As I sit in my office, staring out the window at the landscape I’ve seen for 10 years now, I can’t help but wonder what God has planned. Fear, anxiousness and doubt is welling up inside of me. I’m praying that God will fend them off. I’m praying that God will deliver me from the rising army of the unknown. I believe He will.
In the coming weeks, I begin a new chapter of my journey. In the coming weeks, I will be stepping away from Okolona Christian Church, my church home and my church family for the past 10 years, to embark on what I can only describe as a parted red sea. I’ve stood at the mouth of this divide wanting so desperately to cling to the rocks of the shore. But I have to admit, the Spirit can lay it on thick. :) I’ve prayed, begged, cried and wrestled with God on this decision, but what I know is that when He calls I have to step forward.
Beginning September 3, I will be stepping into the role of Worship Leader to Southeast Christian Church’s Elizabethtown Campus. A role that will be a complete change and challenge for me in both my walk and ministry. Within the next year, my family and I will be moving to E-town to fully invest in the community there.
Some of you may ask the question of why are you leaving? You know, I ask myself the same thing. Why leave the place that has loved and cared for me for a decade? Why leave the family and friends that mean so much to me, who have seen me at my best and seen me at my worst and still loved me? Honestly, you can blame it on my wife. While doubled over in the confusion of a decision, she asked me a simple question. “What decision requires more faith?” She stopped me in my tracks. Why did she have to put it that way? The reason is because there is no better question than that for me. See my whole life, I’ve been afraid -- afraid of what I cannot see and what I can’t control. It’s honestly been exhausting. If I truly want to live the way I challenge others to live then I have to let go of control and stop being afraid.
The reason I’m leaving is not because someone wronged me, pushed me away or because I’m angry. The reason I’m leaving is simply because of Jesus. I heard His voice asking me to walk in faith not in sight. When Jesus calls, we must step out.
3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize His voice and come to Him. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. - John 10:3
Faith requires us to look past what we can see and the comfort of where we are and follow blindly even if we don’t know what’s next. I didn’t want to make a decision because of anything other than God’s calling. Frustration, comfort, preferences, or even dislikes are not faith-based Knowing the voice of your Shepherd and following Him is faith-based.
I say all of this, holding very dearly to the truth that I am where I am today because of the people of Okolona Christian Church. Thank you to all the people who encouraged me when I was a clueless intern. To all of you who loved on me when I didn’t feel good enough. To all of those who celebrated with me in the growth of our family and ministry. To those of you who challenged me and pushed me. You will forever hold an irreplaceable home in our hearts. Please know that we love you and are humbled by your love for us.
I’m excited to see what God is going to do through OCC and I want to challenge each of you to come together and allow the Holy Spirit to work in this church. I’m so thankful to our leadership for giving me a chance and a home to do ministry. This church has been blessed by so many caring and loving people, especially our leadership. Please don’t ever forget or misunderstand the wrestle that each one of them has in wanting to know that God is glorified and that you are mobilized. They lose lots of sleep from the weight of leading a large congregation. Be sure to love on them and encourage them as you have done to me and my family. Come alongside of them and glorify God in the efforts of this church.
I’ll leave you with this from the words of Paul:
23 Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters, and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. 24 May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ. - Ephesians 6:23-24