Monday, May 16, 2011

Big News for the Thomas Family!

For those of you who know me well, you know that for almost 14 of the 16 years I've lived in Nashville I've had a "Texas room". Texans have a way of being completely obnoxious about their state. I mean seriously...I remember getting grilled in Texas History at an early age in school. And while other school aged children drew maps of the United States, we drew maps of the U.S. AND Texas. I am, for better or worse, a Texan by birth. And now, after many years, I will become a resident of the Lone Star State once more!

I am excited to announce that we will soon be headed to Abilene where I will be the Minister of Worship and Arts at the Highland Church! I grew up in Abilene. And while I haven't lived there in 20 years, I still have a great love for that place. Highland is a wonderful church--rich in the Spirit and deep in the ways of Christ. I get to partner with an INCREDIBLE team there! Jonathan Storment (preaching minister) and Ben Siburt (executive minister) are relatively new to Highland as well. I am so excited about partnering with those guys...along with Matt Pinson, Beth Reeves, Michael Mercer, Sarah Campbell, Gina Lewis, Joe Almanza, Mary Lee Mattis, Suzetta Nut and Dickie Porche. The Shepherds at Highland are simply incredible. These men are iconic in my life. Men like Ronnie Lorenz, John Willis, Ed Allred, Roland Orr, David Wray, and so many more...helped shape me. These are the men who will now shepherd my family and me. I cannot tell you what that means to me. There just aren't words!

We have bathed this decision in prayer and it has been confirmed in our hearts over and over. I was trying to explain to someone today that it is the weirdest thing to have both incredible JOY and incredible SADNESS happening at the same time in our hearts. The sadness comes from leaving Nashville...and all it holds. Our friends here mean the world to us. Our family here is irreplaceable. How will we make it without Kiki and Kevin? Gail and Chris? Lauren Gingles? Jeff and Anna Berry? The Williamsons? The Batsons? The Westermans, Hensleys, McArthurs, Englands, Kirbys, Vickers, Musicks...the list goes on and on. There will be a lot of tears shed over the next month. I began that over the weekend by starting my goodbyes to the Gary Musick Staff and leading an emotional morning at Otter Creek with the ZOE team.

But, the JOY comes in knowing we are heading to a place that is also very dear to us...and to a work we believe without a doubt that God has prepared for us. We are so excited! Interestingly, Sheryl and I both have history at Highland. It was at Highland that we both (individually) discovered our passion for leading worship. And now, God is calling us back for a new season! What a treasure! And to be able to run that race with such gifted men and women on that Highland staff? Incredible! What a blast Storment and I will have on Sunday mornings!

Nashville will always be special to us...we married here. We had all our kids here. The big stuff in life has happened for us HERE. ZOE was established here.

Some have asked what we will do about ZOE. We will continue to minister with ZOE and look forward to the ways that our new partners at Highland will be able to contribute ideas and energy to that ministry. I see it only getting better!

While we are leaving a huge slice of our hearts here in Nashville, we will get to be in the same town with some of our favorite people on Earth! Craig and Beth Ann Fisher! WOO-HOO!! Amy and Grant Boone! Ronnie and Darla Lorenz! Kyle and Camille Dickson! The Lipfords, Perkins, Chranes, Millers...and so many more!'s so cool to think that when I left Abilene I had just lost a Sam Thomas who was so special to me. Now, I'm bringing one back! This Sam Thomas definitely has the fire and spirit of his grandfather (as do his two older sisters)!

We ask for your prayers as we make this important transition. I specifically ask that you'd pray that God will grant us peace and wisdom at every turn. And please pray that we can sell our house. We want to be able to begin without that hanging over our heads. Please pray for my mom as well. She will be joining us in the move. Her good buddy Dorris drove her to Abilene over the weekend to look at houses! She does NOT waste time, people. You know her.

So, let the excitement begin! We're coming back, Abilene...and bringing the Thomas family circus! Yee-HAW!


Jenni said...

so excited for you guys and for Highland. looking forward to worshiping with you more often as I make frequent visits to my family!

p.s. let Jonathan take you downtown for lunch at Bogie's - my sister Heather and brother-in-law Phillip own it!

Ed Allred said...

It was SO good to see your mom yesterday. When Jonathan mentioned she was in the congregation, the church applauded. I loved that!

Jennifer said...

What wonderful news! Texas is glad to have you back!

Alyssa said...

I've heard rumors and murmurings of this happening! SO excited for you all! I have not lived in Texas for 12 years now and I totally get the TEXAS room!!! Blessings to the Thomas family. We are excited for you!

Connie said...

Excited for you and your family to be in Abilene! Can't wait. (Evan and Mandee get the Texas thing, too. They have a Texas bathroom!)

Kyle said...

Brandon, my wide and I have lived in the Houston area for the past 8 years and just made the decision to move back to Abilene, ourselves. (I went to ACU and my wife grew up there.) A friend and fellow praise teamer with me just informed me that you were just hired at Highland so I thought I'd check your blog to confirm. It's great to hear that I wont be the only newbie in town. I look forward to worshipping with you on Sundays.