Four Months and a week and a half.

The last four months have been the most challenging time in my life so far. 
We very much appreciate the prayers and support from so many people. 
I’ve written several blog posts and many personal journal entries during this time. 

The following quote from today’s New Morning Mercies has proven true over and over again.  “In grace, he leads you where you didn’t plan to go in order to produce in you what you couldn’t achieve on your own.”

The big thing that has made this time so challenging has been processing through some of the details and reasons for two ministry transitions in a little over a year. While both were mutual, neither was easy, especially as it relates to reflecting upon my personal shortcomings and differing ministry philosophies.  
I have been struggling with how these shortcomings and differences would impact future ministry opportunities. 

- much praying and journaling (see 01.01.19 post), 
- what seems like walking miles of the rows of car parts at my current job, In On Time Logistics, 
- talking (personally and online) with friends and mentors, 
- getting connected with a great church family at Trinity Baptist Church (see 01,31.19),
- continuing with a consistent devotion plan when I oftentimes didn’t want to,
- taking some big steps to limit social media usage (see 02.17.19 post), and
- seeking counseling through a biblical counseling center, 

I have begun to get a clearer sense of direction. 
Through both transitions, I have learned some valuable lessons about myself and ministry.

We are still not sure what God has next for us but we also are sure that God is the Great Provider and that he has given me a desire to pastor his people.  
I also believe others have confirmed this.

Please pray for us as we seek God‘s will and direction for the future as it relates to ministry or whatever He has for us.  
We don't know where God is leading or what He has for us but we do know He is there.

Pray also that we would, through his strength, continue to glorify God in our current circumstances.


Church Membership @ Trinity Baptist Church

This past Sunday, we became members of Trinity Baptist Church (tbcgr.org/).  I have written this blog with the hope of helping others think through church membership and how to find a church home.

It is my prayer that this post would be more than just an update on our family.

First of all, church membership is biblical.
Here is a resource from David Platt and Radical that helps explain why this is the case - Is Church Membership Biblical?

Second, here is the process we went through in finding a church home.

In September, we visited a couple of churches that were ministry possibilities.
After deciding we were not going to pursue a church ministry position at that time, our church search shifted from finding a church that had full-time ministry openings to find a church where we could grow and serve in the community we are living in.

About a year ago I read the following statement that has influenced our church search.
Instead of driving 20 miles away to attend a church that "fits my needs."  What if we committed to the nearest non-heretical, Bible-believing church where we could grow and serve - [A church] where Jesus is the hero - however uncomfortable it may be.
During our times in Toledo and Scranton, we attended churches that were walking distance from our houses.  

In our search for a new church in Grand Rapids, we found two great, Bible-preaching churches under 10 miles from our apartment.  After prayerful consideration and attending both churches a couple of times, we chose the church that is 1.5 miles from our house, teaches Biblical sermons, and is focused on making disciples.  Both churches were friendly, doctrinally solid churches.
HERE is a podcast from 9Marks on Living Close to Your Church

Here are a couple of reasons why we have decided to make Trinity Baptist Church our church home.
  • The pastor preaches God's Word and the church has a strong Biblical theology.
  • This sermon, The Most Difficult Mission, is an example of the passionate, challenging Bible preaching.
  • The church is about a 12-minute WALK from our house.  This is important as we thought about inviting people we meet in our community to church.  
  • God blessed me with the opportunity to connect with Jason, one of the associate pastors over this past year.  He is passionate about Biblical counseling and disciple-making.
We are not sure how long we will be here but I do know that it is important for me and my family to be committed to a local, Biblical church - submitted to that church's leaders, using our gifts to help others grow, and learning alongside other believers.  However, long we are here, we want to be here - growing and sharing with other believers.  We are very thankful for the people at Trinity Baptist Church and for the leadership of the pastors and elders.