Letter from Pastor Thomas

June 2, 2024

Church Family,

Acts 17:26 tells us it is God who appoints the times and places that we live and move and have our being. Proverbs 19:21 makes it even clearer that though there are many plans and purposes in man’s heart, the Lord’s will prevails. Mindful of both these precepts and the providence of God, I want to share a little more information about how God is at work in our midst.

Alan Raughton is moving to the updated position of Care and Assimilation Pastor. Assimilation might sound like a fancy word—I admit—but it refers to the needed work of guiding people into membership and encouraging current members to become more connected. Alan brings decades of experience in connecting people to the mission of God in the local church. I could not be happier about Alan serving as the new point person for care at the church. Alan will develop and oversee systems and processes to improve not only the way we provide care but also the important work of onboarding new members into the mission of the church. We’ll talk about this a little more in The Gathering on Sunday, June 23, and in the months ahead.

With the unanimous support of the Personnel Committee, Trustees, and his screening/interview committee, I’m thrilled to recommend Bryan Barley as our new Discipleship Pastor. Bryan possesses dynamic leadership experiences in startups and pioneering settings. Bryan preached at Nashville First twice in February during the bridge interim season. Those sermons are available for viewing on our website and social media feeds. Click here to view Bryan’s resume. He will engage with the Deacons on Monday night and with our First Adults on Wednesday at Midday—if you are part of those groups, please make plans to attend if able.

Finally, Caleb Cummings, our Minister to Students and Recreation, shared with us this morning how the Lord is leading his family to be part of a new work in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. While I personally resisted the urge to give a mighty War Eagle! in response to this news, I am happy for Caleb and his family. Their gain will be our loss. Click here to read a letter from Caleb to the congregation.

No doubt, this news brings us to the important consideration of “who is doing what.” With that, here’s a summary of where we are and where we can go in the days ahead:

  • Alan Raughton is serving as Care and Assimilation Pastor.
  • Caleb will continue to serve as Minister to Students and Recreation until July 13.
  • We’ll vote on Bryan Barley to become our next Discipleship Pastor at the Gathering on June 23. If approved, Bryan will work in a part-time capacity beginning July 1 and serve as interim Student Minister while we organize a search. He will join our team full-time this Fall.
  • I will oversee discipleship functions during the interim.
  • We’ll work expeditiously to find our next Student Minister as soon as in the Fall if possible.

Let me conclude where we began: God is in control, and He is good. Let’s commit to praying for the families involved here and the ministries represented. Let’s commit to pursuing new depths of love and unity with one another as well. It seems like the winds of the Spirit are beginning to prevail among us. It is time to work together to hoist the sails as we prepare for the adventure ahead.

With love.


Thomas West