Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Same journey, next chapter

"One of the hazards of being a pastor is that you are continually exposed to Gods prompting and movement.  It may be through the constant evaluation of His word, through sermons offered and received.  It might be through prayers offered and answered.  It might be through interaction with people whose paths you cross.  It may be a combination of them all.  Joanne and I have discovered in our lives that these promptings can begin as whispers, but eventually can become a relentless pushing that becomes difficult to ignore.  The process has been the same every time we've been led in our ministry lives.  It's how I ended up leaving an engineering career to pursue ministry.  It's how we landed at a younger church in New York.  It's how we ended up at an older church in West Seattle.  Over the course of 24 years we've learned what it feels like to be called.  It is important for you to know that Pastors are not immune to God's word.  It has the same power to prompt those of us who teach it as it does for those who hear it....."
This is how I began our announcement to my faith community this past Sunday that, because of a series of promptings,  Joanne and I will be moving at the end of Summer into the neighborhood that we in Seattle know as South Lake Union in order to plant a new church.  I was grateful to be able to finally invite this incredible community into the journey that we have been walking with only a very few individuals these past few months.  I will say that, although we were very optimistic about what the reaction to this news might be, we were and continue to be overwhelmed by the love, support, encouragement and excitement offered by the people that we've journeyed through life with for more than a decade.  While sorrowful to a point, I am proud to serve with a community that has overwhelmingly received this news as one more opportunity that they/we can be  actively and missionally followers of Jesus who see the larger kingdom before our personal ones.  A body of people, faithfully willing to follow Christ with attitudes such as this will accomplish much for the kingdom.  In fact, Jesus statement to Peter about the Church that "the gates of hell will not prevail against it" is most appropriate to this group.  I am honored to have been considered a pastor to this group.  I cherish the next months that we have and I covet the excitement, encouragement, and prayers for a new journey and most importantly for people that we don't even know for whom we are starting this next chapter.  It will and does pull at our hearts to know that we will not be personally involved in the great future of our current community, but I am proud to have part of the leading up to the next great opportunity here.  Every bit of our life here prepared us for what God already knew would be the great need there.  Every journey is comprised of steps, one after the other.  The only time the journey stops is when we quit stepping out. 

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