Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Following the Cloud: An Update


It is with much excitement (and also a twinge of sadness) that I write to tell you I have taken a job at a church in Fairfield County, Connecticut just outside of NYC! This e-mail is mostly to make you aware of my change in location, but I also want to take the opportunity to brag on my big God :)

As most of you know, I have been looking for a ministry job for more than a year. I've been super blessed here in Nashville to be near so many dear friends, and God has lavishly provided work, freelance writing gigs, the opportunity to begin my Masters of Divinity at SBTS, and two amazing living situations. Even so, I think I've learned a little something about desert wandering! I've clung to the image of the pillar of cloud leading the Israelites through the desert: when it settled, the Israelites encamped. When it moved, they moved (Numbers 9:15-18). And so I've encamped here in Nashville, a place that I love for so many reasons, but where I have been unable to find the kind of job I'm after. It's been a fruitful season because, after all, the "cloud" is the very presence of God.

In December I applied on a whim for a high school youth pastor position at Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel, Connecticut. As you've probably noticed, I am a lover of warm weather and Southern culture, so living in New England seemed like a stretch. But the job description read: "if you're looking for a place where it's safe and easy to be a Christian, this isn't the job for you." I was hooked. I sent my resume that day and promptly received a reply from Craig, the pastor emerging generations (children, youth, and young adults), saying that they were looking for someone more qualified. I wrote back and, expressing my confidence that I could do the job well, asked him to please pass my resume on to the search committee. He wrote back within the half hour and said that he was impressed with my response and would pass my resume along. I heard from Craig a few days later, and he told me that unbeknown to me, some dear friends of my parents, the Shockleys (some of you Vale-ers will remember them!), were church members. Scott and Denise were on the search committee, and although my family hasn't been in touch with them since I was eight, they recognized my name in the stack of resumes! (It has been so much fun for my family to reconnect with these sweet friends!)

Craig and the Shockleys were kind enough to let me interview for the position, even though it's a big enough ministry that they really do need someone with more experience than I have. But as we continued to talk, they asked me how I would feel about taking a different role at the church. It's taken several months for the pieces to come together, but they have tailored an existing job to fit my gifts/interests. As the "Emerging Generations Team Coordinator," I'll be planning events and executing communication for the whole team (youth, children, and college students), plus developing curriculum and doing some teaching and discipleship specific to youth ministry. It's really a dream job for me; I'll get to use my degree, develop my writing, and best of all, spend time with students! How good of God to make me wait all these months so that I couldn't boast in my own chutzpah, but only in His perfect timing and plan for this next season of life :)

I'm so excited about this move, even though I know it is going to be a big adjustment. Walnut Hill is one of only two churches in all of New England that has surpassed 2,000 members. Its size and resources have uniquely positioned the church to equip smaller churches in the area that desire to be a beacon of light in the Northeast. I'm going to miss living in the South, and the sweet fellowship that this place has yielded, but I'm truly thrilled to be joining a ministry that desires to proclaim the gospel in the Northeast!!

I leave Nashville today and will be at home in Bloomington until Wednesday, when I drive to CT. I'm hoping to see lots of you B-towners while I'm home!

Thanks for walking with me in this new adventure! If you're ever in NYC or New England, please holler at me--I'd love to see you.

With love!

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