Last Sunday morning in worship four of our
youth carried in a couch and placed in the center of the Sanctuary stage
to symbolize the tendency to stay 'comfortable' and play it safe rather
than taking the appropriate risks God may be calling us to take.
can remember thirteen plus years ago, a time when I was fulfilling a
life long dream of working in the television industry, when God began to
plant seeds of change within my heart. Through conversations and
nudging from a close friend and pastor, I began to see and understand
God's true calling in my life. I prayed and discerned and eventually a
door was opened. I decided to take a risk as I stepped aside from a
career in broadcast media so that I could answer the call to student
ministry and begin my tenure as a youth pastor.
Thirteen years. It's been an amazing journey.
416 Sunday night Youth Focus meetings (give or take)
240 Thursday Bible Studies (give or take)
190 Girl Talk Bible Studies (give or take)
117 Leadership Team gatherings
90 'Sup discipleship meals
70 Football parkings
60 Breakfast Clubs
29 Winter Jam retreats (Junior High, Senior High, Post High)
14 weekend youth retreats (to Atwood, Punderson & Wanake)
12 CYF camps.
12 Mission Trips.
8 Sunrise services.
5 Ichthus or Alive Music Festivals
5 5th Quarter Parties
3 Maundy-Thursday services
countless Pizza parties, Guys Nites of Awesome Manliness, Concerts,
Gatherings, Revolutions, Overnighters, Swim parties, Video shoots, Game
Lots of great memories. Lots of great God
moments. Lots of great students. I sincerely cherish and love every
student who has ever sat on a couch in the youth lounge, shared a meal
at our table, traveled the back roads to our fall retreat location,
journeyed together to serve God in mission or has been a part of the
Christ UMC Youth group in any other way, great or small. I have so many
fond memories. I've spent the better part of my life hanging with
teenagers, doing my best to be an example of Jesus to them all. We've
shared in our successes and failures - and I am so thankful that I
answered that calling and took that risk.
I have no regrets.
five years ago, my father passed away unexpectedly. As much as I was
mad at God for taking him away, I knew that God was with me. As Psalm
30:5 says "weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the
morning." Through that I began to sense that God had something else in
store for me but I didn't know what. I went through a period of deep
soul searching and self discovery. That lead to some great years of
ministry for the CUMC youth, I believe. As a leader I felt fresh and
renewed, despite my wondering of what was to come, but through it all
God was again planting seeds of change within my heart.
never been one to want to play it safe and have always thrived on
newness and change, despite the nervousness and anxiety that comes with
it. After a strong period of renewal, I began to sense that God had
another plan for me. It was tough to even allow myself to be open and
willing to discover that plan. I know that God is in control and has
plans for us all, but answering a new calling can be scary for anyone.
the past few months, I believe I began to understand what it was that
God was leading me to. The seeds of change were beginning to spout. It
was time for me to seek out my next step. Even though I'm fully
confident that God could use me to bring about his greater good as a
youth pastor at Christ UMC, I realized that He had another plan.
brings me to one of the most bittersweet moments in my life. It's with
sadness that I tell you that I will be leaving the Christ United
Methodist Church community in July of this year but am nervously excited
to be transitioning to a new position at the Wadsworth United Methodist
Church, in Wadsworth, Ohio as their Director of Discipleship. This a
big risk for me. It means uprooting my family from the community of
Louisville, a community that I love and have called home for all but 11
years of my life. It means stepping away from my passion for youth
ministry and from the wonderful students that I humbly serve. It means
saying goodbye to a church family that has been a monumental part of my
life and faith. But I need to be faithful to God's calling. I need to
take this risk for Him because He has called me to do it.
new opportunity is in front of me and with it I aim to help people
navigate the discipleship process so that they may know and understand
what it means to be a follower of Jesus; to help them discover their
spiritual gifts, abilities and calling through practices and teachings
that will help develop their spiritual formation and to compel them to
go and be the hands and feet of Christ, through genuine service to the
poor, the needy or anyone they may encounter in life. I will also be
given a chance to use my creative gifts and media background to help
strengthen this new discipleship process for the people of Wadsworth.
I hope for the best for the 'Alien Uth'
of CUMC. I will do my best to help make for a smooth transition to
whomever else may lead the youth group. I wholeheartedly believe that
God has someone else in mind to take the group to the next level.
love and appreciate all of you who have taken the time to be a part of
the youth ministry of CUMC: past, present and future; the awesome
students and dedicated adult volunteers, the prayer warriors and
faithful supporters. You all mean the world to me. God has used you to
shape my soul as much as I hope he has allowed me to shape yours. Jen
and I both have been truly blessed.
I hope and pray that
you will come to know and understand the calling God has placed upon
your life. I trust and pray that you might continue to follow Jesus and
his teachings. I hope you might be compelled to live out your faith
and to share your stories with the world - so that God's kingdom might
be made greater as you share with others the love of Jesus.
Thanks again. Much love to all of you.
Humbled and thankful,