John C. Richards, Jr. Steps Down as Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College to Serve in Pastoral Ministry

“Who is Ed Stetzer?” That was one of the first questions I asked the Human Resources department at Wheaton College after the school reached out to me about a Managing Director opening at their Billy Graham Center. Before then, our paths had never crossed. Why should they have crossed? I’m a Black guy raised in the National Baptist Church world. He’s a White guy who was Southern Baptist Convention affiliated.

And maybe that’s the rub. Two denominations. One created because of the racial animus of the other, mirroring other denominational trends that led to the necessary creation of the Historically Black Church. But here we are several decades later, by God’s providential grace, working together at the Center. Talk about irony of ironies.

Billy Graham is one of Ed’s most beloved figures. Martin Luther King, Jr. one of mine. Both shared an affinity for one another that I feel was reflective of the relationship between Ed and myself. There were days when Ed would blast classic 80s rock n’ roll and I’d throw a well-timed cultural counterpunch with the smooth sounds of Miles Davis. We couldn’t be more different, but God saw fit to bring us together—brothers in the Lord.

I’ve also consider the other employees at the Center to be my brothers and sisters. I got to spend the past two and a half years serving alongside this amazing team of men and women. Every member of our staff is passionate about gospel witness and equipping others for effective gospel witness. My time here with them has been both enriching and life-giving.

With that said, I have decided to spend the next season of my life in local church ministry and am stepping down from my position here at the Center. For me, this transition is bittersweet. I love our team and I love serving as a leader at the Billy Graham Center, but pastoral ministry calls and I am finally heeding that call.

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Source: Christianity Today