Today we announced that we are leaving Court Drive. It was the hardest day I have had the last 2 years. It is bittersweet, but rather than goodbye, maybe it is better to be viewed as a see you around. Choosing to leave a place where you are welcomed and feel loved with freedom to minister in your calling is hard. Having leadership who backs you and is seeking to follow God to the best of their abilities is rough.
Court Drive will always hold a special place in our hearts. Our daughter was born here. Our son grew here and made his first best friend. We made family, though not by blood, that we hope to never lose. I grew as a Christian, a husband, a father, a person, a leader, a minister, and practically any other possible way while here at Court Drive. While we will no longer be in Palestine with the title of “Youth Pastor/Minister,” we will always be a phone call away and do not want this to be the end of relationships.
As hard as this decision has been for us as a family and for me personally, this is where we feel God leading our family for our future. Being near our parents and grandparents with our kids is something that Taylor and I cherish from our childhood and want our kids to have as well. Taylor will be able to finish school close by so she can live out her calling as a nurse.
While this is a decision we have been wrestling for a few months, it became clear moving into the summer that this was where we were being led. The youth ministry will be in amazing hands and hearts of the parents and young adults who have been helping me minister these last 2 years. I feel if anything the ministry will only continue to thrive in our absence.
I want our family in Palestine to know how hard this is for us to do because of how much you all mean to us. We will be moving out of our house August 25th, but our leaving as I mentioned is not the end of the road. With all the problems social media and technology can provide, it also has beauties such as the fact that this means we can stay in contact. We hope to be in your prayers in our next journey as a family as Court Drive will be in ours without a doubt.
Writing this brings tears to my eyes, it is not easy by any means. But as a wise person told me the other day when we spoke, “because it is hard means it was good.” I hope our 2 years together was as good for you in your walk with Christ and friendship with us as it has been for us. If God can work through Paul’s imprisonment, through Pharaoh’s hardened heart, and through a talking donkey, he will definitely continue to work through the godly men and women at Court Drive God will continue to work in the youth at Court Drive through the amazing disciples there, and he will continue to work in and through the Gentry family as well.
Maybe you are in a transition period or are looking at the possibility of a transitional time. I would implore you to not only look to your own best interests, but as Christ modeled for us in Philippians 2, look to the interest of others. Setup where you are leaving the best you can for their future. Leave things better than they were both before you and with you. I made mistakes which I have learned from at Court Drive, but one thing I am striving to do the best I can is work with the church for their future. As I have preached since my first week, I do not want anyone’s faith to be dependent on me. My hope is that I have setup both the teens to maintain their own faith walk, and the church to best continue in ministering to these teens!
So with our last 2.5 weeks now on countdown, know that we want to say farewell and thank you to what each of you have meant to us and how you have helped our family.
With hearts full of love, the Gentry family wishes you all of the blessings of Christ!