The weekly gathering of the local church has played a significant role in shaping my life. Honest worship, heartfelt gospel preaching, humble repentance, and a hunger for prayer. I believe in the weekly gathering of the local church despite a cultural moment that aims to say its optional. We gather for the teaching of scripture, for corporate worship that stirs faith, and for prayer that stands firm in the belief that God is on the move. We gather expecting God to release spiritual gifts that build one another up. We gather because Christ called us to, and because of how it was beautifully modelled by the early church. I could go on, but I'll digress.
With the announcement of Pastor Chad's transition to APA this fall (if you've missed that announcement you can read about that here), I am looking forward to partnering with Pastor Derrick and serving our church both mid-week and significantly on Sundays by taking on the role of Gather Pastor. I believe that God has prepared me both in terms of gifting and experience for this next season of leadership. I feel at ease knowing He goes before my every step, and I feel confident in His sovereignty.
One of the areas the Gather Pastor oversees is worship. This ministry is close to my heart. We have a rich history of worship in our church, and I believe that's part of our anointing. The desire of my heart is that new songs will be written by our church; for our church. Songs that proclaim God's goodness and the truth and life of the Gospel. Through worship, repentance, and proclamation, I pray and believe that our Sunday gatherings will continue to be a place of transformation, a place where God's Spirit heals, renews, and restores us so that we can live missional lives in every space and place we occupy. I am excited to take on the responsibilities of Gather Pastor in pastoral care and oversight of worship, production, special events, and first impressions. To also work with Pastor Rob to build a bridge between Young Adult ministry and the development of Life Groups for adults and young families.
This transition means that starting August 1st I will move away from my role in Young Adults. In August 2020, my wife Rachelle and I were invited to pastor our Young Adult community at CLA. There had been a significant transition within our Young Adult congregation by sending our friend Jeremy King to help plant a vibrant, life-giving church in Vancouver. Not to mention, a global pandemic that was just rearing its head. As I look back on those years, I'm thankful to God for the resolve His Spirit enabled me to walk in. Those of you who are young adults, who have young adult kids or grandkids know how challenging those covid years were for that demographic. Mental health, change fatigue, and faith deconstruction were just a few of the obstacles. Our work was cut out for us.
Today as I look at our Young Adult community, I can see that it is vibrant. Glory to God. Miracles are happening, lives are being changed, and the Spirit is filling young adults anew and afresh. We are witnessing young people rejecting indifference and standing firm in their discipleship to Jesus as the gospel captures their hearts. It has been a gift to pastor this congregation for 3 years. It has grown and shaped me not only as a pastor but as a disciple of Jesus myself.
Pastoral ministry is beautiful, but often grief-filled, as you give your whole self to it. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But the truth is, this congregation has never been "mine"; it has always been God's. He is the chief shepherd. The chief shepherd has again done what He does best: He has cared for His flock, and has brought the right people for the right time.
This last year I've had Matt Bender on staff with me on our Young Adult team. He has assisted me in pastoral care, leading small groups, and in our gatherings with preaching and teaching. Matt, I believe, has been brought into our sphere by God for a time like this. On August 15th, Matt will take on the role of full-time Young Adult Pastor.
Matt and his wife Whitney love people. They're passionate about prayer and seeing people spiritually formed into life-long devoted followers of Jesus. I am confident in the leadership depth we've created within our young adult community. Matt will lead this congregation into a bright future in partnership with the Holy Spirit and I'm excited to cheer him on.
Will you join me in prayer for Matt as he takes on this new role, and pray for me in this transition as well?
Love you church.
God is on the move.