The past three days have been a whirlwind for me, for my family and for our student ministry. It's been 72 hours of the lowest of lows and highest of highs. I've been emotionally spent, relationally energized and spiritually excited all at the same time! Gasp - I feel like a female!~ (sorry ladies)
Monday, after six months of discussions on direction and differences, I resigned, during our elder meeting, as student pastor at Redeemer. Ironically, it became the best elder meeting I'd been to in a year, as much love, genuine prayer and mutual encouragement was shown by all of us and I'm sooooo grateful for that! I then left the meeting so they could discuss things, went by ooh la la, grabbed two cheesecakes, went home to Jean, ate cheesecake and cried. Dang - I don't even remember tasting that expensive dessert! Six years of pouring my heart and soul into these students and into these families was going to change. And as sure as I am that God wants us elsewhere, it was rough! But somehow, being in the arms of my girlfriend and my Lord, I felt amazingly secure! (ok, dessert helped)
Tuesday night Jean and I sat down with our son and daughter and let them know. This was VERY hard, but I am so amazed by their responses! Drew (16)just wanted the facts, no emotions, just the facts. Then he told us he was sad but that when he gets married he's going to go to Redeemer! How awesome is that! All he has seen us do is love our church and he wants to keep doing the same! Jessica (11), on the other hand, was an emotional wreck for 2 hours! Crying uncontrollably and worried that she'd never see her church friends, not have over nighters with their families, etc.... What a privilege it was for Jean & I to just hold her tight and, even though things will be different, assure her that she'd still get to see church friends and families. And in the middle of it all, she says, "I don't want anyone else to be my youth pastor because you're the best youth pastor ever." Yeah, now I was balling!
Wednesday night was when we got to talk with our senior high students. Our church sent a letter out that afternoon so parents could talk with them first. I felt the need to have our study and focus on the Lord first, but I doubt any will remember much about the study! Many of them had already had talks with their parents and arrived teary eyed, so needless to say it was an emotional night - but one of the most encouraging nights we've ever had with these students! These students are THE most amazing community - the kind all of us dream of and few get to be a part of! Their tears for us, their prayers for us, their deep words of encouragement for us, the scriptures shared towards us, etc... these students gave us "a taste of glory divine" (they probably wouldn't know that song but y'all know what I mean)! I'm humbled, so encouraged and absolutely honored to have Known Jesus & Made Him Known together with them! And hahahaha, they all said they're gonna follow us wherever we end up! STUDENTS ROCK! After these past three days, I am emotionally spent, yet relationally energized and spiritually excited!
When I left Iowa to go to Colorado Christian University to study youth ministry, people asked me, "Are you sure?" My response, "I don't know...I think so." Then when I left CCU to become youth pastor at Katy Bible Church, people asked me, "Are you sure?" My response, "I don't know...I think so." Then, when I was leaving KBC after 15 1/2 years to become student pastor at Redeemer, people asked me, "Are you sure?" And my answer, "I don't know...I think so." And now, having loved on students & families at Redeemer for these past six years and resigning, I'm asked again, "Are you sure?" And my answer is the same, "I don't know...I think so." But where does faith come in if we never trust God for unknown things?!~ And so we again step out in faith to the unknown (unknown by us, not unknown by God) and trust our Lord.
Here is what I told the students...
FIVE THINGS I DO KNOW: (Ok, I know more than five things, but these are the ones that relate to this)
1 - This has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with our student ministry!
- We ABSOLUTELY LOVE y'all!
- We LOVE Knowing Jesus together and Making Him Known together!
- We LOVE the welcoming, safe atmosphere & community that y'all represent!
- AND we're not wanting to dump y'all. I'm not dead, we're not moving away and we're still gonna be around!
But our student ministry is part of a larger body called Redeemer Church, and we've been unable to resolve our differences.
2 - We still feel VERY called to student ministry and VERY called to this community!
- So, we're searching for another student ministry in this area and we'll keep y'all informed as to where we end up!
3 - I'm gonna keep teaching & meeting with students!
- I can't stop doing this - Knowing Jesus & Making Him Known with students is my passion!~
- AND, as we're searching and waiting on the Lord to show us what's next, I'm not gonna' be sitting around (duh)!
- Until Feb 6th, I'll be working at finding people to take over current ministries like reFuel, FUSION, Sunday morning, etc...
- I'll be offering myself to local ministries to: speak at their youth meetings, retreats & camps, do evangelism training, etc...
- I also plan to continue to disciple students (if them and their parents wish to)!
- If I'm not speaking, I plan to lead a youth meeting at our place. Not a lot of details yet, but there are a lot of students that come right now who don't attend a church and we want to continue to open up our home!
- I plan to continue to work with Katy Area Youth Ministries to plan great events like we've been doing together!
4 - We will miss y'all TONS!
- After February 6th, we won't be at Redeemer, and we'll miss that fellowship with y'all!
- But, like I said, we WILL be around and available! AND, when we land somewhere, we'll let y'all know!~
5 - We'd LOVE to answer any questions you have!
- News like this is never easy, but just grab us, we treasure the relationship we have with each of you!
Trusting HIM, Seeking what He has next for us, and eating cheesecake...