It's always been hard
Our church grew up yesterday. We took a huge step toward the ranks of churches that have sacrificed their comfort for the sake of the mission of God - and it was HARD. I've worked very hard not to disappoint you (GCC-Sterling) over the last several years (sometimes too much), but in this matter I don't have a choice. It is either disappoint you for a time, or stand obstinently against Jesus who is drawing us to go, which would would stand in direct opposition to everything that we have talked about these 4 years.
Today Pastor Brett and Pastor Jim both put their gifting on display and made obvious why I have chosen to serve under them for so many years, and why I have been reluctant to go. I was overjoyed when you responded to Pastor Eddy and Pastor Jermaine with enthusiastic applause. They are incredible men who will take us far. Your applause and acceptance of them moved me to tears because it helped me to know that everything is going to be OK.
While this is a new feeling for us as a church, it's not the first time that it was hard for a church to send it's leadership to a new place. Acts 20:17-38 tells the story of Pauls farewell to the church at Ephesus. It is an account filled with tears and grief, and well worth taking a couple minutes to read. If you do, I expect that you will find that church-planting and sending leaders has always been hard - even for the early church. While our circumstances are much different, we can now experience in a small way the cost of sending that has been shared by churches throughout the generations.
Our story is different in at least two ways - I'm not leaving right away, and we're going to see each other again.
As I prepare to make this transition, my prayer is also for your transition. I pray that you would find comfort and hope not just for hopes sake, but so that you may understand the good work that God still has for you to accomplish here in Virginia. In the words of the Apostle Paul:
"...may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word." ~2 Thessalonians 16,17