Next chapter please….

In all of my life, I cannot ever remember a year more exciting and yet went by so fast. It seems like only yesterday we were with Greg and Emily watching the ball drop as 2010 came in and now 2011 is already here.

The year started with the possibility of Steph and I moving to Tennessee to be in full time youth ministry. I had just been made youth minister intern at LMBC several months before and I was learning more and more every day. Before the youth ministry opportunity ever came through, Steph got a great job with an attorney close to home that she loved. After a lot of prayer, we took this as a sign that God needed us here so we backed out of the TN job.

Then before we knew it, the LMBC youth drama production of Damascus Road was here and gone. All of the work, all of the time and effort helped make this an amazing drama production that I was really blessed to be a part of. Knowing that Steph wrote the drama from beginning to end made it even that much better. It gave us a lot of time together and we grew closer to the youth than ever before.

Next, the year took a not so good turn. Matt, who was still deployed overseas, resigned from LMBC through email. After prayer and talking with Steph, I sent in my resume for the LMBC youth minister position, again. This would end up being a mute point as Matt rescinded his resignation and returned to the LMBC youth in June.

So in a period of 2 years, Steph and I along with the LMBC youth, went through a period of Matt, then Greg, then Matt again. That’s a lot of change going on for a group of kids. Steph and I did our best to be the stability and encouragement for the group during this change.

June would also be the month we went to Arizona for her mom and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary. We had an amazing time with her family and got to connect with one of our youth, Ericka Sitton who was working at the Grand Canyon for the summer. It was a trip that I will never forget.

During the summer, after many months of prayer and talking with leadership, LMBC licensed me into the gospel ministry. Steph’s dad unknowing to her, delivered the prayer for me and our ministry in the early service. My family including extended family members (Dwayne and Mrs. Stone) came for the second service. Shelia performed along with Stephanie and Acting Up and made the service even that much more special to me.

Summer came and went and before I knew it, it was time for our trip to TN. Thanksgiving was right behind it and Christmas was gone before we knew it.

However, November brought about change that I didn’t see coming. God started laying on my heart that LMBC would no longer be where He needed us. He confirmed this by laying this on Steph’s heart also. Talk about a tough decision. After all, I was middle school director for a great group of middle school youth, I was technical director for all of the youth services, Steph had allowed God to work through her and had built up an amazing drama ministry, not to mention how close we had gotten to many of the youth at LBMC. After a lot of prayer and counsel, Steph and I made the decision to finish our committments at LMBC and to seek where God was leading us next. We had no idea how long it would take or where He would lead us, but knew that we had to live up to what we try to teach the youth and knew we had to follow God.

Having some unplanned downtime from youth ministry, allowed Stephanie and I the time to enjoy Christmas. I had most all of her gifts done by Halloween so I got to enjoy Christmas. We got to see Christmas productions at other churches (FBC Woodstock’s production really blew us away) and got to visit around and look for where God was leading us. It was a good time of R&R but by the end of December, I was ready to be involved once again.

One week ago, through some changes in our plans, Steph and I ended up going to Poplar Springs Baptist Church. It was on our way to lunch with her parents so we changed from going to Burnt Hickory with some friends of ours to visiting this church where we knew no one. Instantly, I really felt at peace about the church even though God was jumping up and down on my toes through the pastor and his message. We enjoyed it so much that we went back that night for their business meeting and again on Wed for their youth services.

Following a week of prayer about PSBC and where God is moving us, Steph and I really felt like God was leading us to PSBC. They had just lost their youth pastor and there is a need there that God willing, I can help out with. Their youth are really wanting a drama team and I couldn’t imagine a better drama director than Steph. So, after a month of being without a church home, Stephanie and I became members at Poplar Springs Baptist Church yesterday.

I don’t know what God has in store for us. I know that we felt God telling us our work was done at Lost Mtn and now we feel God saying He needs us at Poplar Springs. We are following God and know that He has a plan for us there. In what capacity, it doesn’t matter. I am still seeking His plan for my life in youth ministry but for now, until He moves us, we once again have a church home. There are a lot of great opportunities here for us both in youth and elsewhere and there are a lot of great Christian men for me to learn from. He may have bigger plans for us than we can imagine and we are simply here to learn from others and as Dr. Walker put it, be on the “launching pad” for our next ministry.

Dear God,
Thank You so much for being faithful to Your word. You asked us to leave an important ministry trusting that You would take care of and lead us, and You have. Help us to continue to follow after You, to continue to trust in You and to know You more. Whatever You have planned for us, help us to be ready and to hear Your voice when You are ready for us. Thank you for the next chapter in our lives together.