We are by no means “out of the woods” on this whole COVID-19 deal. There still much change, transition, pivoting, and figuring out left on the table. A. LOT.
However. . .
You, West Franklin, need to know something. Your staff team has blown me away. The last 3 months has been hard. Weird. Different. Uncharted. But the staff I get to work with, and the staff who loves you so much, shifted on a dime in order to do whatever necessary to keep you on course with Jesus.
Three of them (Brad Cleveland, Kelly Davenport, and Josh Lynn) have had to learn how to provide worship services, leadership, and discipleship content while their spouses continue working AND their children have been home. They, like many of you, have been cooped up with or without their spouse in the house while feeding, cleaning up after, putting to bed, entertaining, and disciplining their children. They have had on-line meetings with people from the Brentwood Campus AND West Franklin. They’ve made calls, sent emails, responded to texts, etc. all while being hit over the head with a ball, overhearing Frozen 2 for the 8 millionth time, emptying the dish washer, and changing a diaper. They’ve Facebooked live, chatted in rooms, repurposed VBS, produced an Easter choir special, and equipped for Gospel conversations. All with messy hair, no makeup, and sometimes forgetting to put on pants for a Zoom call. Like you, they have had issues in their marriages and with their children, while praying for you to be led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Why? Because the Father has called them to this and given them a deep, deep love for you to continue in your journey with the Savior.
Dave Kruse has had to go the extra mile to avoid germs so he nor his wife (Melissa) nor his autistic son (Noah) would contract COVID. Not sure if you know this or not, but being quarantined for 14 days while ONLY HAVING ONE SPOUSE parent an autistic child would be a nightmare. Or, if Noah contracted COVID, it would be an surefire guarantee that his parents would too. You cannot quarantine an autistic little boy. While avoiding germs at all costs, Dave has single-handedly kept the operations of the church going. He has continued to ensure groups were taken care of. He has made sure your pastor didn’t lose his mind. He ensured West Franklin Talks continued consistently. And, he has (and continues to) oversee the 16 gazillion details required to reopen our facility on June 7th. Why? Because the Father called him to West Franklin and he zealously desires to serve this body of believers.
Last, but certainly not least, Dave Edwards (who, btw, is only a quarter time paid employee) has put in literally countless hours (like, for real. . . I am not sure God even knows how many hours he has worked) to make sure everything we put on-line is done with quality, excellence, and “view-ability” for the near 10,000 viewers who have joined us in worship over the past 3 months. This, he has done while he and his wife (Connie) parent their daughter (Cara) through her senior year of high school without a “real” senior year. Why? Because our loving Father led his family here and he has a passion to help YOU – our church family – know Jesus through tech, lights, media, sound, etc.
We have an incredible staff, West Franklin. Praise be to God for His indescribable gift of these individuals, their patient and loving spouses, and their children who have seen their parents behind a computer screen way more than any of them would have liked! Thank you, team. Your pastor loves you and is so grateful for you and your love for this flock.
Now, what about our Administrative Assistant and Student Pastor? Any updates? I am so glad you asked.
First, we have an Administrative Assistant ready to go the moment Brentwood Baptist lifts its necessary hiring freeze that has been in place since March. We’ve done all the leg work, interviewed several candidates, and have gotten approval to hire, hopefully in early July. I believe she too is a gift from God for me, the staff team, and our entire church.
Second, the Job Description for the Student Pastor went live on Wednesday, May 27th. Again, Dave Kruse worked hard to put this together. We recently got approval from the Staff Resource Team at Brentwood and should be receiving resumes and applications soon.
Here’s what I am calling YOU to do in the meantime. Come in here real close. Like, really close. Can you smell your screen? If not, lean in closer. I want to make sure you read this well.
I want you – all of you – to pray for the spiritual vitality of our student ministry. Read that again. I am calling on you, the Church at West Franklin, to plead with the Father to bring spiritual health and life and vigor and passion and excitement to our church, particularly as it relates to our students. Many (most? all?) of you will click on the link above and see that we still looking for a Part-Time Student Minister. You will immediately get frustrated and mad and disappointed. Believe me. I get it. I’ve heard you and continue to hear you. Dave Kruse and I have done interviews and asked questions and listened and requested feedback. West Franklin has had full-time Student Ministers before. As you know, we have had part-time Student Ministers before. All have brought much to the table in their own unique ways. But we are still where we are as a student ministry. We may need a full-time person. We may need part-time. We may not even need a student minister and put all the pressure on the parents to disciple our students. Heck, we have such great leaders for our students right now, we may just need to let them keep carrying the ball. Though we are pursuing a part-time minister right now, I still struggle to know what is best – personnel-wise – for our student ministry.
But I do know this (you still leaning in?): We need God to move like He’s never moved before, to show favor and power and a Spirit-anointing among our students and student ministry. We need Him to do far more than we can ask, imagine, or think. At the end of the day, we need HIM. Not a part-time or a full-time or a no-time or a show-time or an all-time. We need God. We need to express our desperation to do what we have been unable to do ourselves and ask Him to come and move among our students – drawing them to Himself and giving them a passion for His name to be known throughout our city, state, country, and world. Our students need God. Their peers need God. And, let’s be honest, this generation is the most unique and fascinating generation – already hardwired to join God in what He is doing in this season of history.
If we pray for this, and if God chooses to answer, then I think He will probably show us and/or send us what’s best for leadership in the student ministry. Can I get an “Amen”?
Throughout the month of June – on Wednesdays at 10:00 am – I am going to post a time of prayer for the Student Ministry on our Facebook page. Will you join me in praying?
Okay. You can back away from your screens now. Your eyes may hurt, but I really wanted you to “get” what I said. It’s kind of a big deal.
Thanks in advance for your commitment to pray. This cannot be done without the Father.
For this generation of students,
Pastor Matt
PLEASE NOTE: If you plan to attend one of our two worship services NEXT Sunday, June 7th – you MUST register that you are coming so we can best prepare for your arrival. The link for registration will be emailed to you and posted on our website beginning Monday morning, June 1st. Registration will close Wednesday night, June 3rd. (This is a slight adjustment from what was mentioned on Thursday’s West Franklin Talks podcast.)
Read previous letters to West Franklin here.

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Know more about potential plans for re-opening here.