Dear Blackhawk Family,
I am writing to you today with a heartfelt tension. I am announcing that the Lord has led me and my family to accept the call to pastor my former home church in Georgia, Midway Church. While this is not and will not be final or official until the church votes to affirm how the Lord has led the leadership there on March 13, I and your elders want all of you to know ahead of time how the Lord has led.
This decision has been most challenging for Jessica and me because we deeply love our Blackhawk family. God called us and you have given us a home here in Fort Wayne. We have had no plans to leave and saw ourselves here for many years to come. But as I have taught frequently and learned even through how the Lord brought us here, God’s plans are always better than ours! Through the clear stirring of God, our dear friends in Georgia contacted us so we earnestly prayed. As we did, it quickly became clear that this was not just church family from our home state asking something of us, but the Lord that was calling. This decision is emotionally and relationally conflicting, but spiritually we have complete peace and clarity that this is God’s call on our lives. We would never desire to hurt our family at Blackhawk in any way, but the surest way to do so would be neglecting to follow the clear leading of the Lord.
I truly thank God for each of you and for our 5+ years of ministry together. Since 2016, we have seen God do “exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). That was the verse we read on August 21, 2016, when our journey together had just begun. Since then, we have seen God anoint and multiply our efforts through….
Hundreds of people giving their lives to Jesus, 225+ baptisms, 50+ mission partners locally and globally, a robust online ministry, a growingly diverse congregation that is reaching our community, a deeply rooted culture of presenting the Gospel and reaching the lost, a discipleship journey for equipping disciples, dozens of life groups launched, millions of dollars generously given to missions and to building/upgrading what is now the most excellent facility infrastructure in our church’s history, becoming completely debt free with financial stability, healthy infrastructure in our church governance and foundational documents, church and school synergy, stellar staff, clear vision for the future, and endless opportunities to #LightTheOneFive with an Acts 1:8 strategy This list could go on and on and for it all, I thank God, the giver of all growth (1 Corinthians 3:6). These wins and accomplishments are truly remarkable, but God is JUST GETTING STARTED!
Since God is calling me to another assignment, that means that He has already been raising up someone else to step in to lead at Blackhawk. He used me to build on an already storied legacy of ministry. Now we get to discover who He has already chosen to take that baton and build even further on these foundations we have laid together.
Blackhawk is God’s church. He will continue to provide and guide just as He has for over 50 years. It has never been about one person, leader, or personality at Blackhawk. Our elders, pastors, staff, and leadership teams are equipped and ready to lead through this upcoming season of discovering what the Lord has in store for us next. We have been proactively working together already and will share more about what a transition looks like following March 13. I will be around to help us effectively step into that transition and look forward to sharing more with you about this process soon.
You can be assured that I will follow and champion our church body at Blackhawk for the rest of my life. We are family! I cannot wait to see who God will place in this role and to celebrate all that you will together accomplish for the Kingdom. We are poised and ready for God-sized dreams, vision, and Ephesians 3:20 ministry to both continue and multiply.
Our mission to make disciples according to the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 28 remains the same. Our vision to #LightTheOneFive locally and globally as we develop and send out ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5) remains the same. Our vision of raising up 1,500 ambassadors to reach people far from God but close to them leading up to our 60th anniversary as a church is still God’s vision for His church. It is a vision given not just to me as an individual leader, but one given to a collective of unified leaders and for our entire church body. I encourage and challenge you to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, stay on course and on mission, reach the lost, care for the marginalized and hurting, grow in your faith, serve with all your heart, give generously, love loudly, make disciples.
As Paul tearfully spoke to the leaders in Ephesus upon his departure from them as recorded in Acts 20:17-38, I share his heart in v. 32: “I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.”
While unlike Paul, I DO plan to see your faces again this side of Heaven, I share in his sentiment of entrusting you to the Lord and His great grace that is always sufficient. Our best days are always ahead as we continue to fix our eyes on Jesus. I love you, church family.
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Kevin Rivers