I will never forget that moment when I heard God speak to me about my future. I had always thought that my future would be as a teacher and football coach – serving in a church as I could. When God spoke to me about my future, it was actually what I had always dreamed of as a little boy – but much different than the plans I had been making for myself.
When the Lord spoke into my life about my future in ministry I was already deep into it but I wasn’t fully sold out to it as my life’s calling. I was pulled into student ministry and I’ve been there ever since. Sure, I had exposure to other aspects of the church but my passion became seeing students fall madly in love with Jesus Christ. I had great mentors who fanned this desire into big flames as they poured into me, showing me God’s redemptive heart for the world.
I have always loved student ministries and since 2002 I have served in this arena of the church in a variety of capacities: volunteer, speaker, intern, small group leader, coach, and pastor. I will never forget the first winter camp i served at, on a whim, that got me hooked. Each place of ministry with different teams of people has helped shaped my heart to serve in the church. Every role and each church has also helped me to understand clearly why I do, what I do: to advance the Kingdom of God and to build up followers of Christ.
There are so many stories. Funny ones that will be great to tell for years to come. Growth opportunities that are almost embarrassing to recall – but grateful for being stretched and challenged as I was. Yeah, definitely grateful for growth and for opportunities to lead and grow and mature not just as a leader, but also as a follower of Christ.
A little over three years ago I started off at a new church, focused on reaching students with the love message of Jesus Christ. Never did I imagine that my passion and focus in ministry would change and grow along with me to the point that I wouldn’t be in student ministries. I truly thought I’d be that “life-long youth pastor.” Yet, over the last three years God has brought a new set of leaders and mentors that the Lord used to speak into my life – just like He did many years ago when I thought I knew what my future was going to be then.
God began to shift my focus in ministry. And as my focus shifted, my passion did as well. I was surrounded by the right people who are confident in who they are in God. They were willing to pour into me and point me towards God’s best for my life. These were more people who God used to confirm my calling to serve Him and who equipped me to learn and grow. I’m grateful for this slow fade of change as it has brought me to this place, here and now.
This slow fade…as tough as it is to say, is truly best. I am confident that this is a special part of God’s plan for my life. It means saying goodbye to student ministries as a pastor. It means saying goodbye to all things youth – but also, it means something else. It also means saying I’m ready for what is next. It also means saying I am ready to step out and follow Christ to new areas of ministry where once again, I can humbly learn what it means to love God and love others in new and passionate ways. I am truly excited for what is next. And I’m confident that the Lord has been preparing me for this moment, for this shift, for this change.
A huge part of my heart was sad when I first considered this change becoming a reality. I love my students and their families. I love hanging and pointing them to Jesus. Student ministry has always allowed me, to be me. However as I’ve walked along this path of change for over a year now I have heard God speak powerfully about my future, about His future for my life. My heart and passion for families and marriages, for life groups and small groups, for discipleship and evangelism and for boldly proclaiming the Word of God has grown and expanded. Those students that I love so much deserve a new leader who has a strong & undivided passion for them, their friends and their families. This slow change into something new will allow me to serve in new ministries and embrace a future that God has prepared for me.
Officially as of April 1st, I will no longer serve as the Student Ministries Pastor at my church. I am so thankful for this but even though my role as a pastor is changing, I get to stay at my current church. This is so great for so many reasons as I get to be surrounded by great leadership, amazing friends and an awesome church family during this slow fade from student ministries. I’m very confident in the team of leaders who have risen up and been equipped to serve our students at this church and I am very excited that I get to continue to serve at my church, to pastor and shepherd, to encourage and to equip, people that I have grown love and a community that I long to see fall in love with Jesus Christ.
My passion for ministry remains. I long to see people fall madly in love with Jesus, to find ways to show the power and grace of God and to see those people commit themselves to a vibrant life of prayer. My desire to advance the Kingdom of God and to build up followers of Christ during this new aspect of ministry is clear. To say no to one thing, means I am able to fully say yes to something else. I always want to be able to say yes to fulfilling the calling on my life and to be able to radically obey Christ in every aspect of my life. This slow fade into something new will allow me to do just that…
Praising God for what He has called me to do in and through Him!