You are moving to Birmingham to become Senior Pastor of Red Mountain Church. Can you tell us a bit about that church? How is it similar to Tenth; how is it different?
Red Mountain Church is about 15 years old. It was a church plant out of Oak Mountain PCA and Evangel Presbytery. Currently the church is about 150–175 communing members made up of families and young professionals who live, work, or play in the city of Birmingham. The church meets for worship on Sunday at 5 PM in an old renovated theater called the Avon. Theologically Red Mountain Church is very similar to Tenth as a sister church in the same denomination. However, it is much smaller and less regional than Tenth. Almost all the members live within a 15 minute drive of where the church meets for worship.
How has your time at Tenth prepared you to pastor Red Mountain?
I would consider my time at Tenth as one of the most formative periods in my ministerial life. Working with Liam, the staff, and the elders has exposed me to ministry and leadership in a large, vibrant church. God has worked through the opportunities and challenges we have lived through at Tenth to clarify my sense of calling in pastoral ministry, which has given me confidence to consider a senior pastor position. A few things God has clarified for me through our time at Tenth is the desire to preach weekly, to lead a session, and to serve in a local rather than a regional church.
You helped us focus on reaching beyond our walls and articulating the good news of Jesus in a way our non-churched contemporaries could understand. What are the things you hope we keep in mind as we move forward in outreach?
I hope you keep in mind that for many people coming to faith is a process and not only a one-time event. Therefore, people need multiple exposures to the gospel as they make a series of mini-decisions on their way to finding faith. The question is, will you be a church that makes that process possible for people, especially in an increasingly post-Christian culture? Personal relationships are key. True outreach requires real relational integrity. In other words, we need Christian people who are very similar to those outside the church, yet distinctively different, all the while remaining visible and engaged. For many secular people the idea of becoming a Christian seems totally foreign because we often “look” so different that it’s hard to imagine ever becoming a Christian. A church that effectively reaches people outside the church must be self-critical about its own sensibilities and preferences, all the while working tirelessly to defend and commend the gospel in winsome and culturally relevant ways.
In what areas would you like to see us grow as a congregation? What’s your prayer for us?
I hope that Tenth Church grows and matures in its community and culture to be a place for both Christians and non-Christians. Too often churches seem to think there are only two options: the church is for Christians or the church is for non-Christians. When I read the New Testament, I see a church called to reach and equip; gather and perfect; evangelize and disciple. My hope is that Tenth Church never tires of wrestling with the complexities and opportunities of that dual calling. Whether Sunday worship or weekly Bible studies or other initiatives, the gospel is for both Christians and non-Christians at the same time. Non-Christians need to hear the gospel applied to Christians and their sin, struggles, and problems. Christians need to hear the gospel applied to the questions and doubts of secular people in a way that is respectful and persuasive, yet uncompromising.
How can we be praying for you and your family?
Here are four things you can pray for. First, pray for my marriage, for Meg and me, that we would love one another as Jesus has loved us. Second, pray for my boys that God would soften their hearts and grant them faith in the Lord Jesus. Third, pray for all that you might imagine is involved in moving a family of six, eight hundred plus miles to start over as it were. Fourth, pray for Red Mountain Church, the elders, the deacons, the congregation, and my work with them. Pray for the gospel to win in our hearts, relationships, and mission as a church. Pray that God would work through the ordinary means of grace to accomplish his will in Birmingham through Red Mountain Church.
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