This week we reach the six month mark of being in San Diego county and at Grace Church. If we had a conversation a year ago, I could not have dreamt of it and every now and again I pinch myself to be sure.
Moving a thousand miles and away from friends (and family) is never easy. But when you arrive to a welcome like we did, and awaken each day realizing you are doing exactly what you are supposed to, it is easier.
As I reflect on the first months of being a pastor at Grace Church, here is what I am learning.
People are Amazing
The people of Grace Church are simply amazing. It has been a hard year for the church and there are still folks that have wounds from leadership resignations and the unknown. Friends they worshiped with for years were gone in a flash and many times they wondered if the church should close its doors. Through it all, those that remain have been faithful and seem fully invested in Grace.
While they could be skeptical with a new pastor, they have been welcoming and warm to our family, and shown their trust in the Lord for the future of his church.
My Partner is a Prize
From the moment we prayed about a far away church to now Stacy has been my greatest encouragement, confidant, partner and friend. She has taken on so much of the ministry and loves to care for women in the church. And she is a great mother to Iona and Ewen.
On our flight to Oregon this week I read an article about Dan McLaughlin who dropped his normal life to rack up 10,000 hours of practice golfing in the hopes of being an expert. What stuck out was how Dan has been through two girlfriends and the last one broke it off because she couldn’t handle the unknown of his goal and risky life. Stacy however has been loyal and supportive in our nearly eight-year adventure. She dropped a life of security and the familiar to launch into a life of the unknown of vocational ministry and while it hasn’t been easy, she has grown and shared the gospel with others in such beautiful ways. She is my prize.
Easier to Look Backwards
We are all prone to nostalgia, and it is not always a bad thing. But as I pastor and interact with other church leaders it has become clear that it is easier to look backward than forward. “This is the way we have always done things,” “I like the old way better,” “Can we go back to what it used to be?” Change is difficult, and I think it is because we think in the opposite direction.
My default is forward. I am always imagining and thinking “down the road.” I can’t tell you how many times I find myself saying, “just wait two months…” The future is always more ordered and without present-day challenges (at least in my mind) making it easy for me to incite and pursue what lies ahead.
I am learning to balance both of these. To listen more and give glimpses into the future I envision rather than just say “wait and see.” It is still an area of growth for me but I am learning.
Last year I determined to live adventurously. Simple adventures, family adventures and risky adventures. While I haven’t quite lived such an adventure to write a book about it, I still see so much of what I do as adventurous. When your Savior is the king of the universe you can do some crazy things.
I think I have found my crazy thing, and crazy people to do it with. I hope you find yours!