This past Sunday I announced my retirement from the pastorate with Legacy Church.
After 26 years of partnership with the people who are Legacy to help people trust Jesus, I am humbled to step onto the trail with B. H. Carroll Theological Institute in June to equip "men and women called to serve Christ in the diverse and global ministries of His church."
B H Carroll was formed in 2004, and I have been been a Resident Fellow with them since 2005. Soon after that, Legacy partnered with Carroll to join its nexus of Teaching Churches. In 2011, I was elected to the Board of Governors for the Institute.
So, you see, I have been on the journey with them for some time. Their core strategy to return ministry training and theological education to the local church has made it possible for me to equip current and future church leaders while providing biblical and leadership studies for the local church community and the members of Legacy.
Why would we make such a move now? Here are some primary reasons,
First and foremost, Legacy Church is healthy and ready for new leadership. Legacy is united in mission, connected in authentic community, infected with grace, and in love with God and the people in our mission field. Our servant leaders live and breathe God's call on our lives to "help people trust Jesus as the church, at home, and in the world." I am confident of our servant leaders' spiritual maturity, discernment of God's leadership, and sensitivity to the needs of our church. They are ready for a new leader to guide them on the next leg of their journey with the Lord.
J. Robert Clinton has described convergence as taking place "in a leader’s life when giftedness, role, and influence come into alignment with experience, personality, formation, opportunity, and destiny." (Leadership Emergence Theory, 381). I am convinced my ministry with Carroll is a convergence as Clinton describes it. Hopefully, my academic training and teaching, leadership development, and spiritual growth while serving in the local church since 1975 will converge to serve others more effectively. I turn 60 this August, and my prayer is that the next decade of my life (the Lord willing) will be one of global influence that draws upon all God has ordained and allowed in my life for the spiritual benefit of men and women called to serve Christ in his church.
I am convinced Carroll is the next, best model for training church leaders in a global context. The understatement of the century is, "The internet has changed everything." It has changed how we learn, share and access information. The world is flat, and the internet has extended our reach to every major people group on the planet. The Senior Fellows and founders of Carroll have developed classroom (in a local church setting) and online training for anyone, anytime, anywhere. For example, Carroll has students from 26 of our 50 United States with no central, residential campus.
Carroll believes that training indigenous church leaders in their heart language for the ultimate goal of training their peers is superior to English-only, state-side training. This is why we have formal partnerships with churches and learning centers in Cuba, Vietnam, and Russia and students in 13 countries.
The core leadership of Carroll has invested all they are and have to bring into reality a vision God put on their hearts over ten years ago. I want to serve with men and women who have risked their well being and futures to ensure God's vision exists and thrives in their lifetimes. Those are the people with whom I want to make the journey.They are people like the people of Legacy who leave home like Abraham "not knowing where he was going" and trust their Leader unconditionally to take them into a magnificent future for his honor and glory.
These are difficult days emotionally for Kim and me as we walk through the good-byes and hope-to-see-you-later wishes. But, we are convinced God has orchestrated this opportunity and that we are leaving Legacy in God's timing and God's care.
Thank you in advance for your prayers. I'll see you on the trail!