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A Letter from Lon Solomon

February 12, 2017

By
Lon Solomon, Senior Pastor

My Dear Church Family,

I came to MBC as your Senior Pastor in August 1980 as a 32-year-old man (by 5 days). I only passed the congregational vote on me by 3 votes, but I came anyway, more sure that Jesus had called me here than I was of my own name. Over the last 36 1/2 years, that certainty has never left me for an instant, which is why I stayed even through some very difficult days, both as a pastor and a person. It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve as your Senior Pastor for these past 36 years. I am so proud of our church family at MBC, and I am so proud to tell people around the globe that I have had the privilege of serving as "the Senior Pastor of MBC."

In these 36 years, God has showered our church family with amazing mercy, and displayed His omnipotence before us in some of the most awesome ways I've ever seen or heard of. People always ask me why God has been this way to MBC. Of course, I cannot answer a question like this, for it is totally above my pay-grade to speculate regarding why Almighty God chooses to do what He does. He is sovereign. That is all I ever say to people. But if I had to guess at some concrete reasons why, I would say it was because (1) we have sought to be a church that obeys Jesus in everything; (2) we have sought to be a church that, in Jesus' name, cares for and about the "least of these" (Matthew 25:40), including especially children and adults with disabilities, the poor, the needy, and the disenfranchised; (3), we have sought to be a church that proclaims the truth of God's Word without compromise or equivocation, even when those truths are not popular in our culture; and (4), we have sought to be a church that humbles itself before Jesus, and seeks to make decisions, not based on human logic alone, but also based on prayer and seeking the face of God.

And it is my dream and hope for MBC that these (and similar) spiritual tenets will always form the foundation of our church family. 

Several years ago, Pastor John Piper wrote to his people at Bethlehem Baptist Church and said: "I am less competent leading Bethlehem structurally and organizationally than I used to be. For about 30 years, I was usually able to see through the complexities and formulate feasible and exciting plans...This is no longer the case. Bethlehem is more complex than it used to be, and my energies and abilities for this kind of organizational planning are diminished."

When I read this, I knew precisely what Pastor Piper was trying to say: namely, that he was tired.

My dear brethren, over the last 36 1/2 years, I have sought, as unto the Lord, to give MBC every ounce of strength in my body. I would not go back and change one iota of this! But I am tired. Not tired of walking with Christ, not tired of praying and reading God's Word, not tired of sharing Christ with people, and not tired of preaching the Word. I am tired of trying to run the demanding operations of our large and complex church. And I am concerned that, if I am too proud to admit and confront this, I will end up hurting the very church family that I love so much. MBC needs a Senior Pastor who can be fully-engaged in every level of leading our church!

So, after grieving this, I went to our elders and told them that God had shown me that it was time for MBC to trust God's leading and begin searching for our next God-appointed Senior Pastor. I told them that I would like to be the most supportive and helpful person imaginable in seeing MBC make this transition smoothly and biblically. And I told them they could count on me to work with them, to make this transition the most Christ-honoring process possible, and to make it a model for other mega-churches who will be facing this same transition in their futures.

And so, for the last year, your elders and I have been working together to establish a plan that, by God's grace, will achieve these goals. And we believe that we have been able to lay out a plan that is both pleasing to the Lord and practicable for our church family.

I spoke to our church family this past weekend (Feb 11/12) and began to unpack this plan for all of us. If you missed this message, I want to urge you to go to our website and listen to it. It is massively important that everyone fully understand the plan ahead of us as a church family.

And, Lord willing, I'll be speaking part 2 this coming weekend (Feb 18/19), laying out this plan again and in more detail.

But please let me mention a couple of the key points from last weekend:

1. I am not resigning from the staff of MBC. I am stepping back from the full and comprehensive organizational duties of Senior Pastor to devote more time and energy to Acts 6:4 in the role of Senior Teaching Pastor and I will continue to serve as a member of our Board of Elders.

2. David Platt will be joining me in preaching at MBC. Assisting us will be Dale Sutherland, Mike Kelsey, and (as always) an occasional special guest speaker here and there. 

3. Pastor Dale Sutherland (in concert with me and the rest of our elders, of course) will continue leading the daily ministry of MBC along with our senior staff team (as he has been for the last year). Dale is a seasoned man of God. His heart and my heart beat like one for Christ, and he enjoys my highest confidence and esteem.

