Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Huge Announcement

There comes a time in every man's life when he must grow up and move on. This year is marking much of that reality for me. In January I still had a full year to go in school and no real next step for after school. I had an idea, but it was faint and fleeting. Had I come all this way at Trinity - learned two dead languages, taught how to preach more effectively, developed a love for theology and certain theologians, fostered an ability to ask the right questions, was given the tools to attempt to answer those questions, etc. -- and not come out on the other side with a role or position to actually apply all this wonderful training?

This is the question that pops up regularly. The conversation goes:

"When do you finish school?"
"It's looking like it'll be December?"
"Oh that's great! Congrats! What's next, then?"
"Next? What do you mean next? I'm supposed to do something after Trinity? I...I don't know."
"Oh...something will happen, I'm sure."
"Thanks for the reassurance."

Back in April I began inquiring about some opportunities, but was left with nothing. Then summer hit and I battled my way through two fairly difficult summer classes while taking some opportunities to preach and also cultivating the budding relationship I am currently in (which is just plain fantastic). As my second summer class began an opportunity popped up in a very unlikely place to work at a church in a pastoral role I felt ill-suited to perform effectively. However, thanks to a close friend, I was encouraged to pursue it. What's the worst that could happen, right?

After sending in my resume, answers to a few mock scenarios, and several phone conversations, I was flown out to the church in order to meet everyone in person and do a series of interviews there. I reconnected with the close friend who encouraged me to pursue the job, saw the church and how everything functioned, met the pastor who I would be working under, and saw the sites of this wonderful city. I returned home not knowing if I had the job, but that was okay; by this point I was thrilled to have gotten this far. Meanwhile, another job was offered to me in a way that took me completely by surprise. So, if you're keeping track, by September of this year I had two very solid job opportunities before me, one offered and the other likely, when as late as July I had no idea what was next!

To make an already long story short, I ended up turning down the job that was first offered to me to take the job at the church that was eventually offered to me in the middle of September.

This is the sweet building for MHUD,
located near The Ave, which is the heart
 of the social life for the University of
So at the end of December, after Christmas, I will pack my car and begin the drive to Seattle to work at Mars Hill Church! More specifically, my role will be Executive Deacon (akin to an Executive Pastor, but I have to go through the eldership process first) of Mars Hill U-District (U-District stands for "University District" because of the University of Washington) where I will serve under Lead Pastor, Matt Jensen, and will be reunited with that close friend and former boss in CRU, Jimmy Trent.

In straight-up, legit honesty this role is an answer to prayer. When I was asked about next steps I thought of my ideal situation that would include a mixture of using my training and developing more tools which focus on the so-called "business" side of church. This role allows me that opportunity. Furthermore, I wanted something that would stretch me and leave me in a position to rely regularly on Christ and not my own strength. Again, though I may be gifted in some areas for this job, on the whole I feel very inadequate. This is a role that I believe will lead me to a place of greater humility and dependence on God while I get to serve His people and watch Him continually do amazing things through Mars Hill by His Spirit.

I graduate December 16th. I begin my drive December 27th. I begin my job December 30th. Whirlwind. So for now, with three classes finished an only two more left, I am beginning some major transition with school, with friends, with church. If you pray to God through Jesus Christ, please pray for all that will go down over the next two-plus months. This is huge and I have a feeling there's still more to come before I leave...

By His Grace.