Nine days ago, I stood before the Highland Park Baptist Church and made some major announcements about our new direction. Things are so exciting right now! The church is unified around our new vision, people in our community are talking about it everywhere we go. Even this evening, my family and I went to McAllister’s Deli for dinner and the man in line behind us knew I was pastor of Highland Park and began talking about how pumped he was for our church and that he’s going to visit us when we relocate since he lives near our new location.
Do you want to know something odd, though? Despite all of the excitement and positivity and “buy-in” for this vision from congregants and the community alike, there is a small faction of people who are questioning these decisions. This group of people is primarily an extreme faction of the Christian world who would rather see my wife wear a bonnet and frumpy skirt that drags the floor while I preach solely from the KJV than they would like for me to open our skateboard park at our new location October 6th and bump the bass of some theologically rich Christian hip hop like Lecrae (one of my favorites).
This antiquitous & pharisaical group is filled with people who would like for things at Highland Park to stay the way they were in her heyday of the ‘60s/’70s. Do you know what? God did HUGE things in our church during those days. They were awesome days. Despite the awesomeness of those days, I wasn’t here then. I wish I could understand how the Spirit moved in the services of those decades, but I truly can’t fully grasp it since I wasn’t here. However, I just know that our church has to make some major decisions moving forward.
I guess the doubters of our church’s decisions think we should continue to do the same thing and expect different results. That is the definition of insanity. Ultimately, nobody can fully grasp what situation our church currently faces unless they’re a part of our fellowship. Our church, with great unity, sees an exciting Gospel-centered future ahead of us in Harrison Bay & Ooltewah as Church of the Highlands.
Do you realize if we made zero decisions of change, we’d be criticized by someone. If we made different decisions of change, others would criticize us. When you’re in a position of leadership, making tough decisions just comes with the territory. A Christian leader must come to the conclusion that a decision must be made to impress one—and only one—God/Man: Jesus Christ. So, who cares if there are haters out there? My job is to lead the church I serve to bring God glory and follow His lead . . . not listen to some hateful bloggers/tweeters/facebookers who don’t have the wisdom to keep their opinions to themselves instead of trying to cause discord in the body of Christ.
I’m pumped our church is unified. God is moving in our midst, and for that I am so grateful!
I want to conclude this blog post with a video by Pastor Steven Furtick as he addressed people doing similar things to him: