At this time ten years ago, Angie and I were just beginning to dream and plan for the planting of Grace Hills Church. We had walked through some brokenness and had found within our staff and small group communities at Saddleback Church a great deal of healing. It was out of that healing process that the vision for Grace Hills was born.
In July of 2011, we gathered our first few dozen people in an office space in Bentonville. We would move to a classroom, a hotel meeting room, and then two movie theaters before finally having a space to call our own.
Those first few years are some of the sweetest days our family has enjoyed. They were filled with trying new things, innovating, getting it wrong, cleaning up messes, and figuring things out as we went.
In 2019, we finally purchased and moved into our current building. That was a sweet moment and a sweet year. Then 2020 came in like a wrecking ball and things became difficult. And not just for me, but for so many of my friends in ministry, the last twelve to fifteen months have been some of the hardest days of our lives.
I must acknowledge that over the course of a decade, people change. Churches change. I’ve changed. And we’ve grown weary. I would even say we’ve been depleted.
Six months ago, we began to pray for God to show us what was next and to make it clear to us if he was releasing us from our present ministry roles. Over the last month, the Spirit has made it clear to our hearts that it’s time.
It’s time to sit down for a bit and rest and heal. It’s time for Grace Hills to be led by a new Pastor with a fresh vision and healthy energy. It’s time for us to turn from one chapter of our lives to another.
So Sunday, April 25, 2021, will be my final message as Grace Hills’ Lead Pastor. Angie and I are leaving our dear church family in the hands of those whom God has raised up for the task.
We don’t know all that is next yet. Thus far in my twenty-five years of vocational ministry, I’ve only left a position to move into another. For the first time, we’re going to sit and wait and breathe before re-engaging.
Here’s what I know for sure. God doesn’t ever give up. He loved the people of this sin-scarred world so much that he gave us the gift of his Son, Jesus, whose teachings have changed the world, whose death has saved the world, whose resurrection has restored hope to the world, and whose enthronement as King guarantees us God will absolutely finish the mission of redeeming and reconciling all that is lost to himself.
Whatever may be next, we want to step into it with hope and faith. We want to love people well for Jesus’ sake. And we’ll trust him to show us how one step at a time.
Grace Hills Church, we love you more than you could know!
Brandon, Angie, Ella, Sam, and Drew Cox