September 9, 2019

We are part of a relay race of faith that began over a century ago and is still powering forward.

In the spring of 1913, God began to tug on the hearts of several families in Cherrydale to step out in faith and plant a gospel-centered church in their community. In May, Gerald Payne, a lay preacher from Capitol Hill Baptist in Washington, DC, joined their team and began to hold prayer meetings in the home of the Newman family.

This band of brothers and sisters in Christ formed a Sunday school, and by the end of August agreed to covenant together as a church. On September 30, 1913, thirty-two charter members established Cherrydale Baptist Church and Gerald Payne became their first pastor. These faithful believers began to run the race of faith and passed the baton of gospel truth to the next generation, and that generation to the next, and on and on until today!

On Sunday, September 8, after running the race of faith with you for 36 years, I had the joy of passing the baton of leadership to your 14th lead pastor, Tom Oostdyk. Our beloved brother Tom joined our race of faith 12 years ago as an active church member working with our student ministry. He then became an intern, joined our pastoral staff, completed seminary, was ordained by Cherrydale, and has served with distinction for the past seven years.

Hallelujah! The baton of gospel truth has been passed to the next generation! The same core biblical convictions of the band of brothers and sisters who began the race of faith in Cherrydale in 1913 are still core convictions in 2019. Those strong beliefs are: confidence in the inerrant word of God as our final authority for faith and practice; the centrality of the gospel in all we do; and the priority of local and global missions, especially to those who have never heard. These convictions are reflected in our mission statement—to make disciples who love God and people above all else—and our seven core values. Pastor Tom embodies these convictions.

Cherrydale family, join me in praying for Tom and his family. Let’s all renew our commitment to keep running the race of faith and pass the baton of gospel truth to the next generation. Hebrews 12:1-13 tells us how to do so: consider Jesus (Heb 12:1-3), cooperate with God’s loving discipline to make us like Christ (Heb 12:4-11), care for each other and be a healing community (Heb 12:12-13).