This month I will begin my 17th year serving the local church as pastor. God has blessed me with the privilege of serving three great congregations during that time: Lantana Road Baptist Church in Crossville, TN (1996-2002); Ridgecrest Baptist in Trussville, AL (2002-2012); and currently Liberty Baptist Church of Dalton, GA. I am deeply appreciative of the experiences God has given me at every place and for the people He has brought into my life along the way. I am a very different person now than I was when this journey began. Thank you, to everyone who has helped to mold me as a man and as a pastor.
This year we made a bittersweet move to Dalton, GA. The bitterness came as we were called to leave a group of people we dearly loved and a place that was very much home in Birmingham, AL. Added to the bitterness was the difficulty of watching our daughters deal with the natural challenges of leaving a place in which you are rooted. Birmingham was really all they had ever known. The sweetness came in the prospects of being called into leadership at a church that was very much alive, healthy, and had a great vision for the future. Personally, although I thought I would never return to NW Georgia in my adult life, it was a special blessing to realize God was calling me back to my roots.
In the short time we have been at Liberty we have experienced 7 of the greatest months we have ever had in 16 years of ministry. Just two weeks ago we saw almost 100 people come to Christ and nearly 70 follow the Lord in believer’s baptism. Each week I come to this campus wondering what will happen next. You are a people who love Biblical preaching. You are sensitive to the Spirit. You are intentional about reaching the lost. You are welcoming to the broken. You follow leadership. I absolutely love being your pastor. I count it a great honor that God has brought me here.
This week you have shown your appreciation to me, my family, and our staff. It is with great gratitude that I receive your love. But I want you to know what I appreciate about you the most. I appreciate the way you have received my family into this fellowship. Your love for the Branams is the greatest gift you have given me. You received my daughters as your daughters, immediately. You opened your hearts to Shannon and I as not only leaders, but as friends. You have overwhelmed us with your love. I leave here each Sunday night astounded by the spirit that is in this congregation.
Thank you Liberty Baptist Church for receiving me as your pastor and showering my family with your love.
BB, Gal. 2:20