Derailed But Not Destroyed (2 Cor. 4:8-9)
In case some of you may not have heard, Pastor Bryan has stepped down as Pastor of LifeSpring Christian Church. The last six months have been difficult on everyone.  It’s been difficult on me and Deb, difficult on our LifeSpring family, and difficult on Bryan and Bethany and their family. None of us expected the exodus of so many families, so many gifted and talented people. And, no one really expected the transition to end like this… especially me. Somewhere along the line, the transition came off the rails. And, as with any derailment, people got hurt.
We can analyze the derailment. We can look at the conductors (past and present), the rail system, or the individual cars to try to pinpoint the cause. One thing is certain… we’ve all made mistakes.  We’ve said things we shouldn’t have, shared things that were wiser unshared, and made decisions that left people feeling vulnerable, uncared for and unheard. In the end, we are all grieving over the loss of what was or the loss of what could be. But I do not believe this is the last chapter for LifeSpring Christian Church.
In chapter 37 of Ezekiel, the prophet is taken to a valley of dry bones.  The Lord asks Ezekiel, “Can these bones live again?”  His very wise response was, “You know, Lord!”  In his flesh, Ezekiel probably had a hard time believing old, dried-up bones could actually live. But God told Ezekiel to preach or prophesy to those bones. The earth began to quake. The bones connected to one another. Muscle, sinew and skin formed around those dead bones… but they were still dead!  But in an instant, the breath of God came, the wind of the Holy Spirit blew over those dead bodies and they lived!  But what started the whole process? 
It was Ezekiel’s obedience! He could have argued with God. He could have doubted God. But, all he did was obey God… and God did the rest. That is what Deb and I are committed to do.  We just want to obey His voice and stand back and watch God restore this church that we love. That is why I (with Deb's full support) have decided to step back in as Lead Pastor of LifeSpring Christian Church. 
I know some of the families that left may not feel comfortable coming back. I don’t have another 20 years to give to the church, but this is what Deb and I can promise you.  We will be here for the next 3-4 years.  That is when my term as Bishop expires. I cannot promise you anything beyond.  But in those three to four years, I will help rebuild LifeSpring into the church God desires it to be. And, I will pray, search, and seek out one who could take the reins for the next decade or two.
For all you dear friends who have left the church, I simply ask you to pray and seek God about returning to LifeSpring. My immediate goal is to stabilize the church and bring healing.  Then, we can move forward toward some of the goals and dreams I see for this church. I believe there are great things ahead and I hope you will be part of it. One thing I ask, please do not let me be the reason you come back. If you return, I want it to be because you feel God is calling you to be part of LifeSpring 2.0. I'm not looking for decisions or commitments from you this coming Sunday. I just want you to hear our hearts.
I invite everyone to join me on Jan. 7th, the first Sunday of 2024. This will be a “family meeting” where we will discuss vision and plans. It will not be live streamed because I want to talk to you all face to face. This will be the time for you to ask your questions because I know I am asking a lot of you. In the mean time, please be praying. How Deb and I covet your prayers. I also ask for you to lift up Bryan and Bethany and their family. They need your love and prayers now too in great measure.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me personally. Hope to see you next Sunday.
Love you all!
Pastor Dale & Debi