Dear Church Family,
Most of you are aware that I have been the Senior Pastor of City On A Hill since January of
1984.We are a unique church in the ministry that we do of Help, Hope, and Healing. I have
known for 30 years that no one could come from the outside and have any hope of pastoring this
unique kind of ministry. So, I began asking the Lord to raise up someone from the inside who
would have this ministry in his DNA and become qualified to take my place when the time came.
Derrick and Jessica Bledsoe came to us when Derrick was just 21 years old and newly married.
Derrick committed his life to Christ soon after they first came.
As Derrick began to sense the call to ministry, we began mentoring him.
First, my wife Laura took him under her wing helping her. Then, while my son-in-law, Davis,
was on staff working with young adults he spent time discipling Derrick. Then Allan McBrayer
mentored Derrick further. All of this time he was getting his University degree in linguistics.
Then I encouraged him to go to seminary where he received his Master’s in Divinity. He will
complete his second Master’s degree this Spring. A Th.M. degree, Masters in Theology.
A number of years ago I began to mentor Derrick to eventually take my place. I knew God
had sent him to us to be the answer to that prayer so the Help, Hope, and Healing, ministry of
this Church would not be hindered.
I began to allow Derrick to teach on Sunday mornings periodically and spent time with him
in how to put a message together. Several years ago, he and I began to team teach on Sunday
mornings. At first, I would give him notes and directions of where I wanted him to go with the
part I had assigned him. Eventually, all I would do is give the general theme of the message, the
points that we would cover, and he would completely develop his part on his own.
That was when I knew he was getting ready to stand on his own.
For me, this past several years of team study, discussion, and then teaching has been a
rejuvenation, a joy, and incredibly fulfilling experience. Derrick has a very bright mind, is
disciplined in study, and has a deep commitment to the Truth of God’s Word.
A few years ago, I turned the administration of the ministry staff over to Derrick. At that
time, I stopped even attending staff meeting. At the same time Derrick began being a full
participant in the monthly elders meeting. Derrick consults with me and we come to agreement
on important issues and then he takes the lead on it.
In essence, for several years now Derrick has been functioning as the Senior Pastor of City
On A Hill and I have been functioning as Teaching Pastor. Recently, I asked the Elders to allow
that fact to be recognized by changing Derricks title to Senior Pastor and mine to Teaching
Functionally, nothing will really change over what we have actually been doing for several
years already. I am NOT retiring or leaving. I am as excited and energetic about this ministry as
I have ever been. I will be spending a lot of time getting the Fearless Series For Women out to
the churches in America. This may involve some travel. It may involve being gone some
Sundays although I intend to make that as rare as possible.
I pray the entire Church family will celebrate with me Gods has gracious provision for the next
generation of leadership for City On A Hill. The best years are still ahead!