Shared with Redeemer Church at the June 2013 Members Meeting regarding our discernment of God’s will for the next chapter in our life:
Just under seven months ago, a day came when, for the first time in my life, I could say with certainty that I desire to enter full-time ministry, and I am willing to pursue that desire, even if that means (1) walking away from an established career in a respected, well-paying profession, (2) embracing a great deal of uncertainty, and (3) accepting a significantly different standard of living and lifestyle. I brought this to Ashley and discovered that the Spirit had brought her to the same place: she too desires for us to partner together to pursue full-time pastoral ministry and is willing to let go of everything to follow God’s calling for our life, whatever that might be.
Certainly this has been a long time coming, and it would take far more time than I have today to walk through all the ways in which God has been working in our hearts over the last ten years, in particular, to bring us to this point. Suffice it to say that He has greatly accelerated the changes in our hearts over the last year and a half, fanning into flame an ever-increasing passion to minister to God’s people and tearing down walls that were inhibiting us from taking steps in this direction: walls supported by the fear of man, concern over our image before others; walls supported by the misplaced joy on comfort, ease, security, and possessions; and walls supported by struggles with thoughts of inadequacy – to name but a few of our battles with sin through which the Lord has been changing us.
After talking and praying through these things for a time, we brought our aspirations to two of the elders. Neither of them were surprised by our news, and they began helping us to work through our motives and thinking and to discern the Lord’s will for our life. I’ve met with them one-on-one numerous times over the last six months and have participated in the Pastoral Discipleship training under them this semester. Additionally, I’ve met with about a dozen other Care Group leaders, including each of the staff. We’ve met with fellow members of the North Care Group, as well as numerous other members of Redeemer, and some who have moved away. I’ve also sought the counsel of men whom I’ve ministered alongside in the Metroplex Christian Hockey Association for many years, fellow believers whom I’ve worked alongside professionally for many years, and numerous close friends who know me well and have heard me share the Word at a few campground worship services. And, of course, we’ve met with family members as well.
To skip ahead to where we are today, after walking with the elders and so many others, we believe that some of the equipping of which I am still in need can be found in a seminary classroom (while some cannot). Furthermore, we believe the Lord is leading us to pursue that equipping at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, and thus we’re preparing to move out there on July 11.
The Lord has been extraordinarily gracious toward us throughout our preparations! To name but a few ways:
- Acceptance into the Master of Divinity program at Southern Seminary.
- Ashley being able to interview for, and eventually securing, a sixth-grade teaching position at a classical academy while we were in town visiting the campus and searching for housing.
- The rapid sale of our home at asking price.
- The rapid sale, in a one-day garage sale, of many possessions with which we needed to part.
- Provision of an expense-free place to live between the sale of our home in April and our departure for Louisville in July.
- Securing, from a distance, an affordable apartment in which to live once we arrive in Louisville.
- My 4-month notice with my employer being well received.
As far as outstanding prayers, you can pray for me to secure part-time employment while attending classes full-time, for us to quickly find a church home with whom we can partner for the cause of Christ in Louisville, and for strength of heart as we prepare to leave Redeemer and all of our other family and friends in Texas.