The story is long… but the short version:
In May of 2003, I graduated from TEDS (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) and was called as pastor of Harmony Presbyterian Church in Kingsport TN. After 2 years we sensed a burden to serve Christ outside of the Bible belt in a less churched-secular culture (a burden that was apparent even to some whom I pastored). We prayed and cried and looked and asked: Are we going to Chicago? Canada? Arizona? Oregon (almost)? What kind of missionaries had we been created to be through our short time at that phenomenal small country church? What was God doing and was I betraying the people I was presently serving – gracious, glorious people living in a culture that they loved – but in which I didn’t fit? I was a fish out of water.
During that stressed year of indecision, we were pressed to do church planting by Ted Powers of the PCA’s Mission to North America. Every three months he called. Every three months we said NO. Then the call came from Cornerstone PCA in the Lehigh Valley – a church planting apprenticeship with time (2 years+) to adjust to the secular Northeast culture before launching out. Ministry opportunities and training galore. And now we know that there were FRIENDS waiting for us.
We moved to the Valley in August of ’06, and now see that we are simply on the outside ripples of the ‘quake’ of what God is doing up here. And so… for the first time in the last 4 years, I am now able to go on vacations and NOT wonder if I would be happier where I was vacating simply because it was a different culture than where I presently lived (not about being happier based on pastoring different people). Thanks be to God for ministry ‘fit’ to affirm his calling.
So what is happening now: networking and praying and church planter community in Philly and the GCA conference and growing as a church planting apprentice and preaching and small groups and college/career ministry and playing at the park and parenting and kindergarten and buying a house and walking in Emmaus and meeting our neighbors and praying with our neighbors and having Bible studies with our neighbors and drinking at local coffee shops and pubs and eating good pizza and preparing for a church plant simply by breathing and walking with our eyes open.