First of all, I want to thank my many friends who have been so kind to me through this transition in my ministry. As I have told many people, I cannot lose the best of the COG because the best parts of the COG are the friendships and I will be taking them with me. You faithful friends mean the world to me, and you know who you are.
I started 2015 with more prayer and fasting than any other year in my life because I believed that this was going to be a year of significant transition for my church and me. I have walked closer to God than ever before. I have NEVER been more confident in a ministry decision than I am in this one. Although one poster said he was certain that God did not tell me to leave the COG, I actually believe that He did.
Last year on my way to the Alabama minister’s meeting, I prayed and asked God not to let me be elected to the State Council. And when I was elected, I prayed all the way home asking God, “Why?” His response was, “I’m going to finally help you get off of the fence. I’m going to show you if you should go all in or all out.” Through just a few State Council meetings it became abundantly clear to me that it was time to transition. *** is one of the greatest leaders I have ever known. I have always admired him and will continue to. There is NOTHING he could have done to change my mind. This was not about him and it was not about me. It was bigger than that.
Over my 22 years of credentialed ministry in the COG, I have come to realize that the COG and I share differing visions of ministry. Try as I might, I was unable to influence the direction of the COG. In fact, all of my efforts only served to further alienate me and brand me as “contrarian” or “abrasive” or many other terms. I really don’t care what people call me, but I do abhor wasting my energies and opposing leadership with no noticeable change. So I finally decided that it would be better for everyone involved if I moved in a different direction.
I would lastly just say that in reading the many posts here, I have read several factually inaccurate statements (for instance, no one promoted my book at the COG minister’s meeting. I did, however, give a copy to every minister for free. I did not sell any). There are at least a dozen other misstatements and I will not use this forum to argue with the other posters. But I respect anyone who really wishes to know the truth and would be willing to share my personal cell phone number for anyone who wants to ask specific questions (***).
Again, I love the COG and always will. My grandfather, 2 aunts, 1 uncle, 2 cousins and 1 brother-in-law are all COG ministers. I could no more stop loving the COG than I could stop loving my own family. I do not expect anyone not in my shoes to understand my decisions. But I appreciate your many kind words of encouragement and your prayers. I am always open to helping other pastors, be they COG or not. That will not change.