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Electricity is something we are all to accustomed to having I think.  I would argue that many of us don’t realize we have it until its gone.  I think most times we flip a switch with an expectation that lights will come on and our world will light up. On few rare occasions though millions of people have gone to flip the switch only to find there is no light for them tonight.  In Nov. 9th of 1965 the largest ever of such an event occurred causing the loss of power to 8 states and part of Canada.  Over 4 million man hours of work were lost waiting for light to comeback. Again in 2003 this happened across several states and was reported to have cost $36 million dollars per hour over the entire time span of the blackout ( 29 hrs). The staggering facts show that when when power is taken out of our hands, it’s devastating and extremely costly. Costly because we are never prepared, never ready. The truth is that blackouts take many shapes and forms, and happen everyday.  Sometimes on a large scale, other times on a much smaller one. And the facts remain the same in them no matter how they look, that you’re never ready, never prepared.

Yesterday was such a day for myself and many close friends.  Yesterday morning our blackout took the shape of economic depression. A lagging economy and consequential changes in support led to a budgetary crisis that was inevitable. A written statement from a friends site said it best when it stated “Well today has been a difficult day. The Elders of Central Christian Church through much prayer, thought, and God’s leading have given Cal Jernigan a mandate to reduce staff to align with our current budget income. The staff reduction (along with many others) included myself. So as of today, March 24, I will no longer serve on staff here at Central Christian Church. Please know that I will continue to pray for Central as they reach this community and lead the church through our economic crisis.” The other sad truth is that when blackouts like these come, there is no one who leaves them unscathed. Those that are gone hurt for the people and the families that they must leave, and those that remain hurt for those they are now separated from.

The redeeming aspect of moments like these is that we become stronger in our bond and reaction with others.  We learn to unite as teams and work smart, not just hard.  Even the most devastating of circumstances have inevitably led to new growth and inspiration.  It’s my opinion that Central will come out of this time at some point shinning like a star in a world of darkness, as it has in it’s past.  That it’s dedicated people will continue to move forward and ministry will be done and lives will be changed by Christ through them. It will just happen without a few close friends around, including myself.

For now as in any trying situation there is a road of long hard work to be done.  There will be gaps in ministry, faces to find in crowds, new families to meet and connect, and places where those that remain will need an extra hand in holding the burdens of ministry up. This is where you come in.  Central needs you the members, the community, the families, the college students to step up and lend a hand to keep ministry moving.  There is no part in ministry that couldn’t be played by one of you.  Small groups will need leading, worship will need playing, and people will need cared for and prayer. These are all things that you can do for Central.  These are the roles that we must all play in order make this more than a church, but to make it a body, a body that moves in the lives of others.

It has been my greatest honor to this point in my life to serve at such an incredible church, and under leadership that seeks the will of God for His lost people so passionately, that they willingly accept some of the most difficult tasks.  I have learned an immeasurable amount of things not just about ministry, leadership, and communication, but also myself while serving there. The students that I have met have impacted my life in incredible ways that I’m certain they will never understand, and I am extraordinarily grateful to have known each and everyone of them. The team members I have worked with are arguably among some of the best in the country, and it is with pride that I say I have served alongside you in the trenches of war. It is my hope that my relationship with many of you can remain, and that you all know that your burdens are always welcome to be shared upon my shoulders. There are no regrets, and no hard feelings, but there is plenty of prayer and hope for you all and the work you must still do in the community.

There’s no recovery from such a moment as this or any other, that can be done alone.  There’s not much in the way of hope to those who stand in the darkness of a blackout alone.  It is my prayer that we can all find our ways to each other, and in doing so, bring light to this city once again soon.


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