City Church is excited to announce that Joseph Thigpen, of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, will join the staff this month as he transitions into the role of Discipleship Pastor. 

This role is currently held by Craig Stewart, who, along with his wife Jen, has been recommended for appointment as a full-time missionary to Europe with the International Mission Board. Craig and Jen received their recommendation for appointment today, August 7th, and will continue in the process of moving forward to prepare for relocating with their two children in 2019. Craig will spend several weeks "sharing" the role of Discipleship Pastor with Joe, as this transition takes place and Joe completes the on-boarding process at City Church. 

Joe comes to City Church with his wife, Laura, and their daughter, Eliza. Joe and Laura have been married for eight years, and in 2017 celebrated the growth of their family as they adopted Eliza, who is now almost three. Joe holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Birmingham-Southern College, where he played football; a Master of Divinity in Christian Ministry from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; a Master of Theology in Systematic Theology from SEBTS; and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. from SEBTS in Public Theology. 

Joe and Laura have served as members of Imago Dei Church, pastored by Tony Merida, in Raleigh, where Joe also has been a Lay Pastor since 2016. He has provided counsel, oversight, and shepherding to small groups at Imago Dei, along with teaching equipping classes focusing on Christian Ethics. Joe has also served as a Lay Elder. Professionally, he is transitioning from a role as a financial advisor with Fidelity Investments, into a full-time role in vocational ministry. 

Laura has served as the assistant to Charlotte Akin, wife of SEBTS President Danny Akin, coordinating events and special initiatives at the seminary. She writes regularly for influential Christian outlets such as erlc.comBRnow.org, and other sources. She holds a B.A. in English and Sociology from the University of Mobile. 

The elders and staff of City Church are excited to welcome the Thigpens to Tallahassee. Joe's first official day will be Sunday, August 19th. Please join us in prayer for Joe, Laura, and Eliza, as they prepare to relocate and begin a new chapter of gospel ministry in Tallahassee. We are asking God to provide peace and blessing in this important transition, and we look expectantly to a new season in which Joe will assume this role and serve faithfully to continue helping the church grow in making disciples of Jesus Christ. 

We also ask that you join us in prayer for Craig and Jen, and their children, Linc and Kate, as the Stewarts follow God's calling on their lives to share the gospel with the nations. As they pursue this new appointment as career missionaries, we are praying for God's direction and provision, and that many people in Europe would come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior because of the Stewarts' faithful ministry there. Craig will continue serving in his role for several weeks before the Stewarts transition into a season of training before being officially sent to begin their missionary term with the IMB.

As we send Craig and Jen out from City Church, we all share in the experience of "Gaining by Losing," in which we feel the loss of a family who has poured their lives into reaching Tallahassee with the gospel and caring for so many at City Church. We also feel the gain in knowing that they will be building the kingdom of God in a city whose people desperately need to know Jesus. As a church, we pray for more sending opportunities, and trust that God is raising up new leaders to serve here so that we can send more out to share the truth of God's love in Christ with the world.

Members of City Church are invited to attend the Members Meeting on Sunday, August 26th, from 5:00-7:00PM at the Sessions Road campus, where Joe will officially be introduced. We will also spend time praying for and commissioning the Stewarts as they are sent by their home church to take the name of Jesus overseas. 

We look forward to this new chapter and this transition, as we welcome the Thigpens to Tallahassee and prepare to partner with the Stewarts in a new way through international missions and sending. We pray most of all that God would continue to use City Church both locally and globally to make His glory known among the nations.

For the gospel, for the city!