An Open Letter to Pastor Tom McCoy

Dear Tom,

As a young, smaller church in the same city as your larger, established one, I sometimes think people expect churches like ours to have a silent tension. But this isn’t about any of that. Tom, I was moved this week to tell you I’m indebted to you, I respect you, and I’m glad a man with your heart leads the way in our city.

Tom, I remember when I was more of a nobody than I am now and you took the time to meet with me and bought me lunch. You sat across a table from a scared, 25-year-old pastor in Jeffery’s Grill, reminded me that God brought David his “Mighty Men”, and assured me that God would do the same for me. The Holy Spirit moved on my heart when you talked and emboldened me during a hard time when I didn’t know if I had what it takes. When my father planted The Bridge, instead of being threatened by a church “coming into your territory”, you flung open the doors of your building and welcomed us to treat it like our own. For the first 5 years of The Bridge’s life, you made sure the doors of Thompson Station Church were open for every Bridge baptism (before we had a horse trough!) and every prayer meeting. You gladly welcomed The Bridge to have a funeral in your space when death unexpectedly encroached on our body. When my father was walking through a hard time, rubbing two sticks together and trying to plant a church, you met with him, encouraged him, breathed life into him.

Tom, in the last 6 years I’ve been in this city, the number of times I’ve heard about your wife’s heart for prayer or her granite-strength faith through cancer have been countless. On dark days when I wondered if pastoring a church was too hard, I’d remember stories of Tom McCoy during your first years in this city when it was just a loose collection of farmers – how you would walk up long dirt driveways to farmhouses to invite local farmers to your then-fledging church. Tom McCoy, if we’re different, I don’t care. You’re the real deal. And I’m thankful to God that he made you one of the “Early Church Fathers” of Spring Hill, TN.

So again: I love and respect you, and will never forget the kindness you showed to me when you didn’t have any reason to. And since open letters are supposed to be angry outbursts of criticism – you guys gotta quit causing traffic problems on 31 when church lets out : )

[credit to Jared Wilson, in a post I can no longer find online, for this idea]

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