4. The elders and I are beginning NOW the process of seeking the next God-appointed Senior Pastor for MBC. At present, we have no active candidates for this position, nor are we currently in contact with anyone who is aspiring to this position. We are prayerfully trusting the Holy Spirit to guide us to just the right man, and him to us. And, of course, please remember that any candidate will have to go through the approval process that is carefully laid out in our church constitution, including receiving a 75% affirmative vote from the membership of MBC.

Furthermore, please let me say that Brenda and I and Jill have no plans to leave MBC (until the Lord takes us to heaven)! This has been "our church" for 36 years, and we intend for it to remain as such. So, on the weeks that I am in town but not preaching, please look for me in the front rows, raising my hands in worship, doing my giving in the offering bag, and sitting expectantly at the feet of whoever is teaching God's Word that day.

I know that you may have some questions that may not have been answered in this past weekend's sermon or in this letter, and the elders and I want to make sure this whole process is characterized by as much openness and clarity as possible. And so, we will be having a "town meeting" this coming week (THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16--IN THE SMITH CENTER AT TYSONS AT 7:30PM), where the elders and I will delight in meeting with you and trying to answer all questions that we possibly can. 

As you can imagine, we as your leaders deeply covet your prayer support throughout this entire process. IN FACT, WE ARE BEGINNING "40 DAYS OF PRAYER" AND SEEKING THE FACE OF GOD AT MBC (just like we did in 2016) AND WANT EVERYONE IN OUR CHURCH FAMILY TO BE AN ACTIVE PART (learn more: mcleanbible.org/40daysofprayer).

We are certain that God has already appointed a man to step into this role, just as He did Elisha for Elijah. And like Elisha, we are trusting the Lord to send us a man who will have a "double portion" (2 Kings 2:9) of the anointing the Lord was pleased to give to me--a man who can take MBC further for Christ's Glory than God used me to do. 

These are exciting days for MBC, and I ask you to join in the excitement and expectation I feel every day, as I wait to see what our great Savior has ahead for our church family.

Sincerely as your Senior Teaching Pastor,

Lon Solomon

Comments

Submitted by Kerry Walton (not verified) on
Bless you, Lon, for your sacrificial leadership. We started with MBC at Langley and have walked through the building pledge drives that brought us back to Balls Hill and ultimately to Tysons. We witnessed the birth of Jill and the joys and challenges that came with her arrival. We witnessed how in obedience to and with God's help, you and Brenda persevered during that time and ultimately blessed our area with Access Ministry. We went through pre-marital counselling and marriage through McLean. We have raised two children here, our eldest born just two years after Jill. We have been blessed by serving in Kid's Quest and Kids' Stuff and now Transitions. We credit MBC with partnering with us to raise to godly young adults who are walking with and serving God today. Thank you for your leadership and passion for spreading the word of Christ which drew us to the Church 25 years ago, for your commitment to discipling your congregation to grown in faith and service, for your uncompromising stance on Biblical Truth, and for your compassion for all of God's people regardless of race, position or income. I know God is saying "well done good and faithful servant . . . come and see what I have in store for you and MBC now." With love and much gratitude, The Walton (Mike, Kerry, Hayleigh and Christopher)

