300 – An Open Letter to My Congregation

Dear 300,

The Greek historian Herodotus has shared with us the story of King Leonidas’ 300 Spartan warriors who stood against the Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae. The Book of Judges chronicles Gideon’s 300 and their defeat of the Midianites. Both accounts offer inspiring stories of those who against innumerable odds exhibited great strength and a vast amount of character. In both cases I believe the moral has nothing to do with the digit 300. The number may be simply an ironic coincidence. For me the moral is the testimony of those who stood, who did not quit, and thus comprised a meager but mighty force.

I am not certain how many of us are in this moment, but it is around 300 plus or minus only a few. It is to you, my congregation, the 300, that I post this open letter to let you know that you have truly inspired me, your pastor. This Sunday we claim victory as we dedicate our new campus. The journey to this moment has been arduous to say the least. Our collective heart has been broken many times, almost slowly and somewhat methodically. But I have seen in this how God has created in us a new heart that is far more capable. There is a great deal of difference in a heart that merely beats a mechanical rhythm, a heart that simply facilitates existence, and a heart that truly lives. You are alive. God has created a new heart, a heart that is able to live for Him, that yearns for Him, that feels His presence and desires nothing less than the glory of God in all things. I love your new heart. You inspire me.

I will never forget how often God has spoken to me through the sound of your voice. You are His instrument. The landscapes of Baptist life are sprayed with the casualties of our infamous and ugly business meetings. But in all of our meetings over the last four years you have remained beautiful. God revealed His plan to us through your voice and I stand in awe as I recall the many things God said to me through you. You are not only an audible expression of God’s glory, but also a visible one. As a younger man with a fresh call to ministry I desired to see unity in people that only the Holy Spirit can bring. I have seen Him unify you. You inspire me.

Things will change. This Sunday we will instantaneously be different. Yet this move, for me, memorializes in my soul the inspiring story of the 300 I am honored to pastor. There are so many stories, moments, and individuals that a forum of this nature restricts me to mention; but you and I share them alike, we know what and who they are. We smile in tears. All of them inspire us.

Whatever happens next, whoever else may come, your story is written deep within me. It is a historical marker in my life, preserved by God in me with the ink of your passion. You waited patiently, prayed fervently, gave sacrificially, you said “I will” consistently. You never gave up. You are here. May God richly bless you, the 300. The future generations of Ridgecrest Baptist Church are indebted to you. I am forever grateful for you. I am deeply honored to be your pastor.

Gal. 2:20


Anonymous said…
As one of those 300 +/- warriors, let me say that WE are the ones who are blessed. What an intense journey we have experienced together. This week with the prayer revival and the block party has been an exciting one. Tomorrow will be an incredible day, and I know we all look forward to our dedication service. After our service tomorrow, we can each go out into the mission field to continue praising our God for all of His blessings, proclaiming Jesus as Lord of our lives, and unashamedly sharing with those we meet how they, too, can be assured of an abundant and eternal life.

We can praise, proclaim, and share so much more naturally now than we could prior to God's sending the Branams to us. Those of us still at Ridgecrest have grown spiritually over the last several years and owe that growth to our leaders who have followed the Lord's guidance. I thank you, Brian, from the bottom of my heart for inspiring us to study God's Word, to share God's Word, and to have a personal, deep relationship with Him.
B.J. Price said…
Brian, I am not one of the 300 but I am forever connected to your congregation in a special way. I am part of your congregation's spiritual fruit from 13 years ago. I came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ at Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames in March of 1995 at Ridgecrest Baptist Church. I understand your congregation has been down a long road since, but I praise God that he is forever faithful to his people.

I now serve on staff at FBC Trussville as one of the music ministers. As I drive by your new campus each morning it brings be great joy to know that God is still using the congregation that shared Jesus with me. Please know my prayers are with you!!

"Greater things have yet to come..."
Anonymous said…
We all felt it. The presence of the Lord was in that place Sunday! Yes we were a bit nervous, excited, relieved, and uncertain, but on Sunday we couldn't help but lift our praise to Our Lord who has brought us so very far in the long journey to our new address. I'm so grateful that God placed you as our pastor to bring us to this place, at this time. You and your precious family are an inspiration to me. I've grown so much spiritually in these last few years and I've learned so much from yours & Jason's teaching. My prayers are with you and the entire staff daily.

Along with you I've cried many tears and my heart has been broken, softened, overwhelmed at times, revived, and humbled by what I've seen God do amongst the family of RBC. We love deeper, share our faith more freely, and are unashamed to let our guard down and just be real. I believe God has great and wonderful miracles in store for the faithful ones who have traveled this long road with you. GLORY be to GOD in the highest for it is He who has done a great work in us! We love you Brother Brian!

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