Sunday, May 27, 2012

getting off the couch (winds of change)


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.

I 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
Plus countless Pizza parties, Guys Nites of Awesome Manliness, Concerts, Gatherings, Revolutions, Overnighters, Swim parties, Video shoots, Game nights etc.

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.

About 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.

I've 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.

Over 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.

This 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.

This 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.

I 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,

Tim Beck

1 comment:

troy. said...

blessings on your journey...