Submitted by Brent Williams (not verified) on
The Williams Family joins Kerry Walton in Blessing You Lon & Brenda & your whole lovely family for Everything that she blesses You all for! To personalize Kerry's eloquent Blessing, when we came to McLean almost 20 years ago, we were parents of a Neurologically medically-complex 3 year old boy and his seven year old sister. I Praise God in answering my prayers for a church that could truly minister to the overwhelming needs of parents, their son who had already had almost a dozen brain surgeries by Dr Ben Carson at John Hopkins(I prayed 4 God to send the right Neurosurgeon into our life.... at the time did not know Dr Carson was a Godly man, who prayed before every surgery) and his 7 yr old sister, Annesley. Incredible answered prayers! I prayed for a church that my children would still want to attend thru their turbulent adolescent yrs when rejecting the values of Your parents is often a necessary valley of developing one's own identity. And I prayed for a church that my husband would not only be drawn to attend but could be mentored by older Godly men to be the Spiritual Head of Our Household. With all we were trying to cope with we were "ships passing in the night" relaying children & demands, losing our focus on Our Faith and our marriage. I remember the first time I picked up Marshall from Access Ministries for Children with Disabilities, worn out from no sleep, weekly trips to the hospital by ambulance, medivac, 10 different Diagnoses with each doctor referrring us to5 more specialists and Daily trips to 2 or more therapists or doctors.... much like I know you and Brenda were surviving with your daughter Jill..... I heard the Frontline young people's Band & Service coming from the Sanctuary and the music got me thinking about my husband who loved Rock Music. Although I could not fathom attending such a huge church from our little Episcopal Church in Alexandria, I was drawn to the music and curious about a kind of church service i had never experienced in my life. I went to a tiny St Stephen Episcopal School & Church, attended tiny St Margaret's Episcopal Boarding School & chapel, went to a tiny womens's college with a tiny chapel, and joined a tiny church when moved to DC. Although tiny, I never felt "brought into the fold," or inspired in any formal church with rituals and "white people's scarey morbid music," as the irreverent but funny Richard Pryor joked about. i tend to be a bit irreverent at times in my humor about formal places & people! Your humor, Lon, was a gift to those of us that don't take ourselves so seriously that we cant laugh. In fact, it is a Godsend to those of us who find paying attention to the important content of a sermon! A wonderful way to reach & continue to wake up & draw people in to the Word of God & His gospel truth! When i first walked into McLean, though its size was huge, I felt the Lord in my heart, as i have everytime i have walked into McLean. From the beginning it has been a place i come for my spiritual learning & growing thru fellowship, food and God's nourishment 4 my soul. I come away restored, refreshed and my heart & mind renewed. When I sat in the young people's service I knew that GOD had answered my prayers that miraculously met ALL of my requests. I praised God for a church with Christian Rock music that would keep my husband and children wanting to come! . My husband has loved Rock Music since the great music of the 60s. I think Stephanie Cuomo was singing and the musicians, sound system and videos were top notch; I settled back in the comfortable padded movie like seats that can even rock if U feel like i. It reminded me of the old theatres U could watch bands or music videos in. Tears flowed down my face as I thought about how my husband & children would be drawn to, ministered to & inclined to come & continue coming; how we would all learn GOD'S word & His will 4 our lives, and how God is faithful to answer every one of my prayers seeking to draw closer to Him. God's faithfulness in answering my prayers 4 a church that would nourish my heart and soul, draw my husband and children to regularly attend, provide fellowship, immersion in God's word, Disablitity ministries & Resources, Scriptural family counseling and guidance & classes in God's Word & just about any issue that could possibly come up 4 any family! I am eternally grateful to you & your family, for how your sermons captivated my mind & soul, taught me the word in ways no one had been able to, showed me by your example & your transparency, humilty & vast knowledge of Scripture, how to seek God, especially during times of trials & suffering because THAT is where He can be found. He is there throughout every trial. He sends his angels & people to guard over us to surround us with the BODY OF Christ with the love, support & love of His people & HIs Word to show us the Way & guide us. He is always faithful to His Word & those who love Him. My prayers that God has answered throughout my life have been so miraculous & so numerous, I am certain HE has called me to write a book about my Testimony. Sorry you had to read "novel" to get or the main point of Thanking you from the bottom of my heart for all you & Brenda & your family & congregation have done 4 me and Chris, Annesley & Marshall, & even my extended family! May God continue to shine His Blessings down on you all! Brent Williams Mother of Marshall in Access Friendship Club and Annesley.

Submitted by Lillian Gebert (not verified) on
I remember when I first came to MBC way back in 1985! I came on the "pretense" of being lost while looking for the DMV. I was more than physically lost, I was spiritually lost as well. I ended up in Pastor Park's office in tears, he fell to his knees in prayer and I walked out a changed young woman. I began to attend MBC, sitting under your teaching Pastor Solomon--learning all about how much God loved me, and others unconditionally. I attended for 13 years, even through a difficult time with a family member, who you treated with kindness, grace and forgiveness. My years at MBC gave me the strong foundation I have had through my many years of walking with my Lord and Savior. Even today, when life gets difficult, as it often does, I come to MBC website, click on sermons and listen to "Lon--SO WHAT?!" As I listen, I am again reminded that God is sovereign, that whatever is going on will indeed be worked out for good in my life, and that I can trust God with it all! Thank you Lon, for your faithful service all these years and especially for your faithful teaching of God's Word that keep me grounded and trusting our Heavenly Father!

Submitted by Will (not verified) on
Thank you, Pastor Lon. You're greatly appreciated. God bless you for your service to the Lord.

Submitted by MH (not verified) on
David Platt?!? How cool is that! We would have loved to have lured him here in Augusta, Georgia :) Blessings to you all!

