Moral Contradictions

Monday, July 10, 2006

Glimpsing mountains in the valley

Last month marked the year anniversary of my wife's position as Youth & Children's Minister at Hillcrest. We were excited when we began because we had a place where we could both find our niche and really plug in and serve the Lord. Kristen, obviously, carried out the duties of her job as I helped out with various communication-based ministries (fancy words for sound, newsletters, and the website). We both worked with the after-school program each Wednesday, and pitched in where ever needed.

Yesterday she announced her resignation effective August 20 to the surprise of some, but not to others.

There's a flier outside the church office that says we are not to come to church just to be fed, but we must bring a spoon. In other words, we must be willing to serve, to work, and to sacrifice so as to glorify the Body, and in turn, receive spiritual nourishment. Or so my amateurish theology impacts my faith and works.

I won't go into much detail, but suffice to say, the past year has been very difficult for both of us - emotionally, physically, and most important, spiritually. It's time for both us and the church to move on. In many ways, we have a lot of healing to do.

One thing we noticed from the start was that Hillcrest is a church very much in transition. Once a rural church, suburbia is fast closing in. Unfortunately, due to past malformation and lack of a vision, the church is searching for an identity yet doesn't know how to find one. External growth factors are very positive - internal factors are styming potential for growth through discipleship, fellowship, and outreach. Just recently serious efforts have been initiated to foster spiritual development, and we pray that they will "grow legs" and help Hillcrest realize God's will. Exciting times await the church, yet the process will still be difficult. I know we will be praying for them as well as checking in with folks in the church as time goes on to see where they are.

We leave with mixed feelings, for positive lessons have been learned - about ourselves, our faith, and the universal church. Strangely to me, I've felt a call to go into some sort of ministry and will start seminary in September. (Wow. Me? I still can't wrap my head around that one) I feel like I have been able to make a "mark" in that church, and through serving in a behind-the-scenes way, discovered my passion for serving God's church and His people.

Kristen struggled to reach the youth and the church, as she had to combat a lack of discipleship and understanding of what church is. (I thought everybody knew!?) However, members were sweet Sunday as they are sad to see her go because progress has been made and she has made a mark as well.

While there, she re-discovered her love for urban ministry, and through a required internship with school she is assuming a position with Embrace Richmond, a great organization that ensures at-risk families do not find themselves back in a homeless shelter. In just a short amount of time this ministry is having a significant impact in inner-city Richmond, and I'm excited for her and this opportunity.

God works in very strange ways - one lesson I keep having to re-learn is that we cannot waste time wondering "I wish this would have happened differently" - we must learn from the past and push on forward. I have a hard head and oftentimes God has to work around that and teach me lessons the hard way.

Please pray for us as we make yet another life-change and move on beyond Hillcrest. My boss recently told me he wants to make me partner, which is a huge blessing financially as our budget is facing shrinkage. :)

Kristen's currently in Louisville at Passport with the youth until Saturday. Please pray for her as the youth group works through this transition and that they can learn to love Jesus more this week despite the distraction.

We feel very blessed by God as He has been very faithful to us throughout our marriage. Hopefully when Kristen has more time next month she can stop back by here and contribute a bit more, especially as she begins her new job.

I would like to thank all five of you for making it this far and for stopping by here to read my random musings and rants.



  • One must follow the call of God as one discerns it. It takes courage and faith. And so I comment both of you to God's care and direction (as Lutherans say in the night office, May his angels have charge concerning you that the wicked one have no power over you). Good luck (that always seems somehow an inappropriate remark in the context of Christian conversation). I hope this proves to be a good move for both of you.


    By Blogger Dwight P., at Wednesday, July 12, 2006 10:21:00 AM  

  • Thanks DwightP for the encouragment and 'luck' :)

    By Blogger Nathan, at Wednesday, July 12, 2006 12:49:00 PM  

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