May 5, 2006

Starting Over

Last week, my family and I relocated from Kansas City to Dayton, Ohio. But this is more than just a relocating for a new job or to be closer to family, this is a dramatic change in life direction.

6 years ago, I moved to a small, bedroom community to plant a church. I wanted the church to be different from any I had seen in my current denominations. I wanted it to be relational, contemporary, seeker-aware, and outreach oriented. I wanted to plant a church that would serve the poor and the hurting of the community, and reach the lost. It was the most difficult and life-changing experience of my life so far.

So far!

After a year or so in the church plant I became bi-vocational. I started working for our denominational publisher as an editor and writer. I loved the work I did and the people I did it with. In fact, that job made it possible for me to continue planting the church both financially and emotionally.

In the summer of last year, I began to feel that God was going to call me and my family in a different direction. Little did I know how different!

It started with an e-mail to a pastor of a large, progressive church in my hometown of Dayton, Ohio. I was surprised when he responded to the e-mail with his cell phone number and an invitation to spend a weekend at his house. I accepted the invitation. We began a phone conversation that ranged on different topics concerning church planting, vision, and personal stuff.

At the end of the weekend with him in October, he invited me to move back to Dayton, and intern with him in preparation for the church plant God would call me to next.

Dayton was the last place I wanted to go. Don't get me wrong, I love Ohio and Dayton (some would think this is crazy, but I love it). I just thought that being around family would drive me crazy. After praying about it, my wife and I decided to pursue to opportunity.

It felt like it took forever, but it actually only took a few months. We had to tie up a few lose ends, and finally put our house up in April. Our house sold in less than two weeks, and we were in Ohio in less than six.

I left my church, my job, my friends, and move 700+ miles to Dayton. I also left the denomination I had worked in for the last 14 years. I had to resign my ordination credentials as well.

It feels like I am starting over. In fact, I am starting over. I am at the bottom of the totem pole, and I have to earn the trust and respect of those around me all over again. I am not only starting a new job in a new city, I am starting a whole new life.

I don't know exactly what God has in store for me in the future, but I am sure He is the one who was and is leading. Only He knows what the future holds.

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