I have so much to say, and it’ll be hard to say it all here.
Our study in Philippians has been a sweet reminder for me personally. Each time the apostle Paul uses the word “joy” to describe his feelings for his favorite church, as I’ve studied those passages, I’m thinking, “Yes, that’s exactly how I feel about Brook Hills!” It’s such a joy to serve as your pastor. You all are family.
We’ve got a big decision in front of us regarding our campus development plan and, relatedly, our ministry budget for next year. In different places, I’ve shared some of my excitement about what we could be potentially undertaking as a church. I won’t go back through all of that here since there are videos streaming right now in the lobby and online (brookhills.org/campus) where you can hear it.
In Philippians 1, the letter we’ve been studying together, the apostle Paul writes about his “hope and expectation.” I love that language. He hopes, but he also expects. And his “expectation” rings with confidence, not in the greatness of Philippi, but confidence in the grace of God—a story of grace that had already begun and a story of grace that God will keep writing. Paul is confident that God will continue His good work through the imperfect but thoroughly Jesus-fixated community of Christ-followers. Here too, God has begun a good work, and because He is gracious, He will continue His good work in us and through us. Hope for it and expect it, friends.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. As a church considering a project like this, if there’s excitement, let it be because we can see on-campus small groups have been a life-giving ministry. Let it be because we can see the intentional approach we take to BH Kids ministry is effectively coming alongside Christian parents to fill up kids’ hearts with love for Jesus. If there’s concern about the size of the investment, I get that too. If there’s concern, let it be because we want to make sure we don’t lose sight of the urgency of getting the gospel to the nations.
Brook Hills, I don’t think we’ve been presented with an either/or decision—i.e., either we continue to be passionate about mission, or we undertake the proposed campus development plan. If a church campus can have value for strengthening believers, and our history bears that out, I believe we can do both. We can invest in ministry to our members, on (and from!) our campus, and continue to give just like we always have to the cause of gospel advance in Birmingham and among the nations. That’s the reason I approach this new possibility with a ready heart. Yes, there are anxious thoughts too, since, really, any outcome with respect to this decision will require faith. But again, should the Lord lead us as a church to step forward into this project, I’m ready. There is no scarcity of resources to do anything and everything God will call us to do.
The spaces we’re talking about converting from temporary to permanent are spaces not just where people are being blessed, but where something is being built. You look into one of these rooms, Lord willing, two years from now, and what will you see? Children (upstairs) hearing the Word in ways that stick to their minds and, by the help of the Spirit, their hearts. Adults (downstairs) encouraging one another. In one room, people are praying together. In another, someone is teaching the Word. In another, there’s evangelism training—a white board with three circles on it. GriefShare. DivorceCare. Life Courses. Recovery groups. Things that make us stronger stand to strengthen our mission. The depth of the roots of the local church enables the canopy to reach farther out and offer more shade to the world without being blown over.
It’s a huge decision for us. I know you’ve been praying. Thank you! I’m trusting the Lord is going to speak to us through the process and lead us where He wants us to go. I’m all in. May Jesus be greatly glorified!