Saturday, August 3, 2013

Dear FBC Vivian

A letter from Dustie (read this morning after church):

This past Wednesday night I celebrated 8 years as a Staff member here at First Baptist, and for almost a decade it has been one of the greatest joys and privileges of my life to serve God alongside you here in Vivian.  I have taken great pride in the fact that since 1902 only a couple people have served in this church as long as God has allowed me to.

 

Since 2005, first as Youth and Children’s Pastor and currently as Pastor I have tried to consistently teach you that as a Disciple of Jesus Christ, you must be willing to do whatever is asked of you by the Master…and today I have got to live that out in front  of you.  So, today I place before you with my sincerest gratitude and love my resignation as your pastor.

 

Last Sunday I preached in view of a call at Petal Harvey Baptist Church in Petal, Mississippi.  They extended an invitation, and God has led us to accept that position as their pastor.  In two weeks from Today (on the morning ofAugust 18th) I will preach my last sermon as your pastor.  From there our family will move to Mississippi to begin a new chapter in our service to Jesus.

 

As you hear that…please listen to my heart.  I have never sought to leave this church.  I have never on my own submitted a resume to any other church.  In fact I never put out a resume to Petal Harvey Baptist…They contacted me out of the blue a couple of months ago.  Jenni and I always said that if God was going to move us from here, He was going to have to come get us.  In fact we have declined some invitations in favor of staying here because we felt it to be the will of God.  I am not leaving because I want to, or because I have to, or because I’m mad about something…Those of you who really know me know that if God had not of specifically told me to do this…then we would never be having this discussion.  I was content to be here forever (especially because this is so close to our families…and Mississippi seems like a foreign country).  This is where I first became a pastor, saw my two kids born, and have seen one of the mightiest moves of God that I have ever even heard of.

 

Fleshly speaking there is no reason to leave…I firmly believe that with what God has done here over the last few years and the ministerial staff that He has assembled in my Best Friend and Associate Pastor Bro. Blake / our worship leader Ms. Andrea / and our Children’s minister Stevie Adger --- the brightest days for First Baptist Vivian are on the horizon.  I love First Baptist Vivian with all of my heart…and this calling has not changed that!  Our ministry will always be deeply rooted with this place…Please pray for us and know that you have been and will forever be our family.

 

With deepest Affection

Bro. Dustie

 

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This blog post is pretty much a re-statement of what PreacherHubs announced in church this morning, but longer & with more rabbit-chasing & sappy emotions. :) Since D represents & speaks for our family, I am so thankful I chose a wise Husband. I can always trust him to beautifully say & explain what's on our hearts.

Today D announced just another one of the MANY reasons that Heaven is a place I so look forward to: God calling us away from one church & calling us to another one. 

I've stayed up countless nights just sick to my stomach thinking about telling our precious church FAMILY that we have to leave. I've thought about this blog post a lot. Sometimes I let myself think about it & mentally start writing it, other times I just couldn't bring myself to think about it. 

First of all, I have to say that I am truly excited that the Lord has made His will clear to us. Although I'm doing my best to not be afraid or worried like my God tells me over & over & there are so many unknowns that rock my world, I can stand upon what the Lord has revealed to me & the fact that I ONLY want to be in God's will. I also want to say that this has not come as a surprise. The Lord had been preparing me for a year and a half. (My blog has alluded to it here & there. I will tell the story of this crazy, amazing, God-filled journey in another post.) All that being said, I am heartbroken to move away from this precious family & fellowship that our lives are so intertwined in. 

For some in ministry, getting called away from the church they are serving in is a relief, something they look forward to. I am so thankful to say that for the 2 times that has happened, that has definitely not been the case. When D & I were called away from Colfax Baptist Church, it was something that we & the entire church knew was coming at the close of our college graduation b/c D needed a full-time position, & needed to go to seminary. This time, getting called away is a totally different animal. 

Please know that we are still very much in love with the amazing people at FBC Vivian. These people are the ones we do life with & we LOVE it. They have been our family for the past 8 years. My best friends are here. My prayer partners are here. My hilariously "tweetable," Bible-wise SS teachers are here. Mine & D's accountability partners are here. Jax's future wife is here. :) My boys' MDO teachers, SS teachers, & nursery ladies are here. This is the only church family my children know.

From meeting Vivian's awesome search committee, [(who are some of our closest friends) & calling my Mom just devastated b/c I already loved them :), but was just SURE God was NOT going to send us to some town named Vivian] to giving in to the Holy Spirit's unrelenting call to follow Him to this church, FBC Vivian stole my heart.

They called us to the church for Youth & Children. Little did we know that only 3 years later, they would take a leap of faith & ask a "kid" to fill in as Interim Preacher & later to be Pastor of the entire church. FBC Vivian allowed the Holy Spirit to have His way by calling Dustie as Pastor. Because of that obedience, the Lord has rewarded His church mightily in salvations, baptisms, making disciples, making ministers, making missionaries, & by the church just being an exciting & wonderful place to be! 

Leaving Vivian was not something we sought out. The Lord stirred our hearts over a year ago. He told us that He was going to send us somewhere else. D was having a quiet time in Israel on the Sea of Galilee when the Lord told him. He called me later that day to tell me that I needed to pray about this. D & I have been on our knees ever since. We have been in a perpetual "Waiting Room" since February of 2012. Not once did D send his resume out. But a few different churches have contacted us. After much prayer in each circumstance, none of those seemed to be what the Lord had for us. I won't lie, other than wondering what God's plan was, I was perfectly content to wait because I was so happy here. 

Outside of the call of God, we would be crazy to leave. FBCV has been growing & making disciples non-stop. God has done incredible things in & through His church & shows no signs of stopping. It has been a church on fire & hungry for the Lord. It's a Preacher Family's dream!

D told me something he was told recently: A preacher leaving a church in accordance with the will of God is the best thing for the church he's leaving & the best thing for the church God is sending him. For us to stay would put us, as well as the church, out of the Lord's will. That goes against everything we have tried to teach & live out throughout our ministry. We will trust & obey the Lord & what He has made so perfectly clear to us. 

Thank you my precious FBCV family for your love & for doing life with us & making the past 8 years some of the best. Love you all.

9 comments:

  1. Matt & Mandi DeesAugust 4, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    We will miss u guys and constantly pray for u and your new church family. We love yaw. Good luck and best of wishes for your family!

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  2. Love you all too. FBCV has a very special place in our hearts. Y'all come visit!! (For real)

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  3. Love you and your family. You will be missed sweet lady!

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  4. so sad -
    cant pretend to be anything other than heartbroken
    - Will certainly miss yall :(
    both of you will be leaving big shoes to fill
    - I.will pray for yall-
    plz pray for us

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  5. Love you too Stacie!!
    We will Beth & we have been. :)

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  6. I know the decision you and Dustie made was incredibly hard and only possible because you know God has called you and His plan is always best. I'm praying for your FBC Vivian family as they begin the task of finding a new preacher. I know God has already prepared the man and his family who will come and serve them. On another note, I'm super thrilled about welcoming you to PHBC! I know we only had a brief moment to chat at the Friday reception, but I felt like I had known you and Dustie for many years. I am confident that this is God's will! I can't wait to get to know y'all more! I'm going to warn you...my friends and I have already planned a spot for you in our Petal Pinterest Divas group and our Fantasy Football Widows club. :)

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  7. Thanks Christy! Sounds like FUN!!

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  8. I looked for your email on here but didn't see it. Would you email me? Our story is VERY similar!!

    theglenns 556 at yahoo . com (hopefully avoiding the spambots!)

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