With the transitions mentioned in the two letters above, we wanted to take the time to address and give answers to some potential questions our church family might have regarding Dustin's transition to the new position at NAMB. Did something suspicious happen behind the scenes? No, not at all. The letter from Midtown addresses this more fully.
Who will be preaching more? Dustin had been preaching at one of our campuses approximately every other week. We will continue to operate with a teaching team that prepares sermons together and you will simply see more of the same people preaching as before. As always, we will continue to train and develop people in our church family with the giftedness to teach and hope to always be ready to give preaching opportunities to them.
Will we hire someone else? We have already hired Kent Bateman to come on and take a more substantial role than he previously had as a staff intern. He has served our church in a volunteer capacity for years and we are glad to be able to bring him on in a full time role.
Will this affect our vision moving forward? In short, no. We have no plans to slow down our efforts towards being all about Jesus, living as church family, and loving our neighbors in Jesus’ name. When Jesus comes back we can take it easy. Until then, there is a lot of work to do!
What will happen with Vision Team? Our Vision Team pastors serve as the overseers of our overall church direction and heath. You can find more information on our church's leadership structure here. Allen Tipping and Adam Gibson will continue as Vision Team pastors and will be praying about who should be added. The goal is for Vision Team to consist of 3-5 pastors.
Am I allowed to talk to Dustin and ask him more questions? Yes.
When are Dustin and Renie moving to Atlanta? March
How long have the pastors known this was going to happen? Around the first of December is when we began to discuss and pray together. In God’s providence, we talked about being ready for change on our Family Vacation trip in November. We had no clue that this would be one of those changes, but God did. He continues to lead our church quite well.
Are other people planning to leave? No. We have been working to develop a culture of ‘family’ in our church. We want for all of us to see church as family and Columbia as our home. Our hope is that people will stay in Columbia to be a part of Jesus’ mission here unless God specifically calls them elsewhere. We want Columbia to be our default location. But when Jesus says to move, we move, no matter how hard that move is. Our staff has adopted this mentality and Columbia is home for us. We are here and ready to get to work. If Jesus says to move, then we move. If he doesn’t, then we stay because Columbia is home and we are family!
How can I be praying for the Willis family? Dustin & Renie have been very clear that one of the most difficult things about this move is that they are leaving their best friends here in Columbia. Obviously this will all be difficult for them. Pray that God would bring them new friends quickly in Atlanta. Pray that God would lead them to a new church family that they can be a part of. Pray for a quick transition into Dustin’s new job and for more and more churches to plant healthy churches all over North America.
How can I be praying for the Midtown family? We have a lot of changes going on right now. With Sunday morning gatherings that require even more people to serve and an upcoming move to Devine Street, it’s a lot to take on! Pray that Jesus would continue to lead us and make us ready for whatever he brings our way. Pray that more people would meet Jesus in Columbia. Pray that Jesus would keep raising up godly, strong leaders to oversee our growing church family. Pray that Jesus would protect us from burning out, as we have a lot of paid and unpaid people who give every drop of energy they have in service to God through Midtown. And specifically, pray that God would continue to provide for us financially by growing our generosity and bringing more adults into our family.