Our family is embarking on a new journey. We will be leaving Clements Baptist to begin a new chapter in life and ministry at Willowbrook Baptist Church in Huntsville near the end of this month. Below is what I tearfully shared with our church family yesterday.
Jan. 12th 2014
Mandy and I accepted God’s call to ministry here at CBC after heartbreak. In 2006, we had planned on moving to Argentina and attend a Bilingual Bible institution called Word of Life for at least a year. But God shut that door and it was a very difficult thing for us. After that God saw fit to give us an opportunity here with vocational ministry in 2008. Since then we have known this is where we should be. Without a doubt. And if He ever chose to move us from this place he would.
So, it is bittersweet news that Mandy and I have for you today. After much prayer over the past several months (since the late summer) we must let you know that the time has come for us to answer the call of God in leaving Clements as your pastor of students, college and young singles. God has led us to begin a new chapter in the life of our family and in ministry at Willowbrook in Huntsville as their High School Minister. After many meetings and interviews with their pastor, staff and leadership I accepted this position from them last month. This past Sunday we had a chance to meet their church family and that night they voted us onto their church staff unanimously.
Mandy and I would like you to know that this new position is not something we went looking for. We have never before desired to leave this sweet fellowship at Clements. However, the Lord laid it before us. There is no reason for us to leave, only the call of God on our lives to do so. And that’s all it takes. We were perfectly happy and overjoyed with ministering here at Clements with great people to great people. We also knew for certain this was where God had planted us for nearly 12 years as husband and wife and the last 6 years for me as a staff member. We have always prayed that we would be where God would have us. And He would now have us at Willowbrook.
As you know, God has a way of taking our plans and intentions and turning them upside down if he deems it fit for our good, for His purposes and for His glory. After praying hard, we knew, without a doubt, God wanted to close this chapter in our lives and open up a new one. A fresh one. One in a different place, with different people but with the same focus: ministering the gospel of Jesus Christ in the lives of young people. We are excited about the future there, but sad we have to leave this faith family. We are not doing anything that we don’t constantly challenge our students to do: Give God our “yes” no matter where he calls us, even if it’s to very different and unexpected places.
As I’ve told you before, we are products of this ministry at Clements. We were saved here, we met here, we married here and we are raising kids here. Now it’s time to leave here. But let us say we are so very proud to have been a part of God’s work here from the first day until the present. Anything good you can say about us is because of you, this church, and our Lord. We are the output of this great church’s input.
With that said, two weeks from today, January 26th, will be my last Sunday here at Clements. The following day will be my first day at Willowbrook.
To our parents: We couldn’t have ministered without your love and support. Thank you.
To all our church family, deacons, staff, ministry leaders, parents of students, Sunday school teachers and office assistants: We are forever grateful for you for your ministry to our family, especially our children.
To Pastor Tim: I am forever indebted to you for giving me this opportunity. For seeing something in me I didn’t even see in myself.
To our students, collegiates and young singles: You all hold a special place in our hearts. Hold on to Jesus tightly. Keep ministering the gospel relentlessly. Love others dearly. Share your faith passionately.
We love you all!
Justin and Mandy Bedingfield