why a group of you began a church in Franklin almost 20 years ago. This is why a group of you went to Brentwood 6 years ago and asked for help. This is who we are. I want to push us to be who we know we are. We left as a 12th grader who had a ways to go before graduation. We will come back in college. We left as a kindergartner not yet ready for the big leagues. We will come back in elementary school. We left with several classes left to graduate with our bachelor’s degree. We will come back employed.

We left a good, solid, not-unhealthy-church. We will come back eager and ready and intentional, living on mission where God has us.

You’ve heard me talk about it now for far too long. It’s time to embrace it. Disciples making disciples. Gospel Conversations. Healthy Congregations. Groups. Going. Engaging the whole person with the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ – anywhere, anytime, with anybody. It’s time to stop talking and start executing. COVID-19 has given us a necessary pause, a break, so we can start again fresh.

What am I calling us to do now? Pray.

Beginning Wednesday, July 1st – I want to challenge you to join me and the West Franklin staff team to pray for 40 days straight. Pray for God to move in our hearts so that we might be different when the Fall season begins again. Wednesday, July 1st – Sunday, August 9th. 40 days. Beginning at 9 am every day and available anytime afterward, join one of us for 2 minutes here on Facebook or here on YouTube for a brief challenge and a prayer for God’s help. On Sunday, August 9th, we will begin a new sermon series reinforcing these things.

West Franklin, my children cannot go back to where they were academically and socially the first week of March. They will be expected to be ready to go when the bell rings on that first day of school. Let’s have the same mentality, shall we?

Can you imagine what might happen in and around us if we committed to pray – every day – for the next 40 days?

Will you be ready?

Because Jesus is Worth Everything,

Pastor Matt

 

Housekeeping:

a. A new Sermon Series continues tomorrow! “God is the Question.” Go here to hear more about it and receive additional updates.
b. Our livestream will air at 9:00 am and 11:00 am (NOT 10:30 am!!!!). Go here to watch on FacebookHere to watch on YouTube.
c.  Before you show up tomorrow, please watch this video!!!
d. Registration for Sunday, July 5th, will open Monday, June 29th and will close Wednesday, July 1st at midnight. You should receive an email (check your junk folder); or, you can visit our website for the link.
e. Don’t forget! Every Monday, Dave Kruse and I dive deeper into the sermon material from the previous Sunday on West Franklin Talks.