Unlikely Successor

He was a buttoned down statesman. I was half his age, with dreadlocks and a beard. What would happen when I replaced him?

"Don't do it!"

"They are going to hate you!"

I'm grateful for honest friends. I shared what I thought God had called me to and my buddy hit me upside the head with the above warnings. Truthfully, I thought he might be right! But I went ahead anyway.

Let me rewind. I spent most of my pastoral ministry pioneering church plants in liberal U.S. cities. From age 25 to 35, I started faith communities in urban New Jersey, San Francisco, and Marin County. I loved church planting. But God was doing a work in my heart, calling me to walk once again by faith, to do something different than I had ever done.

Bill Ritchie founded Crossroads Community Church, one of the first generation of mega-churches in the Northwest. Crossroads is located in Vancouver, Washington, on the northern banks of the Columbia River across from Portland, Oregon. By the time I got to know Bill, he was an elder statesman: buttoned up and regal, a consummate pastor. His regional radio ministry ...

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