Hello Church Family,
As many of you heard at church, our family has some big news to share with you. After many months of prayer and seeking God’s will, I have accepted a position as the Lead Youth Pastor at Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel, Connecticut. I will begin my new position on March 2, which means that February 22 will be my last Sunday on staff. While it is difficult to leave so many wonderful friends and family in a place that we love, Heather and I are both confident that God has been preparing us for this move for some time now. During this long process, I have often said that I was not looking for just a good church job. I already had one! Instead, our family was seeking to find out where God was positioning us for the next phase of our ministry, and we are confident that He has led us to that next phase at Walnut Hill. In fact, Heather and I have felt a calling to minister in New England for some time now, we just didn't know when. It is exciting to see something we have felt for a long time fulfilled in this next stage of our ministry!
This process is very exciting for us, but it also comes with sadness. Covenant is where God called me into full-time ministry, and I have grown so much during my time here. I have learned a great deal from my experience in youth, college, young adult, and now adult ministry at Covenant, and I am grateful for the many lessons I will take with me. Our boys were born during our time at Covenant and dedicated in front of the church. Two of our boys have been baptized here. It is the only church home that any of them have known. Heather has had the privilege of worshiping with you from stage for ten years now. You are our church family, and we treasure the relationships we have with you. There have been late nights filled with many deep (and some not so deep) conversations. You have trusted me to teach and lead mission trips and mentor countless students over the past decade. Together, we have freed slaves, fed orphans, helped families start over after devastating hurricanes, and met many, many other needs in our community with the hope of Jesus Christ. It has been a great privilege to serve alongside you. These types of relationships will not simply disappear, but they will become more complicated as we move further away. In the midst of our excitement at where God is calling us, we will also continue to grieve what we are leaving behind.
That said, our hope is not to simply leave Covenant. Our desire is to be sent by you into our next ministry. To that end, Covenant is going to be ordaining me and sending me to Connecticut to serve God there in an ordination ceremony and reception on Sunday, February 8, at 4:00pm in the Worship Activity Center. We would love to see you there! Even more, we ask for your prayers. Specifically, pray for our boys as they transition to a new area and away from friends and family here. Pray for Heather as she discerns the best way to use her giftings in this new setting and as she looks to develop a supportive network of friends. Pray for me to have wisdom and humility as I discover how to best lead the student ministry team in a larger, multi-campus setting. Most of all, pray for our family to whole-heartedly follow after God as we are knit together with a new body of believers to reach the people of New England with the Gospel of Christ. Of course, we will also be praying for you. We will pray for the transition the church is going through right now, that it will be a time of unity and growth as you seek God’s direction together. We will pray for the new lead pastor God is already calling, that he will be a man of integrity and faith who will help you draw closer to God and unite you as you reach others with the hope found in Christ. We will look forward to hearing about the wonderful things God is doing in and through Covenant when we come back to visit and when you come up to visit us. (You are all officially invited- just not all at the same time!)
If you only remember one thing from this letter, our hope is that it is a big, huge THANK YOU!!! Thank you teens for crazy trips to Colorado, Florida, Mississippi, Haiti, Guatemala, and many other places to experience and serve God together, and thank you parents for trusting us with your teens even when the ideas sounded a little crazy. Thank you college students for welcoming us into your lives as you figured out how to own and engage your faith, and for late nights at IHOP talking about life, and even for the occasional porta-party. Thank you children’s workers for teaching our kids and encouraging them to love Jesus (and yes, for changing ALL of their dirty diapers). Thank you all for letting us into your lives to experience weddings and funerals and births and illnesses and all different kinds of joy and sorrow with you. Thank you for trusting us. Thank you for growing with us. Thank you for loving us. You have impacted our lives deeply, and we hope that in some way God has used us to impact yours. We love you! We will miss you! Thank you so much for being our church family!