Submitted by Jay Velasquez (not verified) on
I love you Lon Solomon. You are a wonderful story of God's grace and redemption. I can't tell you how many times I have passed out your personal testimony CD, or stole some of your humor when I have taught God's Word.You have been an important influence on my life. Even when I had a justifiable disagreement with you, I always prayed that God would protect my love for you and He faithfully did. Then when Karen, I, and our 2 boys moved to Mt. Pleasant, S.C (Charleston) we joined First Baptist Church of Mt. Pleasant. Shortly thereafter I was used by God to drive a process to have FBC Mt. Pleasant plant a church called LifePark in Mt. Pleasant. I drove that process because I saw a very talented on fire for God young associate pastor at FBC Mt Pleasant named Chad Moore. Chad reminded me of you in some respects. I knew we had to unleash this talented young pastor. We did, and with Chad now being in the role of Senior Pastor, LifePark has grown to 2000 in 7 years. The birth and growth reminded me of the days when were at MBC in its infancy. As a founding elder of Life Park, I borrowed and stole so much of the wisdom and constitutional foundations of MBC. It has served us well. So in large part, your influence is responsible for a great part of our success. So, I write this note somewhat choked up because it marks the process of the changing of the guard. And, it brings back so many memories. May God bless you and Brenda. And, I have already told Chad Moore that when our kids get out of high school in 2 years, God willing I am taking he and his wife with Karen and me on your trip to Israel. Should you and Brenda ever want to come visit Charleston, you can be our guest, just call (202)316-5776. With love, respect and admiration, Jay Velasquez

Submitted by tony (not verified) on
i am a catholic, but always enjoy your thoughts not sermons...as well as your amazing witness heard on wava radio...God bless you in your continued work for Him.

Submitted by Betsy F (not verified) on
I am also Catholic and love my faith ...but Listening to Lon Sunday morning before going to Mass has been a privilege ..God bless you for all you have done for Our Lord.

Submitted by Roberta Greenwald (not verified) on
I am sad to hear this, but understand never-the-less. Growing up in a home of a pastor in Hagerstown, MD I know how he struggled pastoring a small church for over 50 years. He too was weary at the end. I admire everything you have done for Mclean Bible Church. I have grown greatly in my faith from your teaching. I do hope that your messages will remain on the website for listening. I am not close to the church and I rely on the internet sermons, and your messages, Lon, to keep me inspired and solid in my faith. My best to your family. I know Brenda has family in Hagerstown, and as for me and the others in this small town, we wish you the best and God's continued blessing on your life.

Submitted by Medina family (not verified) on
THANKS Pastor Lon you're very appreciate thanks for your service to God. God bless you. You are special for me because you look like my dad jeje

Submitted by Linda Johnson (not verified) on
Lon, You never knew me because I left about the time you came. I have been thrilled through the years, though, when I would turn on the radio and hear you preaching. I told a friend of mine about you (we live in Tennessee now) and she told her grandson about you and he visited McLean and loved it from the first day he came. Thank you for your contribution and sacrifice to not only church members, but to the welfare of the community. The church has a very rich testimony as a result of your outreach and the love of workers there whose reputation for service is known throughout the country. Thank you most of all for staying put when you could easily do otherwise. Linda Johnson

Submitted by Bob Lindquist, (not verified) on
In 1996 i met you because you managed my son Scott's baseball team and today some 21 years later I still listen to your sermons that have always given me hope peace and life. I always thank God for bringing you into my life via baseball with Scott, as you always referred to the boys as 'gentlemen'. Then one day i heard your preaching on the radio, and realized you are the coach. You gave me life and saved my life, and to this day I pray that my wife and now 3 adult children will come to know the Lord as their personal savior. God bless to you and your family.

Submitted by Joseph E. Wheel... (not verified) on
Lon, I love you man .you and I have many common traits. At different points in our walk with Christ. Though never a member of McLean I was always a member with you my brother. I could be a pain but I never had malicious intentions. You have a big personality but I never felt any pressure as I said how I felt and you didn't expect any different from me. I would love to go back to Israel, but after 3 back surgeries in last 2 years I know I can't walk or stand over 2 minutes and I fear Jerusalem would be a monster. If I weighed 100 pounds I could hire a Sherpa. My brother I will always love you and yours in Y'ahuas name Josephus

Submitted by Edward (not verified) on
We found a temporary home at McLean when we relocated to the area for seminary at Capital Bible. This ministry and your preaching, helped shape our then new marriage. Now as a pastor, I make your message from the Moody Pastors Conference a few years ago on prayer, required viewing for my Elders and church leaders. I thank God for your ministry and your years of mentorship - even from afar. Blessings!

Submitted by Joe Krupp (not verified) on
Another Catholic, Lon, saying God Bless. I listened to your sermons on podcasts and have a few favorites on my phone that I pull up from time to time. Thank you.

