A farewell letter to our dear Evangel Baptist family…
All across the Metro Detroit area, road construction is backing up traffic, creating noise pollution, and wreaking havoc on seemingly everyone’s schedules. Just a few weeks ago, I cringed as I read an all-too-familiar sign: “Construction Zone – Detour Ahead.” With a sigh, I pulled off the highway into the wild unknowns of yet another detour. Frustrated by the delay, I anxiously glanced at the clock, checked my phone, and wondered if I would ever arrive at my intended destination.
Have you ever been forced into a detour only to find you’re heading in a totally different direction, away from the place you actually planned to go? Sometimes on the journey of life, God graciously interrupts our plans with a dramatically unexpected change in direction. I like to plan out all the details of life and presuppose how, I think, He will work out His grace-construction plan in me. But quite often God takes us through a series of unanticipated turns along the roadway that land us in an entirely different location. And it’s all part of His plan in constructing you and me into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ – whether or not we understand it all.
During the last seven months God has brought some unexpected turns in our journey on the mission of Jesus. And just a couple weeks ago, God brought us to a destination that we had certainly not drawn up in all our plans or projections. As of Sunday evening, October 6th, North Park Baptist Church of Grand Rapids overwhelmingly called me to serve Christ as their senior pastor. Pending some final details, our last Sunday here with all of you will be November 10th and I plan to preach my first sermon as the senior pastor of North Park Baptist Church on Sunday, November 24th.
Our hearts are full of joy in God’s direction and grace, yet the joy is mixed with sorrow. Our now impending departure from you is deeply bittersweet. Over the past three years we have grown close to many of you in the love of Christ. We have worked with you, loved ones, in the trenches of ministry in so many ways: mission trips, retreats, camps, outreach events, conferences, evangelistic meetings, visitation, worship leading, communion services, Christmas concerts, and youth gatherings. You joined with us in welcoming and dedicating our dear little Everlynn and have cared for our son, Hudson, with much love. I count it a deep privilege that you gave me the opportunity to regularly preach God’s Word, be ordained as a minister of the Gospel, lead some of your children to faith in Christ, and even baptize some of you as believers. We sincerely love each and every one of you and will greatly miss you.
We want you to know we are not leaving Evangel for any negative reasons, whatsoever. I believe in the mission and vision that God has given Evangel and stand in complete alignment with how Pastor Ken Pierpont is leading you to be on the mission of Jesus Christ, so that you can more effectively reach the Downriver Area with the Gospel. I call you to follow Pastor Pierpont and the other leaders of this church as they, together, guide you down the path of change for the sake of the Gospel. I wholeheartedly believe these unexpected turns in God’s roadway for us and for Evangel Baptist Church are deliberate and ordained by the mind of God – through His grace – in order to produce in us greater Christ-likeness to the glory of God. We request your prayers for all the details of our soon-coming transition and want you to know that you will remain in our thoughts and prayers for many years to come.
“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” ~ Colossians 2:6-7
Love in Christ,
Pastor Michael, Stephanie, Hudson, and Everlynn