My Plan for 2016 — The Saga Concludes (Or Does it?)

As you probably know by now, I made it a goal of mine to visit all the regional campuses of Brentwood Baptist Church in 2016.

As of today, that mission is accomplished. That is, until the next regional campus springs up into existence.

I really liked everything about The Church at West Franklin. The music was great, the people were warm and friendly, and Matt Pearson is a fantastic communicator of God’s Word.

I’m thankful that I was able to see each of the campus pastors when I visited their respective campuses. I’m even more thankful that Brentwood Baptist Church is able to reach such a diverse group of people with these campuses that share the same message of hope but convey it in different ways.

In Nashville where 95% of churches are in decline, it does my heart good to see that all these campuses are growing and thriving and each making inroads in their communities.

I can’t wait to see what God does through the next regional campus (possibly in East Nashville). I have my GPS and I’m ready to travel, especially if the new campus is close to The Pharmacy (one of my favorite burger places in the world).

Speaking of good places to eat, I managed to end up at the Henpeck Village Market after church services for some quality brunch buffet. It was every bit as good as I had been dreaming it would be.

I still love that every new day can be a new start. You may not be able to make a new beginning, but you can always start toward a new ending and change the current chapter you’re in. God is always willing to work in the life of the man or woman who can offer even the most hesitant of surrenders and gives Him even the tiniest of places to start.

So, this concludes my updates on visiting all the regional campuses of BBC. For now.


My Plan for 2016 — So Far

“We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan” (Romans 8:28VOICE).

It’s not really a new year’s resolution, but I’ve made a plan for 2016. My goal is to visit all the campuses of Brentwood Baptist Church in this calendar year. Obviously, I’ve been to the main campus and I’m a member of the Avenue South campus, so those don’t count.

So far, one down and two more to go.

I visited the campus of The Church at Station Hill. That place is blowing up (in a good and non-destructive way). What I mean is that this congregation has doubled since they moved into their new facility.

In a city where 95% of the churches are either plateaued or declining, that’s pretty remarkable. That speaks to what God is doing in the Spring Hill and Thompson’s Station area. That speaks to people who are completely committed to following the vision God has laid on their hearts.

They have a dynamic pastor in Jay Strothers. They have a really good contemporary worship team (with a brass section that reminds me of the old band Chicago). They are warm and friendly people who made me feel right at home.

Next month, the plan is to visit The Church at West Franklin. I’m very excited to see this church, once failing and now repurposed and thriving once more.

In May, I want to see The Church at Woodbine. I’ve heard really good things about this congregation, how they’re so ethnically diverse yet unified in their focus of reaching the lost for Jesus.

As Brentwood Baptist adds more regional campuses, I hope to be able to set aside a Sunday in the month to visit those as well.

So far, so good.


Being on the Ground Floor


Today at my church, there were few–if any– empty chairs. That might not sound like much until you consider that this church has only officially been in existence since July of last year (with the official launch in September).

I’ve always said that I wanted to be on the ground floor of a church plant and here I am.

My role may not be a big one, but I am playing a small part. I am a greeter on most Sunday mornings and once every month or so I run the graphics, which includes song lyrics and other slides related to the Sunday morning service.

I enjoy it. I really love the fact that we as the local body of Christ are making an impact on the neighborhood in which God has placed us. People driving by can’t help but notice the sign that reads “The Church at Avenue South– a regional campus of Brentwood Baptist Church.” Jesus has moved into the neighborhood and we are His visible body here on earth.

I can’t wait to see what happens in the year ahead. I pray that we won’t be content to maintain status quo but instead seek ways to think outside that proverbial box and truly become all things to all people, just as Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 9:22.

In fact, my prayer is for all the churches in Nashville to do the same. I really do hope that we can get away from the competitive spirit and learn to work together as the Church. After all, Jesus prayed that we would be one as He and His Father are one.

More than that, I pray the churches in Nashville will stick to the Gospel that Paul preached, no matter what. That’s what saves people and that’s what people are dying to hear, both figuratively and literally.


The Next Step


I heard something that stuck with me. People always talk about how there are a lot of churches in Nashville. That’s not true. We have a lot of church BUILDINGS, but not nearly as many vibrant communities of faith. Some are dying out, some have lost their mission and sold out for an “I’m okay, you’re okay” theology. Some are too inwardly focused to notice that there’s a world out there dying to find a better way to live.

I’ve been a part of a new regional campus/church plant for a few months. Today, we got to take the next step. We held our first service in our new location on 2510 Franklin Pike in the old Acuff-Rose Building, adding to a building already rich in history and legacy.

I think a lot of people in Nashville might say they are Christians. They might even go to church. But not many in Nashville know Jesus.

They know about Jesus. They know facts and figures, Bible verses, and what they’ve been taught about Him. But they don’t know Jesus.

I hope The Church at Avenue South will be a place where people can meet Jesus. I hope this will be a place where people can come and find out people care about them, not just their spiritual destination, but their here-and-now lives. That there are people who will love them no matter what, even if they say no to this Jesus.

At times, the outlook seems bleak. It feels like bringing a plastic knife to a gun fight. There are so many false Messiahs and false messages out there, confusing and deceiving people. There’s only a few people who know the real Truth and their voice at times seems so small and hard to hear.

But I still believe that Jesus has promised that we will prevail. We will overcome. Ours will be the last word. No, I take that back. Jesus will have the last word and it will be at His name that every tongue confesses and every knee bows to the fact that He is Lord.

I can’t wait to see what happens next.