Saturday, April 26, 2008

How'd You End up There? (pt.4)

The opening was at Moundford Free Methodist Church, here in Decatur IL. Almost exactly the same theologically as the Nazarene church. We interviewed, and it was found to be a great fit...for both the Church, and the Anderson family...

I gave my boss my 2 weeks notice, which didn't seem to surprise him...I think I'm okay with that. The hard part was giving notice to the small Nazarene church Sarah and I had been working with. It was mostly voluntary, but they were able to offer a small stipend for helping out also.

Over my 1+ years in part-time ministry, I learned many valuable lessons. Lessons that would make me recommend to anyone in ministry, to take a year or so someday, and try something like this. I would hope these things impact the ministry I'm in. A couple I'd want to highlight:

1. You are not what you do between 8am-5pm. It may be closely related at times...but our identity definitely NEEDS to come from somewhere else. ( I would still say that today, even though I'm getting paid to do something I love)

2. When you don't get paid to be involved in church, sometimes it's VERY tempting, and even restoring, to take a break on a given Sunday or Wednesday. Time with family, and times of rest are so rare these days....although I do believe in actively being a member of a Church family, I'll never think ill of someone taking a week or two off. I think too many times, we guilt people for missing one or two Sundays...that they find it easier to just stay away altogether. If you're one of those people.....sorry (on behalf of the church). Come, get involved in the lives of our community....and by all means...skip once in a while. I think it's healthy. Allows room/time to actually think/discuss about why to go in the first place. :)

3. Trust in God. He'll stay that way. Not wanting to slide into cliches, but seriously....from getting jobs, to a place to live, to more jobs, to finally THE job I believe God had in mind when we first moved here (oh, and Wheel of Fortune, which totally wouldn't have happened without living here)....and being surrounded by friends/family in an environment that has allowed us to build a foundation for a long time....it's reaffirming. There were many times during the transition that we wondered if we'd done the right thing. Hindsight is 20/20. No more wondering.

4. The "real world" jobs are sooo different than I imagined. It's not easy to just "bring up" Jesus to your co-workers. And most un-churched people I met already knew "everything" about Jesus and the Church. They just weren't interested. As the body of Christ, we need to ask "Do you know about Jesus?" a lot less, and live like Jesus lived a lot more.

So that's the REALLY long story, shortened into 4 easy-to-swallow chunks. I've been at this church for almost 2 years, and really hope/plan on being here for many many more, Lord Willing. I hope some or all of this has been/can be an encouragement to your story of trusting in God. It's a good thing to do, although if you asked me during my Pitney Bowes year, I would've had a much harder time believing that...it was still true.

Love and thanks to: my family (I know it's sometimes hard that we were led to Illinois over Michigan), our friends from the church in Iowa and Decatur, everyone who was on this journey with us at any point, and to our new church home/family here at Moundford. I believe God is here.

All of this story to say, Thanks God. And I know....you're not finished yet. :)

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