Hello Church Family,
If you weren’t at one of our worship services yesterday, you missed some important news that I want to update you with today. An email like this is a mixed bag for me – I feel a mixture of excitement and celebration on one hand, while feeling sadness on the other. I can only assume that many of you will feel the same as I let you know about the future transition of two of our staff members, Michael and Chelsea Bayne. This summer, Michael and Chelsea will embark upon a new chapter in their lives as they leave Clarksville to start a new church in Greenville, South Carolina.
Many of us have experienced first-hand the wisdom, leadership, care, and grace that Michael and Chelsea have given so freely to our church for the past 10 years. They are both gifted pastors and leaders. While I selfishly would love to serve with them at Grace for the next 10 years, they are taking the courageous step to create something new. I’m excited for what God is going to do in and through their courage. And I’m excited that we, as a church family, will get to partner with Michael and Chelsea in this important work. But I’m also sad to see them go.
Transitions and change are rarely easy. Michael and Chelsea are such an important part of our church’s story. They will both leave tremendous gaps in our church family and will be deeply missed. But even as we miss them, I hope we can also see the truly good this is. Whatever sadness we feel about their leaving, we can also feel great joy in knowing that they are going to carry out the very real work of what Jesus told his followers to do: to go into the world and make disciples. Their new work is valuable, needed, and something that brings God a lot of glory.
So, what comes next? Here are a few details to know:
- Michael and Chelsea are not leaving anytime soon.
Michael and Chelsea have been exploring this call to start a church for several months up this point. I, along with the Elders, have walked closely together with them and are in full support of their decision. Part of that support means that Michael and Chelsea are not merely leaving Grace. We are sending them. This means that they will both continue to serve Grace through May as we also serve them by assisting in their pre-launch process.
- We are supporting Michael and Chelsea in their new work.
Grace began as a new church, or a “church plant.” In short, it is in our DNA to create new places where people can come and experience the life-changing message of God’s redeeming love. We are committed to partnering with Michael and Chelsea through whatever help we can provide, including financial support. And even after Michael and Chelsea officially leave our staff, we will continue to partner with and support their work in Greenville.
In many ways, Grace wouldn’t be what we are without Michael and Chelsea. They have served faithfully for years here, in many seen and unseen ways. We love them – I love them. And we will miss them. Let’s be sure to take the next few months to love them especially well as we prepare to send them into their next assignment within God’s call for their lives.
And, lastly, I’m sure that many of you have more questions that can’t be answered in an email like this. I want to encourage you to come to us and ask them. We are happy to share more about this process and what is coming next for Michael, Chelsea, and our church’s story. Please feel free to get in touch with any of us for more information.
With many blessings,