Three and a half years ago, our church began a journey of transition, but the journey was not really mine—it was my father's. He invited me along for the ride. My dad, Larry Hodge, had been the senior pastor of Aurora First Assembly of God for 24 years. In late 2001 he began to sense the church needed to make some significant changes.

What I didn't know at the time was that the journey to transform the church was really a reflection of the transforming work God was doing inside my dad. So I really can't tell you my church's story without telling you my dad's—they are the same.

For that reason, throughout this account of our church's transition, I've included entries from my father's private journal to provide a glimpse inside his soul.

Internal illness

Two years earlier, in 2000, my father had just finished leading the church through a significant building campaign. To observers First Assembly appeared healthy and vibrant, blessed with a new 25,000 square foot building, a prime location ...

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