A community church in North Andover, Massachusetts

Out Of My Mind

How good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!

Psalm 133:1

First, I just want to say “Hello.” It’s a joy to be with the people of First-Calvary Baptist Church as together we begin this significant time of transition.

The Bible tells many stories of people who found themselves “in the middle” and at first they may have experienced fear and confusion, but when they kept their eyes on God, he was able to use the time to their advantage and his glory. The Exodus, the Babylonian captivity, and even the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt are three examples.

Of course, when we look at Bible stories, we’re inclined to say, “That’s all well and good and it’s great that they fared so well. But this is today and we haven’t had to seek a pastor for 15 years. We are the ones for whom the road is obscure, the way is new and maybe dangerous.”

The wonderful good news is that God knows exactly what we are experiencing, exactly what our fears may be, exactly the anxieties we face. In fact, if Isaiah’s observation is accurate, God knows what’s in our hearts before we do.

Perhaps even more important, God knows his plans for First-Calvary Baptist. The really neat thing is all we need to do is keep our eyes on God. Will we have fears and doubts? Probably. Will we wish God’s plan for us would become clear more quickly? Probably. Will we be tempted to just give up? Probably. Eyes forward!

I would only encourage everyone to spend as much time in prayer for the search process, the Search Committee, the church leadership, for the church itself and for each other. God has walked with this congregation for many decades and will undoubtedly continue to do so for decades to come.

Thank you for this opportunity to serve you and God.


Rev. Rob Branch