The Shepherd Chronicles, A New Series of Posts On My First 15

I am going to endeavor to do something I have yet to do; to share my story of shepherding the church for the past 15 years.  It actually won’t be 15 years until this October, but writing the story of the past 14 and 3/4 years looks awkward on paper and just seems incomplete.  Furthermore, I hope what is now known to me as the past 15 years will someday merely become the first 15 years. 

So why now?  I think its time, not only because I need something I can write quickly throughout the summer, without much research, but because these are great memories; stories that shaped me that I don’t want to lose.  I have told many of these stories, but I have never preserved them in writing.  I am afraid some of it I have already forgotten, but I hope that writing about these experiences will somehow resurrect the memories that are buried.  Another occasion for the topic is my focus this summer.  I am currently tapping out a short book that tells the story of the church as a whole.  I will be sharing its content over the next several weeks in sermons.  In the end I hope it becomes a document I can teach from going forward; helping those who are struggling to acclimate to the church, and perhaps recovering those who have lost their way in the church.  What I have written thus far would not translate well on the blog as each of its sections are interconnected and posts on a blog generally need to be self-contained.  I guess what I am saying is that I don’t want to bore you, the blog reader, to death.  But in any event, I have been thinking a lot about the church lately and it is forcing me not only to examine its Biblical story, but also to consider my own story and experiences with it.

There is an aspect of this in which I must be careful.  I don’t want to tell too much.  There are some hurtful episodes as you can imagine over the span of 15 years.  As much a minority as those stories may be, sometimes it is human to allow that which is painful to be the most dominant.  Furthermore, I don’t wish to hurt anyone or to go back to something of which many of us have forgiven one another, released, and moved on.  My purpose is rather to celebrate the two churches God has blessed me to pastor, Lantana Road Baptist Church in Crossville, TN and Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL and to share a few of my favorite stories of its people.  Perhaps in doing so it will not only help me to preserve a bit of my own story, but it will encourage many of us along the way.  Maybe an episode or two somehow involved you.  Maybe a few of them will involve those we loved who have gone on to be with the Lord.  Hopefully as I write and you read it will help us both to smile and to love the church.


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