I wanted to post here a letter written by our pastor, Al Gilbert, to the congregation of Calvary Baptist Church.
Dear Calvary Family:
The purpose of this letter is to inform you that I am accepting a position at the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and will soon be leaving Calvary. By mid-September, I will begin a new assignment in Atlanta as the Executive Director of Love Loud, the ministry evangelism arm of the North American Mission Board.
Calvary is a special place and it has been a great honor to serve God with you. You have loved and encouraged us and will always have a special place in our hearts. This has been a very difficult decision for us, but we have seen God’s hand opening a door for ministry. Most of you are aware of the decline in KK’s parents’ health. Her mom, who has Alzheimer’s, fell and broke her hip right before Thanksgiving. KK has needed to spend most of her time in Atlanta since then. Many things we have envisioned for our role in Calvary’s ministry are not possible with her needing to be in Atlanta. We have continuously cried out to God for wisdom and direction.
Dr. Kevin Ezell, President of NAMB, has repeatedly asked me to join his team. While praying over how to meet KK’s parents’ needs, I realized God is leading us to a place where KK can care for her parents and I can continue to influence the people of God to be on mission. The headquarters of the NAMB is in Atlanta, only minutes from KK’s parents’ home. Dr. Ezell challenged me with an assignment matching my heart…
The best way to explain the scope of my new assignment is to think about “Love:Winston-Salem” and our refugee ministry to the Karenni people group. I have been asked to help Southern Baptists learn how to multiply ministries like these to reach their cities in the South and find ways to reach our neglected neighbors in the North and West. We will challenge Southern Baptists to align Mercy Ministries with Missional Living throughout North America.
Timing and Next Steps
Before sending this letter I met with the staff and deacons, and am grateful for their encouragement and prayers as we begin a major transition. Our deacons have started a process to find God’s man to be the next pastor of Calvary. Please pray for them and expect a progress report at our multi-campus celebration on August 31, at 6:30 pm in our central campus worship center. We will have plenty of time to say our good-byes. I look forward to sharing these next few weeks with you before Calvary commissions me to be your missionary to North America.
The past several days have been filled with a lot of emotions and I’m sure there are more emotions to come for all who know and love Al and KK, and our church. I hope that in the coming days we will all be diligent to pray for Al and KK as they transition as well as for the church and its staff.