Submitted by kim johnson (not verified) on
I loved your book on Brokenness and recounting your terrible illness. That book spoke deeply to my heart for years now God has reminded me of you and your faithfulness to him. Especially now as I care for and live with my sister who has dementia at 54. I praise God for you Pastor Lon and your witness to our faithful God!

Submitted by JAR (not verified) on
Pastor Solomon, I am one of many, many people whom God has led to MBC. The first time I stepped foot on the Tysons Campus, it was to attend the Accessibility Summit. Dr. Ben Carson was the keynote speaker and the opportunity was one I had prayed for ten years before then. I loved the atmosphere and the support of those who were family, caretakers, teachers, therapists etc. of people with special needs. At that time, my special needs son was six years old and I felt very scared and alone and desperately needed help to know how to help my boy. I convinced my husband to attend the Tysons campus after several weeks (he was a Catholic who was most opposed to going to a non-Catholic church), but when we heard the worship, saw the many scriptures posted on the screens, and heard you teach and preach the Word of God, we knew we were home. How blessed we have been here. The fact that you have endured so much was such a good example and encouragement to us, and finding a church family that understands is one of the biggest blessings in our lives. You encouraged service to others all these years and your teaching has always been so excellent. Thank you for all you do.

Submitted by Holly (not verified) on
I remembered when I first came back to MBC, I had tears in my eyes when I listened to your sermon. I thought that I was always as a sinner and stayed with me, but you changed me. Now, I am still with God and do not want to have doubts about anything except talking to God and reading His Word everyday. Thank you so much for your wonderful sermons and please do not give up spreading the Good News in Metro DC.

Submitted by Maggie Croghan (not verified) on
Hello Lon, I'm not a member of your church, but I'm a native Washingtonian and I know your work. I've heard your encouraging messages on the radio and I know your incredible story. You should know that you and MBC have been not only an inspiration, but a wonderful example to my church and others with your disabilities ministries. Our church has just begun a disabilities initiative and we look at MBC as a success to emulate. Thank you for your hard work, dedication and leadership all these years. You've touched far more people than you know. My sincere blessings to you and your MBC family. --Maggie Croghan, member Christ Church UMC

Submitted by Vestina (not verified) on
Thank you for all the beautiful messages. I miss listening to your broadcast on WAVA 105.1 fm on Sunday mornings at 9:30. God bless you. Remember the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delighteth in the way. God will lead you and the leadership at MBC in selection of the right man for shepherding the flock.

Submitted by c. cleveland (not verified) on
So very sorry to hear this! We used to hear your sermonette on wtop during our commute, but have since moved away. God bless you well for being his good and faithful servant.

Submitted by Deborah (not verified) on
God bless you Lon. The Lord has used you in incredible ways at this church from the little building at Balls Hill to the mutli-campuses reaching so many it is your heart for people and blessing of the Almighty that have shown us many miracles! Well Done good and faithful! We shall miss you...But very blessed and Happy to keep David Platt!

Submitted by TMJ (not verified) on
Thank you, Lon, for years of service to our Lord. Now, when will we hear more from Pastor Mike Kelsey??? Memorial Day weekend is just NOT enough!

Submitted by Gretchen Collins (not verified) on
We were introduced to MBC in June 2016 when we moved from Tucson to Gainesville, to place my husband Walter, on the Memory Care floor at the Tribute facility. We have been part of the Sunday morning group ministered to by people from the MBC congregation. Lon has been speaking to me every Sunday by video. Thank you and I am praying for your future.

Submitted by Michele Jones (not verified) on
Abundant Blessings upon you Lon and the family in this new season God is leading you. It has been a JOY, honor and priveledge to sit under your teachings, to serve under your leadership from the Balls Hill Road days, to the purchase of National Wildlife, to its transition into our church home at Smith Center,the vision/battle and birth of Jills House and the CONTINUED expansion to the new sanctuary and MORE! As Moses, as Joshua we truly lived out the truth of scripture in seeing God show Himself STRONG amidst each new challenge to take the city for Christ. You stood firm at the helm encouraging us to stay in the Word and to declare what God spoke to you.He faithfully fought the battles for us one by one! Words cannot express mine and my families deepest regard for you and your diligent care over God's people. May you find your latter years GREATER than the former days and enjoy an even deeper richness of God's grace and favor upon your life ( Psa 92:12-15) Countless souls have been impacted for eternity because you perservered in standing your post. GREAT IS YOUR REWARD! I pray Number 6:24-26 over you and the Solomon household today! Forever Grateful, Michele R. Jones

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