Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Big News

For quite some time now I have known that some day I would plant a church. It hasn’t been a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’. I had prayed about possibly launching out in the year after Katrina but felt like God was saying at that time that I needed to stay at the Kenner Vineyard because I had a whole lot more to learn. So for the past 3 years I have been doing just that…

I have learned all kinds of stuff that you can’t learn in college or in books like how to cook brisket and barbequed chicken for 1,000+ people at a time…How to share the gospel without saying a word whether it’s through sharing a hot meal, the ripping out of moldy carpet from a flooded house, planting a tree in an impoverished neighborhood, or mentoring a child in the public schools…I’ve learned how conflict can be a good thing where those involved can walk out on the other side changed for the better…I’ve learned the necessity of teamwork whether in crafting weekend teachings, worship services, or in reaching out to the community…I’ve learned what it is like to be in a community of people who accepts folks as they are in their journey and gives them space to wrestle with issues of faith at their own pace…I’ve learned about hospitality without agenda and truth with grace…I’ve learned the importance of excellence in every aspect of ministry and that it takes a whole lot of work to be laid back…I’ve become a better musician, barbeque sauce maker, and player of Texas Hold ‘em…I’ve learned how to talk in front of crowds without having an instrument in front of me…I’ve learned how to build ministry on a solid set of values…I’ve learned that theology doesn’t have to alienate the average person but can engage and awaken the hearts of those listening…I’ve learned what it is like to be a part of a ministry team who hasn’t ‘arrived’ but who takes the journey very seriously…I’ve learned about being naturally supernatural, to experience the gifts of the spirit and prayer as natural and authentic as conversations between longtime friends…I’ve learned that a worship service is much better without fluorescent lights…I’ve learned what it is like to make mistakes, sometimes very public mistakes and to ask for forgiveness and receive it…

I have learned a lot in these last few years and much of it has come through trials and testing, through sweat and tears…through shared joys and shared suffering…through great loss and great gains.

And now we find ourselves at the start of a new chapter…

In the next few months Dina and I will be stepping out to plant a Vineyard Church on the North Shore (Covington / Mandeville area). We are in the process of listing our house and hope to move over there by mid June. Our plan is to launch the church by the end of August. This means that life has just become a whole lot crazier than normal. This is a bittersweet departure because we love the Kenner Vineyard so much and have so many good friends there but we feel like the time has come to do this. We are experiencing a wide range of emotions at the moment—excitement, fear, and a little bit of sadness, but mostly the peace of God.

Over the next couple of months we will be sharing more of how and what this all looks like but for the moment I just wanted to get the news out.

Grace and Peace,