El Paso: News spreads fast in Baptist life–even to far West Texas! I heard the news today that Dr. Randel Everett will be going on December 5th to preach in view of a call as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Midland. Mixed emotions fill my heart and mind as I seek to put perspective on this change in the Kingdom.
1. I am confident in Randel and Shelia’s ability to sense God’s will for their lives and ministries. With courage and vision, Randel Everett took on an almost impossible task three years ago, and has effectively led the BGCT to cast a bold vision into the future. Having worked closely with Randel the last two years, I have learned to trust his heart and judgment. Randel loves the BGCT, and if this is what he believes God wants him to do, I believe it must have been a decision that came after much soul-searching and struggle. I pray the vision we cast in McAllen will inspire us to continue our work at bring hope to Texas and the world.
2. I am saddened by losing Randel at the helm. Randel had the unique ability to lead our diverse Baptist family with understanding and wisdom. The BGCT is by far one of the most complex and diverse religious bodies in the world, yet Randel led us well and helped us to work together as a family of believers. We will miss his vision and courage. We will miss his boldness to reach out and embrace all aspects of our Texas Baptist family.
3. I am confident in the future–because I know the future rests in the hands of our Lord, and in the hands of our churches. The BGCT is much bigger than any one leader. It is a movement. It is a living organism of churches passionate seeking to be the presence of Christ in the world. If we are serious about being a people of hope, we need to demonstrate our courage and faith in this hour of change and transition. Our hope rests in the Lord, and since He has decided to make this change at this time I am excited to see what God has in store for all of us. I am confident in the wings the Lord has a uniquely prepared leader ready to build on the foundation of today with an eye toward tomorrow.
Let me encourage you to pray for Dr. Everett and the people of FBC Midland as they seek God’s will. Pray for the BGCT staff as this news colors their holidays. Pray for Victor Rodriguez as he leads our Baptist family during this time of transition. (On a personal note: I am so thankful Victor is leading us. He is a courageous bold leader. He is the right man in the right place at the right time.)
When the Lord called me to El Paso these words of Moses inspired me and I turn to them now:
7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8)
Times like these call for strength and courage rooted in the confidence that “The LORD himself goes before” us into tomorrow.