Taking Stock

It has been seven months since we moved across two states to relocate in central Arkansas and begin a new ministry.  We had been in middle Tennessee for 10 years, investing ourselves into the lives of the people there.  We had built close relationships with those to whom we ministered and it was an emotional adjustment to leave and pursue God’s will in a new place of ministry.  It was with mixed emotions that we moved…sadness to leave those we had come to love, and excitement about the new opportunities and challenges that lay ahead.  Now, seven months down the road, I want to take stock of these months of change.  Change is not usually easy, but always necessary for growth and progress.

If I could summarize these past months in just a few words, I would say it has been…

A Challenge and a Blessing

RELOCATION It’s never easy to relocate…changing addresses, banks, insurance agents and establishing local services, all offer challenges.  Our move was complicated by the fact that we did not have a home rented or purchased before our move.  The blessings far outweigh this complication, however.  The church provided the empty parsonage for us to live in while we searched for a home.  An awesome real estate agent in the church helped us to find the perfect home.  It is a nice home with which we hope to glorify God.  It belongs to Him.

NEW CHURCH Transitioning to a new church is a challenge as well.  When you spend years investing in the lives of people, establishing deep relationships and loving them, making a transition to a church where those relationships don’t exist is never easy.  This has been complicated by the fact that our new church is six times larger than the one from which we came.  However, once again, the blessings outweigh the challenges.  The new relationships we are building and the friendships we are gaining have been such a blessing.  The evidence that these  are becoming deep, spiritual relationships is clear.  We feel the acceptance and welcome by God’s people here and are enjoying the “culture” of the church…worship, relationships, service.

NEW MINISTRY December 16, 2008, was the day I received the call to consider a new ministry position at First Church.  It was obvious from that first conversation that it was a God-thing.  All the details of how God had prepared me for that open door are fodder for another blog at another time.  Suffice it to say that God had been making preparations for that door for 7 months.

Assuming a new ministry position, doing something that I had really never done before (although incorporating skills from various previous experiences), presented a challenge to say the least.  There has been a learning curve, which continues even now.  Learning the nuances and personality of a new ministry, getting my mind wrapped around the responsibilities of the position, getting to know people, co-workers and fellow pastors…all challenges.  Assuming the leadership of a new small group ministry that was launched by the staff prior to my arrival and buying in to the philosophy while trying to clarify and incorporate my vision…challenges.  Balancing administrative/management responsibilities with ministry/people responsibilities in a way that is effective and efficient…challenging.  However, the reward of seeing a support staff begin to gel into a team, working with a pastoral staff that wants to glorify God, seeing Him touch lives, people changing and experiencing real community, all outweigh the ongoing challenges of learning to lead in this ministry.

Looking Ahead

There is no doubt in my mind that we are exactly where God wants us.  As hard as it has been to increase the distance between us and our college-student daughter in Tennessee, God has made the transition one in which the blessings far outweigh the challenges.  More importantly, no matter the sacrifices or challenges, God has a plan.  There is no other place I would want to be than in the center of that plan.  That is where I can best hear His voice, best do His bidding and best see His hand touch lives…and I get to be a part of that!  Who could ask for more?

As I peer into 2010 my physical eyes can see only a short distance past my nose.  My spiritual eyes, however, can see that the plans of God will bring opportunities that will both change my life forever and impact others for eternity.  I can ask for nothing more or less for Twenty-Ten.

May God be glorified in it all!!

God has a plan for your life, too.  How has God shown Himself faithful to you in 2009?  What do you hope to see God do in 2010?

2 Responses to “Taking Stock”

  1. 1 Brian
    January 2, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Glad things are going well. We miss you here, but glad you’re following God where He leads.

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