Why Did STBC Leave Franklin?

by Pastor Chris Williamson

Upon completing seminary in 1992, Dorena and I moved to Nashville, TN because it was the hub of Christian music and my record company was there. We moved to Franklin once I became employed with Christ Community Church in 1993. Franklin has been a great place to raise our four children and to do ministry. God truly ordered my steps (Psalm 37:23) and wrote these pages in my book (Psalm 139:16).
When we started the church in 1995, it was providential that God birthed a church with a multiracial mission and composition to represent His interests in a town that was (and still is) racially divided. For over 18 years we did our best to bring heaven to earth while showing the residents of our fine city that the spiritual stronghold that reached its apex during the Civil War leaving approximately 9,000 casualties was decisively broken.
Our vision as a church is “to experience and expand God’s Diverse Kingdom in the city and throughout the world.” According to Galatians 3:28, God’s Diverse Kingdom (GDK) acknowledges our differences race-wise (Jew nor Greek), class-wise (Slave nor Free), and gender-wise (Male nor Female), and celebrates our oneness in Christ.
We’ve always preached and practiced that we can be one without being the same.
Even though we have had great ministerial roots in the city without having structural roots in it, I never thought I would leave Franklin. Therefore, I was just as shocked as anyone when God suddenly “thrust us out” of Franklin and into the harvest fields of Nashville beginning in June 2013. The reason I could make the swift transition was because my life and ministry are not my own. I’ve made it a habit that wherever God leads, I follow. Period. He is still ordering my steps and writing new pages in my book.
I believe STBC was “sent out” (lit. “thrust out” from Luke 10:3) because of the prayers of the lost (See Acts 16:9-10) and the prayers of a few harvesters in the area who needed our help. Based on Luke 9:4, I believe Jesus placed us in a house on the harvest field and told us to “stay there” (stationary) and “from there depart” (missionary).
So for the record, STBC didn’t “leave” Franklin. I still live in Franklin, and STBC still ministers in her beautiful borders. However, God chose to “expand GDK” by planting us in the Forrest Hills community of Nashville. For me, I’m not called to one city. I’m called to build GDK and that can happen from any city. The elders and I are simply doing our best to lead as we’re being led, and needless to say we are extremely excited about what God has in store for STBC!+
POSTED: January 18, 2014