Pastor Cindy Andrews-Looper, who we first profiled back in 2007, is resigning from the church she helped found. In a message to parishioners Pastor Cindy explained her decision to leave Holy Trinity and announced her new venture, a website called www.igniteursoulnow.com.
Read the entire message below:
My dear brothers and sisters of Holy Trinity,
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
As many of you know, I have been on sabbatical for a little over two months. In my time away, I have spent extended time in solitude with God. I have gotten incredibly close to God …closer, I believe, than I have ever been. The new light and hope that God has infused in my spirit is incredibly life-giving. In the closeness with God, He has begun to reveal things to me that I could not hear before. These messages have to do with my future and His unique plans for me. You have heard me quote Jeremiah 29:11 often in sermons …"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."
There have been times throughout my life, since 1992, in which God has brought this verse to the forefront of my spirit. In my time away, God once again got my attention. As in times past, I have wrestled with God. Sometimes God calls us to do things that we really don't want to do. But we know that we will truly have no peace until we surrender and obey. And, it is in this place of surrender and obedience that I write you today.
I don't know the specifics of the next chapter of my life. But, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God is calling me to a new chapter; a chapter that uses my gifts of speaking, writing, comedy and my newfound gifts of painting and photography to communicate God's abundant love for every soul alive. Since I have surrendered to what I feel God is calling me to, I have had amazing peace in my spirit. And, when I quote Jeremiah 29:11, I quote it with great conviction once again knowing that God, indeed, has a plan!
I share all this with you because I know over the past 2-3 weeks, you have wondered what in the world is going on. You have wondered why I have not returned. You have wondered if someone is keeping me away. Let me say lovingly, that it has been the Holy Spirit keeping me focused on God and on the things He is calling me to do with my future. The vestry and leadership have been waiting on me to give them an answer about my future plans. And, this week, I met with the vestry and personnel committee to share what I feel God is calling me to do.
This week I issued my resignation to the vestry and personnel committee as Senior Pastor of Holy Trinity Community Church. Honestly, this decision was probably the most difficult I have had to make in the last 18 years of my life. And, that is why it has taken me time to surrender and find peace with God. I can't begin to tell you how I have labored and prayed over this decision. I have tossed and turned in my bed at night, I have lost my appetite, I have carried a heavy weight in my soul … until I surrendered to God's call. When I accepted what God was putting in my mind and spirit, an incredible peace came over me. I slept like a baby and my appetite has returned.
God has given me a confidence and hope that He has a unique plan for my future. But, He is calling me to a huge step of faith. He is calling me to step out into the unknown with Him. He is calling me to release my responsibilities at the church I birthed. As the "spiritual mother" of this congregation, it has been hard to let go and entrust you to the grace and care of God. But, in my soul, I know that is the best and safest place for you.
You see, my brothers & sisters, just as God has plans for me moving forward … He also has plans for you. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."
As you read this, you have a variety of responses available to you. You can get upset and become angry with me, the leadership and/or staff, or even God for what feels like a major disruption. OR … you can trust, just as I have had to trust, that there is a divine plan being revealed that is for my best and your best. You can bow at the foot of the cross, with your tears and sadness, with your joys and celebrations and know that … a new and incredibly exciting future lies before you and before me. You can choose to hold hands and to hold each other, taking one small step at a time into your future. You can know that God has ordained this time for you and for me. There is a new chapter being revealed to both of us.
My peace has come in surrendering to God's plan. And, I believe your peace and hope will be found when you do the same.
I know many of you have been worried about me. Let me assure you that I am truly ok. Let me assure you that I am still in Nashville and will be in ministry in a new capacity. I feel the form and medium of my ministry will be changing. I have created a website and am starting to write, travel and speak. For several years, I have felt God leading me to write a book. In my time away, God confirmed this again. This is a step of faith in the next chapter of my life.
The significant blessings in my life have come when I have been willing to boldly obey God's direction. It seems the more difficult the challenge, the greater blessing that followed my obedience. I am trusting God to do the mighty work in my life that He has done in the past. And, my dear brothers & sisters, I ask you to do the same.
Please don't abandon this church family that has brought you so much hope and peace. Please keep coming and inviting your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers who don't have a church home. Please step up and volunteer. The staff and leadership are going to need new leaders and support for ministries moving forward. This church … Holy Trinity Community Church … will die without your presence and support. I ask you, … no, I beg you, … to please not abandon this amazing bastion of hope. I have invested 18 years of my life working alongside you in building this congregation into a viable mainline church whose arms are open to everyone who walks in the doors. Please keep her strong and healthy so that many other souls may find the peace that you enjoy.
Will things be different without my presence? Certainly. It is to be expected. But, let me remind you that different is not bad … it is just different. Please don't abandon Holy Trinity to attend another church that can, in no way form or fashion, offer what she offers to those who are broken and hurt. Please … give … of your time, your talents, and your treasures (yes, that would be your money). I won't be around to remind you of this important stewardship piece. But, for those of you who know and heed this truth, you will find abundant blessings from the unlimited Source of God.
I do hope you will stay in touch with me. My website is … www.igniteursoulnow.com
It is only in the beginning stages, but is up on the web. If you would like to be on the email list for this new ministry, please respond to this email and I will make sure to include you … or you may email me at: … firstname.lastname@example.org
My brothers & sisters, I love you so very much. I am lifting you in prayer. I thank you, sincerely, for your love and grace in the last 18 years.
I hope you are planning on attending the Homecoming Service this coming Sunday, October 5th at 11:00 A.M. where we will celebrate our 18 years in ministry. I will be there worshipping with you. I can't wait to see you and share my love with you.
Let me remind you that someday we will all be in heaven together and know that we were a part of an amazing spiritual movement and living organism known as Holy Trinity Community Church. We will meet people whose lives were touched by her ministry and give thanks that a soul found Jesus Christ because of us.
I leave you with the verse that God has given me for the next part of my journey: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
Abundant blessings, love, grace and peace to you,
graphic via the Tennessean