It is with a very real sense of grief and an equally strong sense of excitement and calling that I resign my post as Associate Pastor at Kingsland Baptist Church to become the Senior Pastor at Bay Area First Baptist Church in League City, Texas.
For years now I have known that God would one day call me to serve in a lead pastor role within the local church. Until now, it has simply not been time. About eight months ago, Bay Area First Baptist contacted me after my former pastor suggested they call. In the beginning Angela and I had little clarity as to God’s plan in all of this. As we began to talk with their search team we went on a quest to know the heart of God. There were many God moments along the way that solidified our understanding of God’s call but let me share just three:
A Day of Prayer in April– In the beginning of April I took a day of prayer away from work as is my monthly habit. I decided to drive down to Bay Area First Baptist Church after submitting my resume for their consideration. I parked in their parking lot and spent time in the Word and in prayer. As I was praying for the Lord to bring these people a Pastor (not necessarily me) he impressed on me that they were like sheep without a shepherd. For the first time I felt a deep sense of compassion for them. I prayed longer and harder. I told God that if He wanted me to pastor this church I would gladly follow Him in that call. I felt as if the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear, “Look around. No one else is in the parking lot praying for these people. You are the pastor.” I drove home excited but hesitant trying to separate the voice of God from my own thoughts.
The Call at Rephidim– In May, God orchestrated time and money for me to travel in Egypt, Israel, and Jordan studying the Scriptures, seeking him, and literally walking the path of Moses from Egypt to the Promised Land. I hiked to a place called Rephidim located in the Sinai desert. I studied Exodus 17:8-16 on location. It is the story of Moses lifting his hands to the Lord assisted by Aaron and Hur as Joshua battled the Amalekites in the valley below. As Moses’ hands extended to the Lord, Joshua won the battle. Moses built an altar called the Lord is my Banner saying, “A right hand on the throne of God.” In that place, as I studied the biblical account, the Lord spoke to me in a way that deeply impressed my soul. The Lord reminded me that Kingsland is not my banner; that “Milestones” is not my banner, but instead The LORD is my banner. I felt challenged to stay close to the Lord and lift his banner high, no matter the cost because a very real battle is waging. Truly, I laid Kingsland and legacy milestones on the altar called “The LORD is my Banner” that day. I sensed this experience was hugely important as I hiked down the mountain. I just did not know how important.
When I got home, we continued in the process with Bay Area but I still had no clarity in my mind. On August 16 the search team at Bay Area called me and said, “We believe God is calling you to be our pastor at Bay Area First Baptist.” I told them I needed time to pray. Angela and I began to pray and fast so that we could clearly hear from the Lord. I prayed until September 30.
An Email from God– During our time of prayer and fasting, I studied the book of Ecclesiastes. “Everything is meaningless.” This is a strange book to study in the midst of this but God used it. In Ecclesiastes 3:14 it says, “I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it.” In a prayer time I begged God to let me be apart of what he is doing because it will endure. I don’t want to waste my life. The Holy Spirit prompted me to email Bay Area and ask what God is doing there that is not “man made.” I sent the email and received a lengthy reply. It was the last sentence of the email that I am convinced is an email from my Father in Heaven. It said,
“The situation is critical but the opportunity is ripe. The people are willing to follow a banner if only someone will raise it. Brian, we honestly believe you are the man to raise God’s banner and lead our church.”
As I read that sentence, I leaned back in my chair and wept knowing that God had spoken to me at Rephidim in May so that I could hear his call in September. The man who sent the email had no idea of my experience at Rephidim. I called the search team on September 30 and agreed with them that God is calling me to be their pastor.
I have only shared a bit of the story. It is for these reasons and others that I know I would be disobedient to God if I stayed at Kingsland. I also know that God is doing something at Bay Area First Baptist Church that will endure forever and he is inviting me to be a part of it. So, I must go, I get to go, and I am honored to serve.
Kingsland is a blessing in our lives that we cherish. I am a better man, husband, and father because of the time I have been with you. I have grown in my understanding of ministry here and have been given every freedom to follow hard after God and lead others to do the same. God has used Kingsland to expand my influence in the Kingdom for his namesake throughout the generations. I will be forever grateful for your love, generosity, and follow-ship as we have journeyed together. I pray that our time together has imprinted your home in ways unimaginable to mine for the sake of the Kingdom. May God bless Kingsland in the days ahead and may you go farther in your quest to Love God, Love People, and Equip the Generations… one home at a time. The Haynes family loves you and will miss you dearly.
Brian Haynes (Dt.6:4-9)