Thank You Again, Church!

Uncategorized // August 2, 2019 //

Greetings, folks!

I want to say thank you again, church for giving me a writing sabbatical for the month of July. What a gracious gesture that was towards me and my family. I appreciate your love and support during this academic season, and the encouragement you give to Ashley and our children. I promise we need you more than you need us. We thank you for being such a gracious people, who love Jesus and seek to build his Kingdom above your own.

For those who may not know, the writing sabbatical was specifically designed for me to focus on my PhD dissertation through Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. It is the final requirement in the degree program. Our deacons (boy, do we have some good deacons) unanimously recommended the time away, which was a gloriously encouragement to me and my family. Now that the month has passed, other than the calluses on my fingers from typing and a slight addiction to Diet Coke, all is well!

I was able to spend nearly every day focused on writing my dissertation, which gave me a great advancement in the process. Currently I have a complete draft of the dissertation. I am now beginning the final edits in cooperation with my academic supervisor, Dr. Jim Shaddix. Please pray for an “awesome August” to the end that I will meet the Sept 1 submission deadline. If all goes well, I will submit the dissertation this month, and prepare for my oral defense sometime later this fall. I greatly covet your prayers to this end.

Though July was great, I am ready to return to you and the ministry. I missed you and the work God is doing at Coats Baptist. I heard that you had a superb month: a mission trip to Guatemala, student camp to Caswell, and solid preaching on Sundays. That’s a great month! Let me say “thank you” to the brothers who filled the pulpit in my absence. As I return on Sunday, August 4, we’ll be back in the Gospel of Luke on Sunday mornings. That evening, I plan to share more on my sabbatical and help us think through a theology of rest from Ecclesiastes 2. I hope you can attend!

I hear we have a new addition to our staff, Caitlin Taylor. Welcome Caitlin! Thank you, church for welcoming Caitlin and her husband Daniel into the Coats Baptist community. I don’t think they know just how sweet and special this place really is. But they will soon find out!

As your pastor, I want to personally thank you for your patience as we sought the Lord over this very important decision. We believe Caitlin is God’s choice to lead our children’s ministry. We have so much potential before us. May the Lord continue to bless and give us wisdom as we move forward.

Blessings, church family. I hope to see you this Sunday morning. Invite a friend!

About Neal Thornton