CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - For nearly 40 years he's been preaching the gospel to thousands of people, but on Thursday, he announced his resignation. Forest Hill Church pastor David Chadwick says he'll be focusing more on ministry.
We will have a hole without him there,” said Julie Apple.
For more than a decade, Apple has attended services at Forest Hill, following the teachings and preaching of Pastor Chadwick.
“I was shocked reading it. I’ve been there probably 15 years and we did not see that coming,” Apple said.
The e-mail came through at around 9 a.m. on March 7, saying: “Marilynn and I feel called to the opportunity to expand our ministry through the work of ‘Moments of Hope.’ Know how much Marilynn and I love you. One of the greatest privileges we’ve known is serving the Lord with you. Under His grace and mercy, David and Marilynn.”
When Chadwick first arrived, the congregation was about180 people. Now, Forest hill has grown to 4,000 members and 12,000 visitors annually at the six campuses spread across the Charlotte region.
Chadwick has had a major impact on many people's faith as he reaches thousands through local and national programs as well as his family's 'Moments of Hope' ministry.
“He has such a heart and he’s so compassionate and that came out in all his messages.”
In Chadwick’s letter, he mentioned a bright looking future for the church, and announced his goals of working to expand his ministry.
Even though he’s almost 70, he’s excited about where God is leading him and he’s not afraid to continue following where God leads.
In his letter, he also said as he approaches his 70th birthday, he's as excited about sharing God's word today as he was in 1980 when he came to Forest Hill Church.
“He’s an incredible authentic man rock solid in his faith and how he teaches and preaches he’s an amazing leader and the church will definitely miss that.”
FOX 46 is plans to speak with Chadwick on Monday. You can read his full letter to the congregation below:
To Our Forest Hill Family,
Every day for nearly 40 years, I have been humbled and exhilarated by the responsibilities and opportunities bestowed upon me by God's call to shepherd the Forest Hill Church community.
From a congregation of 180 when Marilynn and I arrived, Forest Hill has grown to 4,000 members and 12,000 visitors annually at our six campuses throughout the Charlotte region. We reach thousands of people through local and national radio programs and our Moments of Hope media ministry. Forest Hill also is financially stable with no debt and offers robust programs and ministries this community deserves.
Forest Hill, with a future described in the 10-year vision outlined last year, continues to be poised for great impact.
Looking ahead, through discussions with my family and the Council of Elders about the future of the church, I have concluded Forest Hill would benefit from new leadership. So today, I want to let you know that I will no longer serve as senior pastor of Forest Hill Church.
Marilynn and I feel called to the opportunity to expand our ministry through the work of Moments of Hope, which is positively affecting lives nationally and internationally through our media outreach. We also feel the continued call to serve the Charlotte region where we have spent our lives in ministry together.
As I approach my 70th birthday, please know I am as excited about sharing God's Word today as I was in 1980 when I came to this church. While I will broaden the focus of my ministry, I will remain in Charlotte and faithful to God's direction in His service so people everywhere may know and grow their relationship with God through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Finally, please know how much Marilynn and I love you all. One of the greatest privileges we've known is serving the Lord with you. As I have stated at the end of every sermon for almost 40 years, to God alone belongs all the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Under His Grace and Mercy,
David and Marilynn