An Open Letter to The GatheringNashville and Beyond

I’ve been meaning to sit down and put some of my thoughts on paper as I reflect on the first three years of The Gathering.

Let me first say that I’ve been doing this a very long time.  As a matter of fact, if you won’t tell anybody, I’ll let you in on the fact that I’ve been a pastor for 38 years.  I started when I was 18.  Yeah, that’s the truth, no joke.  I’ve been a pastor all these years, and I am ashamed to say I haven’t always enjoyed it.

For some reason I can’t explain, The Gathering is different.  So here are some things I want to say to our Gathering tribe, movement, family; those who gather here in Nashville, and those who listen to the podcast and tune in regularly every week on the webcast.

  1. Thank you for the privilege of being called your pastor.  I take that very seriously and I want to be worthy of that trust in every moment, every day of my life.
  2. As your pastor, my goal is not to build a huge church that gets me notoriety.  I can say, at one time in my past that might have been.  I am not even sure then.  But I can say without question, because of who you guys are and particularly the influence and wisdom of Paula, I am far more focused on helping people.
  3. For all those of you who call The Gathering home, who aren’t yet followers of Jesus, Christians, saved. whatever you want to call it, but you still come and listen, I say, “Yea God!” Keep coming.  Keep listening.  If the whole issue of Jesus is a lot to swallow, join the club.  It has been for all of us.  But don’t give up because a conversion experience to Jesus Christ as a loving Lord is so life-changing. it’s worth pursuing no matter how long it takes.
  4. You have to know that every Sunday morning for me is like Christmas, seriously.  I will say this.  For 38 years, I’ve always shown up every weekend ready, excited, passionate, and wanting to see God do something great in the lives of the good people I get to serve.
  5. We’re working on the first new re-do of our website.  We’ve on purpose left it alone for several years as The Gathering developed to see where she’s going.  But as the new website is launched in the next month or so, you’ll see a new mantra statement that says, “We specialize in God simple, not church complicated.”  That is the best statement of the philosophy of The Gathering I could come up with.
  6. Our mission is simple too: “To help people connect to God and each other for the purpose of changing not only their lives but the world.”  We’re going to help you get connected.  Life is not a solo sport.  Relationships are important, particularly a relationship with a loving God.

Before this gets way too long, let me just stop and say I am committed to leading The Gathering to the future, to let her reach her full, God-given potential.  And whatever God wants us to do, we’re going to do together.  We’re going to keep it simple, real, relational; we’re going to let God show up and do something that no mere religious group could ever do.

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