As you may know, Jake and Abigail Griffin have been on Sabbatical for the past four months. This morning at church, we took time to update everyone on some things in regards to the Griffins and our church. We are including this letter from our Elders and Board of Advisors for anyone who may not have been present at the service.
It has been an awesome journey over the last five years watching God build His church, this church in Baton Rouge. Almost four months ago Jake made an announcement at church, and posted a letter online, that he would be taking some time to address some areas in his life through counseling, prayer, and further training.
During that time, it became evident that God’s work in Jake’s life needs more time and we, the Elders and Board of Advisors, believe it is in the best interest of Antioch-Baton Rouge and in the Griffin’s best interest, that they allow God to continue to grow and heal them without the responsibility of leading this church. We are forever grateful to Jake and Abigail as founders of this church, and believe in God’s calling on their lives. While this is the end of a season, we have great hope in what God has for us in the season ahead. We have asked Donny Martin to step in as our new Senior Pastor. After Donny and Bryanna spent time seeking God, we are thankful to say, they have graciously said “Yes” and are hopeful for what God has for all of us as God leads us forward.
Jake and Abigail have also written a statement that they would like for us to read to you all this morning:
Antioch-Baton Rouge, we want every single person at this church to know that we are so thankful for the incredible privilege of not only knowing you but also being your pastors these past few years. As we have seen God do great things, we also had our struggles that have been hurtful to many and that deeply grieves us. I repent for the ways I have led in my own strength, made my own way, and hurt those close to me due to my pride and insecurity. As we have journeyed with our elders and the board of advisors, it became clear that the best thing not just for our family, but the church was that we step aside and allow God to continue to build His beautiful house here in Baton Rouge. We take this step with a heavy, but full heart because we love you so much and because we believe in the dreams that are in each of you. We got in this to see Jesus glorified in and through our lives, and we step away with the same goal. Thanks for loving us through this time, and we put our full trust in Jesus. We believe that Donny and Bryanna, as well as the rest of the staff, are going to do an unbelievable job leading and serving this church. This staff is full of heroes of the faith that we deeply love and trust, and we have full confidence in all of them. We love you.
The Elders and the Board of Advisors want to be clear about two main points:
1. This is not the result of moral failure of any kind. Jake and Abigail are obviously grieving, but their marriage is strong, and they are seeking God together on the next season of their lives. This change is being made because those places that Jake mentioned above have hindered his ability to lead and pastor with grace and effectiveness, and were having an impact on the staff and the church.
2. We are also confident in Donny and Bryanna Martin and the call of God on their lives. We are so thankful that God has been leading us and this church in preparation for things that we had no idea were coming.
Please know that we strongly believe that God has begun a great work in this church and in Jake and Abigail's lives, and the wonderful thing about our loving Father is that He will be faithful to complete it.
The Elders and Board of Advisors
We know that this news may affect people in a variety of ways. We want to encourage you that the best way that we can all respond is to cover Jake, Abigail, and the kids with prayer and be praying for our church and its leadership in this season. Our hope is that we will be people who turn to God in our times of celebration and in times of challenge. We know many of you will have questions regarding what's now and what's next, and we are committed to communicating as clearly and efficiently as possible. Our Elders and Board of Advisors are walking closely with the Griffins to help them discern the next step for their family. We want you to know that our staff is hopeful and committed to the future of our church. Please feel free to reach out to your ministry pastor if you have any questions.