What I Will Miss the Most/What I Won’t

Well we just moved to Massachusetts. All the major things are well and we are doing our best to unpack boxes and find stuff. Susan continues to do well with her pregnancy though she is really looking forward to having our baby girl soon. The boys seem just as happy in this house as they did at 5 Akers. My in-laws came up to help and we don’t know where we would be without them. This is such a bittersweet time as we leave such a special place. We had so many great friendships and many great blessings. At the same time, I am so excited about serving at Grace Chapel. I love my job description and am really looking forward to this next chapter. I wish all of my friends could relocate with us but I at least can be thankful that we already have some friends here in the area. One of my closest friends lives 1.2 miles from our new house and there is a number of people I’ve known for most of my life up here. I’m just thankful that this transition didn’t lead us to Maine.

I’m on a Bolt bus headed back to Montvale, I forgot my toothbrush and my car. So I thought I’d try to blog a little. I know it’s not deep and theological but at least it’s true … for me. And no, I didn’t really forget my car but left it so my wife wouldn’t have to drive (I’m making her move 9 months pregnant, the least I can do is drive for her, right?)

What I Will Miss the Most:
Our Community
We have great friends here. Our kids have great friends.
We have amazing students in our ministry.
Living next door to my senior pastor and his family. They were so good to us.
Serving the Kingdom with my youth worker friends.

What Else I Will Miss:
The Fireside Room
Walking into our boys’ bedroom, remembering when it was a home office and praying over them.
Pastor Chris’ Laugh (I’ll miss Chris too :)
The front of the church sanctuary
Walking out my back door with my bag and a big mug of french-pressed coffee for my 100 feet commute.
Yankee Stadium 22 miles from my house.
The YES Network
The Porterhouse Pub
The pizza and bagels

What I Am Happy To Leave Behind:
Introducing myself as being from Jersey and being asked about the Jersey Shore show.
The evil church copy machine
The dark “Narthex”
Making the left turn on to Grand Ave.
Church pews

(Aside from the obvious answer of serving at Grace Chapel and making new friends)
What I Am Looking Forward To:
Using the word wicked as an adjective
Learning as much Arabic as some of my friends here (which is like 10 more words, sah ya ustaz?
Among many attractions, showing the kids the colonial history of New England
The Yankees and Red Sox Rivalry on enemy territory. (I may set a record for the shortest tenure at GC ;)
Getting back to a steadier life rhythm.
Which will help the blog. It seemed necessary to take a break during this transition and post about our family transition but I really look forward to reflecting and rambling about other things soon.

We’re Moving To Boston

So long story short, we’re moving to Boston.
I’ve accepted a position as the Pastor of Community Life at Grace Chapel in Lexington, MA. I’ll be serving in this community life ministry (similar to small groups) in a number of ways: recruiting/training community life leaders, serving at Family Community Night and encouraging further participation in this ministry. I will also be serving in adult discipleship, assisting with young adults and will be the “campus pastor” of the Sunday night alternative worship service. There are other aspects to the job description but this is a fair summary. I am really looking forward to serving with this staff. Everything I mentioned above is serving in conjunction with the other pastors and I’m look forward to being a part of the team. May the Lord lead us.

What We Prayed For
That God would closed doors and open doors. We also prayed that God would give us the grace to handle the closed ones and the courage to walk through the open ones. These are dangerous prayers.

Why Leave Montvale?
Yep you guessed it, it’s because of that office copier.

I know I put up this question and I know that I’m not going to answer it directly (because this is just a blog) but I also know that some are asking so here it goes.

As excited as we are to be a part of Grace Chapel, we are so saddened to leave this place. This is very, very true. We are thankful to the Lord for allowing us to be here. As I said in my resignation letter to the church, this place is special for so many reasons. It’s a wonderful congregation, has a very special youth group with amazing volunteer leaders, and it’s here that we began our family. So why leave?  There is nothing dramatic but in short, we’re feeling that this chapter is nearing an end and we sensed the Lord leading to a new one.

I know those spiritual sentences are somewhat confusing but I’ll add this – we have been seeking the Lord’s will on a number of aspects for some time and it’s been through a prayerful search that we’ve reached this point. If you have ever been through a search like this, you’ll remember that it’s more than jobs you are searching through; you are also searching through your heart as well. As I mentioned earlier, these prayers can be “dangerous”.

Why “Leave” Youth Ministry?
I love youth ministry. I love students. I especially love ministering to our students. And I am intentionally not using the past-tense in any of those statements.  If you know me, I think it’s safe to say that I have a broad range of interests concerning the Church.

There is a part of me that really believes that I could serve in youth ministry for the rest of my career. There is another part of me that wishes to pursue some of these other interests, like the missional church in today’s context. This is also why I liked it here; I was able to do both to some extent. I tend to think that God extends a certain measure of freedom in our calling and I now think He has opened a door for me and my family.

Further, while students will always have a special place in my heart, as other opportunities were becoming available, I found myself drawn more to them then starting over at another youth ministry. There’s so much that I like about our youth ministry and while I know you cannot “copy and paste” something to somewhere else, I’m not sure that I would not have tried. I hope our students understand this as a compliment. All this said, I do hope that I am able to serve students in some capacity where ever I am.

Why Go to Grace Chapel?
Because Red Sox fans need the hope of Jesus too ;)
I’ll leave the rest of that for another post.