Well it seems like we are not going to ease our way into fall are we? It went from the 80's to cold rainy fall weather over night, and that does wonders for tendinitis in the knees (I'm getting old I tell you). But fall means all kinds of good things like, football season, fresh ministry season, what seems to be a more organized consistent schedule, and I actually love the coolness of fall. Nate and I are coaching seventh grade football again and we have new varsity coaches at the high school level, so we've got a whole new offensive system that is a lot more fun to play with. We are gearing up for a new ministry season and some significant changes in Moto and the ministry formerly known as Cession (it is now called Fugo, which means to take flight!). We will now be moving our Moto gatherings to Wednesday nights and we are also moving locations to Lakeshore middle school. We have also partnered with yet another church and so Moto seems to be moving in a really cool direction and we are doing our best to get rid of the plural word churches and get it back to God's vision of the CHURCH. One church, no denominational lines that so often are a barrier to the movement of Christ's body. Sarah is full on in her Master's program at Spring Arbor University and she is now back to substitute teaching, which she really enjoys. Our house is beginning to resemble a house, as we have finished the floor of the front porch, the floor of the back entrance in the house, and we are set to sand and finish the dining room floor. Our neighbors have sold their house and so we soon will be getting some new ones, which I don't think had anything to do with us moving into the neighborhood, but I do tend to be a bit scary looking so who knows. I have officially been at Panera for two years, which gives me some new benefits in terms of free food, which I'm not sure is good for my already out of shape body, but it is nicer on the grocery bill.
This also makes me think that I am now in my 11th year of church ministry, of which 18 months of that time I have been paid a salary, which doesn't bother me as much personally as it does for the whole of the church. It's something that I am currently researching and putting together a writing on, so I will expound on it much more within that. I find it quite sad that there are many many lead pastors out there that are bi-vocational and struggle to juggle the world of leading a church and keeping their sanity ( I have been told in the past by some, who obviously don't get it, that I ONLY do youth). When I was taking some ministerial classes a few years ago I noticed the majority of the pastors, a lot of which were lead pastors, worked one job 40 plus hours a week to provide for their families and then attempted to lead the church with their remaining hours. Which leads me to think that they are most likely providing food and clothes for their family, but are not around to actually eat with them or spend time with them. We hear more about the one percent of religious leaders who hoard and steal money and we don't hear so much about the majority of those in the ministry who go unpaid or paid as a side thing. God has always taken care of me and my family and I have seen many others taken care of, but that doesn't excuse the church. I have a friend who works with me at Panera, who leads his youth ministry and has led it for the last five years, but is paid gas money to get back and forth to Panera and the church. He works 40 plus hours at Panera and tries to take care of his wife and infant daughter, all while working countless hours trying to care for and lead the youth of his church. He's said only little to me in frustration, but his eyes and weariness say plenty more than his humble ways ever could. I do my best to encourage him, but it is sad how common place this is within the church and how overlooked it is as well. My last move from California to Grand Haven and Watermark was very much a volunteer move, just to be apart of a church that I believe whole heartedly in and a church that believes in me. Together with family and friends we are doing our best to, "be the church and make disciples." Watermark has been a place for me to grow and really explore who I am in Christ and what the church is supposed to look like. My learnings over the last two years have been priceless and I feel like I am moving in a direction that fits who I am in Christ, and how I have been wired to worship and share in ministry. So it is my prayer that as I lay out my story and I better learn how to be a wounded healer, that I can help others who have shared in a similar way of life. I pray that as I continue to find my real life, that I will help those who have grown up without a father, experienced broken homes, been burned by the church, and are desperately looking for their real lives. God is not finished with me yet, and in many ways I feel like He is just getting started, so I look forward to this new year with anticipation of big changes.
So let's get changed!