It was over a year ago now that I started to feel a bit unsettled here. It is not that I didn’t like something about the ministry, but I just sensed God stirring me to something. I remember asking the Lord to make His will known in my life, but I really did not want to move. The truth is Cape Cod is a nice place to live and we have established ourselves here. We had three of our four children here and currently have two kids in school. Moving with youth children adds a while new level of stress and fear. I had no idea why I was even thinking like that. I prayed and set it aside.
Then in November of last year the church burned down. I thought maybe that was this stirring I was feeling. Maybe God was somehow preparing me for this big change. In the midst of all the chaos it definitely was set aside. I was very busy with day-to-day ministry items that all of this was forgotten. But God does not let something drop and one day there it was again. God, by His Spirit, pressing this on me once again. It was at this point that I said, “okay, Lord, whatever you want.”
Over the course of time God has led me to a place where I believed He was asking me to become a Senior Pastor. That made me laugh because I was only about a year removed from my Master’s degree where I did a thesis on longevity in youth ministry. I spent a considerable amount of time researching and thinking that whole thing through. My conclusion was that I was a youth ministry lifer. I did not want to be one of those guys who started in youth ministry and then moved on. God likes to surprise us, doesn’t he?
In the beginning of this year I started to feel like God was loosening the roots here. I recall hearing from a pastor friend of mine that before God moves you He needs to loosen the roots. That very thing was happening and I didn’t even know what that very thing was. This was new territory for me and I was being stretched.
I started to bring this subject up with my wife who always seemed to bring me back to reality. She did not have the same sense I did and I was okay with that. In fact I was looking for any excuse I could to get out of it. We went to a conference in June and God spoke very clearly to me that it was time for me to take this step. Of course my wife was not there yet, or so I thought. It was amazing how many different people and speakers during this conference brought this to mind.
I got home and was praying for God to make the path He had for us known. One night the flood gates opened. I had been on the phone and when I came out and talked with her she admitted that she had the same sense of stirring. That left us at an interesting place because what do you do with that? What was I supposed to do? Who was I supposed to contact? How does someone even try to process this all?
Little did I know that was just the beginning of a journey for us where God would open doors very obviously. There is much more to share from there. For now I just want to leave you with a thought that I had during this time period. I kept thinking about how God shows up in unexpected ways but with amazing results. I wasn’t even looking for it, but when God calls it needs to be noticed. Perhaps it is that we need to expect God to do the unexpected. Maybe we get a little too comfortable with our mapped out lives. I know God has put together something amazing for us and we are just getting started.
Have you ever been surprised by God? How?