Sunday, November 20th I made a major announcement concerning the future of Discovery Church. Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going”. As a church we are embarking on a similar journey. On December 11th we will come together with NorthStar Church as one church to continue on with the same mission we’ve been on for the past year: To help people discover life in Jesus Christ. NorthStar and Discovery Church have shared a close friendship since our inception. In late fall of 2010 they graciously prayed over our launch team in one of their services. In that service, Scott Cagle reminded us and the congregation of NorthStar that we really were one church – both on the same team for the Gospel and the Kingdom of God. I had no idea that a year later we would see how true that really was. Not only are we kindred in mission, but also in philosophy and goals. That along with the clear moving of the Holy Spirit has called us to move together as one. For the full public announcement you can watch the message I delivered to Discovery Church. Below is the message I shared with Discovery Sunday and some Frequently Asked Questions about the merger that I hope will provide some more clarity to this decision.
1.) How did this come about?
This move began in the heart of Scott Cagle, Pastor of NorthStar Church. Over the last couple of years Scott and I have become good friends. We share a common bond and heart for ministry. In August he asked to meet with me. During our meeting he shared that he felt the Lord’s leading to approach me about joining the leadership team at NorthStar Church and subsequently joining Discovery Church with NorthStar. Initially I was shocked and flattered, but hadn’t ever considered that something like this would be a possibility. I was confident in my calling to Knoxville and my work with Discovery Church. Frankly we were happy leading this new baby church. Discovery Church was young and small, but on mission here in Knoxville. I told Scott I would pray about it for a couple of weeks. For two weeks Julie and I prayed and sought God’s will as to whether we should even discuss the move or not. In the end I did not have peace to call Scott back and say thanks, but no thanks. This led to several subsequent meetings, prayer, and wise counsel from trusted leaders and friends. A mentor asked me 2 penetrating questions during this time: 1) Brad, do you want what God wants MORE than you want what you want? 2) Set aside what makes logical sense and ask yourself this question: What is the Holy Spirit saying? The answer to the first question was yes. I would be willing to change course and do something different if that is what God wanted me to do. The answer to the second question was that the Holy Spirit was speaking clearly: move.
What do you do when God moves? Hebrews 11:8 has become my call. When God calls you to move, even if you don’t know all the answers, even if you don’t understand – just be obedient.
So over the next several weeks I began sharing this story with many of our leaders and volunteers. There was an overwhelmingly supportive response. My prayer all along had been that God would now move WE, not ME. Of course there has been some bitter-sweet emotions. Sad to end what we had grown to love and enjoy. Fond memories of what God has done over the last year – the lives He has changed forever, the souls won for Christ, the mission churches built, the poor fed and clothed, the numerous times we setup and tore down at Farragut High School – all of which we’ll cherish forever. There has also been an air of excitement about what God is going to do. When God moved Abraham it was to birth a nation, God’s chosen people. When God moves you, He always moves with you. It is exciting to think and dream about what God will do among us now as NorthStar Church.
2.) What will your role be at NorthStar?
I’ll be serving under Scott Cagle as an assistant pastor giving leadership to a number of areas within the church. It’s a privilege to serve with such a great team that is leading NorthStar. God has richly blessed and used NorthStar as a Gospel driven church to impact the lives of many people here in East Tennessee. The growth of the church, expansion of new campuses, services etc requires the constant raising up of servant leaders to carry out the work of the ministry in the spirit of Ephesians 4. My primary task will be the raising up and discipling leaders who can serve on ministry teams, as LifeGroup leaders etc. Additionally I will help with the teaching/preaching ministry.
3.) How will I be able to get involved?
There is a reasonable fear that many will have with this transition. How will I get involved in the new environment? Will I be able to serve like I do at Discovery Church? The answer is simple. I’ll help get you connected. One of my primary responsibilities will be to help people serve in their area of calling and passion. You won’t be left out, I promise! The opportunities are almost endless!
4.) Can we ask questions, and get to know Scott Cagle and the other pastors at NorthStar better?
Absolutely. On Monday, November 28th we’re having an informal get together at NorthStar Church’s Sherrill Campus. This will be a great opportunity for you to hear from me and Scott together at the same time. Additionally you can ask questions, get to meet some of the other great people of NorthStar.
5.) When is the last Discovery Church worship service at Farragut High School?
Sunday, December 4th we’ll have a celebration service looking back and remembering what God has done this year. We’ll also be celebrating what is to come! We will officially become a part of NorthStar Church on December, 11th 2011.