A WORD FROM PASTOR DENNIS
I want to take a moment and share another area in our future. Let me give you a health report first. As most of you know, I had a spinal stroke almost fourteen months ago. Though I have made progress beyond what some of my doctors expected, I battle daily with results of the stroke. I still work hard each week on my motor skills and can tell I am slowly walking better as time goes on. The nerve damage from my waist down remains which affects my balance and gives me discomfort 24 hours a day. Each morning is a struggle to get everything going. By the end of a normal workday, I move from an irritating discomfort to pain. Thankfully, the doctors tell me my upper body is very healthy. My heart, arteries, and other vital areas are way above average. This past October, I had a heart procedure that plugged a small hole. The doctors concluded that this small hole evidently allowed a small blood clot to pass into my spine and blocked the oxygen and blood flow which caused the stroke and paralysis. With that fixed, the doctors predict I will not have another stroke.
Over a year before the stroke, I initiated a conversation with our elders about the future leadership of Fusion. Though I hate to admit it, I am in my 70’s now and have been in ministry since August 1966. For two years the elders and I have talked about the importance of the church never being caught in a leadership void. Many of you know the damage that a gap in leadership can cause a church. God has been exceptionally good to Fusion. Our elders and I take the matter of strong continued leadership very seriously. For those of you who might have been thinking that Dennis is not getting any younger and concerned that the elders might not recognize that, let me assure you we have had hours of conversations and prayer about the future. If I could put it in aviation terms for us, our elders want to make sure we have no emergency landings. Thus, even today, we have a good team on board that could navigate the future. However, the elders and I have agreed that we want a very capable leader ready to take over at the right time.
Billie and I love Fusion. As many of you know, we took a risk to come here. However, when we arrived we knew this would be the end of the line as far as pastoring and we would give Fusion all we had to help be part of God’s plan here. We always want to be part of Fusion. Our elders want me to remain in some role on our staff in the future. However, we know in the future we will need a younger leader to continue the journey of leading Fusion to reach the next generation.
As we look to the future, I want you to know that our elders will be searching for the very best leader we can find to join our team. We cannot tell you the exact timeline for this. We can tell you that it will take some time in the future. We not only want to find a gifted leader and speaker, but we will need a leader with a heart for prayer and discipleship. Then, the elders will want him to be on our team under my leadership for a period of time before he becomes the next lead pastor. We tell you this today so that we can be forthright with you and if you hear that we are seeking or discussing a leader for the future that you are not taken off guard.
With 53 years of pastoring, it appears that God is opening doors for us to be a pastor to pastors around the nation and globally. As I move from the lead pastor’s seat I will be sharing part of my time with my brother Daniel in helping pastors around the nation. As you know, I never plan to retire until Jesus welcomes me home. There is nothing in this world that attracts me. The Gospel, the local church and pastors get me up every morning with excitement. We want to always be part of Fusion. It is our earthly home.
Let me wrap this up, by saying that Fusions’ best days are ahead. From the beginning, Fusion has been a special work from God. If we stay true to our purpose, walk in the unity and humility that we have had for almost six years, then there is no limit to what is ahead. Billie and I want to part of that.
Here’s the bottom-line. This whole announcement today is not a resignation or retreat by any means. It basically an announcement for those who might have been concerned this last year because of the health issues I have had. So, let me make it clear. Based on the wisdom of our elders and my request we will be ready for the future. We are merely looking ahead and will be taking step towards the future as God directs our leadership. I will be leading the charge with every ounce of strength I have for the next few years. We just want you to be assured that the church will always have the best leadership possible as the future comes. If you have any questions, go to the right source. Feel free to ask one of our elders, John, Jim or me.