Today is not just Chel’s birthday, it’s a special day for another reason…
One year ago tonight, Chel and I laid together in the bed at the Hampton Inn here in Bellevue as we anticipated the changes that were about to come into our lives.
Chelsea and I both grew up at Family Church. FC invested in us beginning when we were Jr. High students and continued to teach us that there was “no Holy Spirit Jr.” Some of you will get that later…anyway… They taught us from a young age that it wasn’t just an option for us to do what the adults did (as far as ministry was concerned), but we were expected to do so. Over the years, we led small groups for teenagers, led worship for teenagers, started a young adult ministry, and worked with the worship ministry. Through a series of events (none that were negative), God was closing doors for ministry at FC and opening doors in other places.
Through some local friends, our information was passed to the Pastoral team for a church launch (UC). We drove up on Saturday, August 19th, 2006 and spent the day with Joe, Pam, and the UC staff. We got a whirlwind tour of West Nashville and set through a 3.5 hr interview at Starbucks, surveyed the soon-opening Bellevue YMCA, and finished with dinner at Carrabba’s. We laughed uncontrollably with Joe and Pam, then they dropped us back off at the Hampton. Chel and I went upstairs and called our parents and cried, and cried, and cried. There was no job offer on the table, but we knew we were coming to Nashville.
We heard a message the next morning at Two Rivers that confirmed, and then received 3 phone calls on the way home that confirmed what we knew. The entire next week was a series of another 7 or 8 confirmations. God only has to say “go” once, but he knew what we were dealing with, so He humored us. It was a couple of more weeks before we got the official confirmation, but then we went through the tough process of letting FC-ers know. Lunch with Bro. Bill, tears shed with the choir, tears shed with Extravagant Love, tears shed with the family.
We moved here a little later (I’m sure I’ll write something that date as well). I cannot even begin to express how life has changed over the past year. Our lives are radically different. We hear from almost everyone that comes up how different we are. Life doesn’t get to be about us quite so much. Ministry always requires sacrifice, but a church plant is even tougher. I’m not going to play the martyr for you, but I will say church with 1,500 and church with 150 are two totally different creatures.
I can’t begin to say how thankful I am for how we’ve been changed by this experience so far. I want to say “thank you” to the UC staff and to the Lord for the opportunity to be a part of this. So while I look back and am grateful for the experiences and opportunities we’ve had this far – for every new friendship, every life changed, and every calling fulfilled, I cannot wait to see what the future holds.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.