Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Big Changes for Us.....

This past Sunday, Adam read the following letter at our church......

Dear Highland family,                    
It was through God’s leading that we came to Highland over 8 years ago.   We came as a young couple with our first baby having just been born the week before we started.  I was eager to be in full-time youth ministry and eager to serve and be a part of this church.

And it is through God’s leading that we find ourselves taking a step of faith to go where He leads us next.  We have felt for some time that our season of ministry at Highland was coming to a close. We have waited for His leading on the matter. Our lives are not our own.  Our heart’s desire is to be at the center of His will and sensitive to His leading. 

Our decision is not made lightly. It has been bathed in prayer and counsel.  And it is followed with our heartache and sadness.

Effective today, I am turning in my resignation.  I will complete my 30 days of employment and finish my ministry as Youth Pastor at Highland Hills Baptist Church on April 20th.

We do not desire for our relationship with you to be severed.

For the past 8 years, you have been our friends and our family. And we are grateful.
Grateful to have been able to share a message from God’s word with your young people every week.
Grateful to see faith deepened and lives changed.
Grateful to have our family embraced and our children cared for and taught.
Grateful to have a greater understanding of how to love and serve.
Grateful for Slushie runs and Nerf games.
Grateful for moments of being humbled.
Grateful for the opportunities to forgive and opportunities to be forgiven.
Grateful to have a backyard and pool full of young people.
Grateful for your support and prayers.
Grateful to worship alongside you.
Grateful for the long bus and van rides.
Grateful for having you in our lives when I faced an unknown outcome and an 8-week hospital stay.
Grateful for being able to share with you in our love of Jesus and His life-saving message.
Grateful to have you as our friends and family.

We have similar sentiments that Paul shared with the church in Philippi:  We will thank our God every time we remember you….We will always pray with joy in our prayers for you because of our partnership in the gospel…And we are confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 

We are confident of God’s leading in our lives. And we are confident of His leading for the future of this church and the ministry it can have in this community. 

We covet your prayers in the days, weeks, and months ahead.  I will begin in the position of Director of Student Ministry at River Valley Church in Mishawaka, Indiana in early May.  Becca and the boys will finish out the school year here in Grand Rapids. Undoubtedly, we look forward to the ministry that God is calling us to there. But we do not look forward to the leaving of our lives here and the many changes that will be happening for us and our boys in a relatively short amount of time.  Pray for patience, peace, and comfort.  We will pray the same for you.

Highland Hills Baptist Church and the people that make it up will always, always have a special place in our hearts.  Thank you. 

Needless to say, there are some big changes coming for our family. We are VERY excited about what is next, but right now we are living in the moments of loss, change, and decisions. It hurts to say goodbye to people we dearly love. It hurts to have our kids say they don't want to move and not being sure of how to comfort and reassure them. It hurts to think about leaving this house that has been such a blessing to us, allowing us to do so much and host so many people. It hurts to lose the large network that we have built up over the years in this area (Adam, most of his life.....and as a married couple, the past 12.5 years).

I'm wanting to feel these things and I know its OK to grieve.....but I know I can't dwell there. And I don't intend to. But I know I'll probably have my days. We hope to maintain relationships, as well as make new ones. We know our kids will weather through this just fine. We trust that this is God's plan for us and God's plans are good.  And we believe that He will provide and be with us every step of the way.

Church is SUCH an integral part of our lives. We don't just attend somewhere. We throw ourselves into it and live our lives fully there, serving in various ways and having a desire to live life with those people, sharpening one another to be more Christ-like. This is not just a "job" to Adam. It's our LIFE! So, its very hard to say "goodbye" to one church body......but we are excited to say "hello" to another one.