There is only one reason I would leave the pastorate at Cedar Grove. I would have to be thoroughly convinced that God Himself is moving me to another field of service that benefits the local church. I am convinced that the Lord is moving me to California Baptist University in Riverside, CA.
My feeling toward this move is not yet enthusiasm or great joy (though I believe joy will come for me and for Cedar Grove). My feeling right now is something like the feeling I had when Vickie and I had to leave our boys in Ethiopia and return to America. We knew that some day it would all work out and be right, but at the time it just felt hard and sad. Below is a copy of the summary I gave to the congregation concerning our decision to move to California.
Basic Facts Concerning My Departure:
Reflection Statements from Pastor Greg
- Why leave Cedar Grove? I am leaving for one simple reason: By faith, I believe that the Lord has called me to accomplish good works in California which He has prepared beforehand for me to walk in (See Ephesians 2:10).
- There is NO negative reason at all for me to leave—no bitterness, no malice, no discontent.
- No one at Cedar Grove did anything wrong, and, although this hurts me (and you) terribly, it is not a wrong being committed against anyone. Rather, it is a hurt like that between Paul and the Ephesians in Acts 20. We are weeping because we desire to be with each other. We feel the weight of loss, of separation, and yet we trust the sovereign will of God to bring this to a redemptive end which will be eternally good.
- I have never gone out searching for a job, and I did not seek out this one. California Baptist University sought me for this position about a year and a half ago. I turned down the offer to apply. They searched through many candidates but were not comfortable with any of them, and, so, at the end of December (Dec 28th), they asked me again if I would consider it. I told them I would pray about it, but I could not see any possible way I could leave the people at Cedar Grove.
- Surprisingly—shockingly—the Lord spoke to me in the Spirit during that prayer and said I had done the work of Titus here at Cedar Grove, having appointed elders in this congregation and having set in order what remained (see Titus 1:5). From membership to church structure and governance, Cedar Grove is a church of good order.
- From the time of that prayer until now, I have grown increasingly convinced that the Lord is indeed calling me to fill the position of the Director of the Bachelor of Applied Theology program at California Baptist University. My job there will be to recruit young men from the churches in California to be pastors in California and other needy areas of the world.
- I will offer these young leaders a scholarship to CBU, then coordinate their training for 4 years in the pastoral ministry. I will then connect them to seminaries (like Southern) and to churches (like Cedar Grove), where they will go through final preparations for ministry. Once training is completed, I will work to get these men into strategic places in California, the American West, and the rest of the world (focusing on areas of greatest need).
- I will teach them the Cedar Grove Constitution and help them to replicate the good fellowship and worship and love that I have known at Cedar Grove. That is my heart’s desire for this new work God is giving me to do.
- Through a broken heart, with great affections for you, my prayer is to have Cedar Grove affirm and embrace this work. For the next three months, I will work to explain all of the details of this move, and I will work to make a smooth transition possible at Cedar Grove. I will report to California July 1, 2013.