Melissa and I are excited to share with you where God is leading us in the next stages of our life and ministry together.
If you've followed the blog you might recall that I resigned my position at The Journey in February with no concrete idea of what God was calling us to do or where to go. I knew I wanted to teach, preach and write. I also knew I wanted to do pastoral counseling and be an influencing voice to churches regarding ministry vision and strategy.
About four months ago I was contacted by Grace Church in Racine, Wisconsin to see if I might be interested in their lead pastor position. After lots (and lots) of interviews, prayer, phone calls, emails, Skype sessions, and an extended visit to Racine by the whole family, I was invited to preach at Grace on July 10th.
So, I have accepted the call to become the lead pastor at Grace, beginning sometime over the next few weeks. I am excited to start a new phase of ministry, and am eager to step into a job that allows me to use my best gifts for the encouragement and building up of the church.
With the excitement of this new ministry opportunity comes the sadness over leaving St. Louis. This is has been my home for eight years, and Melissa has been here for 14 years. We met, married, started new careers, welcomed three children, bought our first (and second) home...we did our "growing up" here! We have been truly blessed with many faithful friends and it is hard to leave them, at least in terms of physical proximity and daily ministry. It has been our privilege and joy to serve in this wonderful community, to celebrate, pray, mourn, laugh, and serve with these brothers and sisters in Christ. It is bittersweet, leaving a home, neighborhood, and neighbors we love.
We take solace, though, in the knowledge that if it was easy to leave St. Louis, we would not have been doing real ministry here. It's hard to leave because it's been good to live here, and it's been good to live here because we've been serving God and following his lead.
He's still leading, and we're still following. Next stop: Racine, Wisconsin.