This is one of those “in case you missed it’ moments. Rob Sweet got a phone call back in April and it has changed the trajectory of his ministry. Yesterday, I asked him to share the story with the congregation in both services. In case you missed it, here it is in “letter format.”
Anytime someone asks me why I decided to go into ministry, I will at some point in the story inevitable mention the pastor of the church I grew up in. Michael Easley was a key influence in my life as a young man and a big reason I wanted to become a pastor.
Over the past twenty years or so, Michael and I have kept in touch here and there. In April, he got in contact with me and asked if I would be interested in a teaching and leadership position at his current church in the Nashville area. My first response was, "I'm honored, but I've never even considered the thought of leaving GFC." That conversation began a process of learning about that church and what they need, praying for wisdom, and seeking much counsel. At some point in the process, it became apparent the role they were seeking was a unique fit for me - both in terms of how God wired me and what that church needs right now.
So, sometime next month, Jodie and I will be moving our family to Franklin, Tennessee and I'll begin serving as the main teaching pastor at the Franklin Campus of Fellowship Bible Church Nashville. The congregation I'll be leading is about two years old with around 500 adults in weekly attendance. It's in an area growing fast with a lot of young families. We've made a couple of trips over there in the past month and we sense it's a unique and ideal context for our family to serve.
From an early point in this process, I've had very healthy and open conversations with Tom and Tim Bowers as I've explored this opportunity. I've sensed from them their genuine desire for me to be wherever I can best serve the body of Christ. Their willingness to be open-handed about my journey has meant a great deal to me.
This decision is certainly bitter-sweet for our family. We love GFC and we love this community. It's been a terrific place for me to serve and grow and a fantastic place for Jodie and our daughters. Grace is a special church with an incredible mission and outstanding leaders. I have great relationships with Tom, Tim, the elders, the rest of the staff, and so many of you in our body. This congregation has been gracious and encouraging to us, and our experience here has been overwhelmingly positive.
Grace has shaped me in ways that will be a permanent part of who I am and the kind of pastor I'm becoming. The concept of taking steps forward along the Ultimate Journey has been formative for me, as has the powerful impact this congregation has in the local community through the Mountain View initiative. Most recently, the Texting series has reignited in me a love for the Scriptures and a desire to dig deep into it and teach it well. I'm deeply grateful for all of those and for the countless other ways GFC has been a gift of grace to me and my family.
As good as it's been, I'm also confident the best days are still ahead for Grace Fellowship. I look forward to seeing all that God continues to do in and through this wonderful body.
With fondness and gratitude,
I will personally miss Rob. He is a good and godly man. I know Franklin will be a better place because of him and his family. I am also confident of God’s hand on GFC. I am coming up on 34 years here and I have seen God provide…over and over again. We are currently seeking a new Family Life Pastor who will be a part of our teaching team. Thanks for your prayers!
P.S. If you would like to see my “interview” with Rob from yesterday, click here.
Also, there are still some slots open to serve during ECHO week happening July 28 - August 2! You can sign up today or tomorrow by visiting our website.
Grace and peace,
Posted on Mon, July 21, 2014
by Tom Oyler