There is one thing I have left out of those past catch-up posts. And it’s kinda major. While this news is its own post, truly it has permeated throughout every day and activity over the last several months.
We are doing something new. While we have had a lot going on, we have also had a lot of lasts.
So, let me just begin by saying…we are moving. We will be leaving the home we have made in Sandersville and closing this chapter of our lives. Joe and I are answering God’s call on our family to plant a church. A two-year process with the Methodist church (and truthfully, several year process in our hearts) has led us on an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows, stops and starts, and eventually to the outcome we were hoping for when the appointment became official in March.
In June, we will be moving south to Valdosta where we will begin building a church. From nothing. We believe God is calling us to reach the unchurched, to make disciples, and to do our part in growing His kingdom.
God’s will be done.
This is a leap of faith, obviously. There is no one waiting for us on the other end. We don’t know anyone (other than our realtor). Joe will be making much less. I will have to work, too. And together we will work to start this church. As I have told some, we have many challenges and uncertainty ahead of us, but we have God. And He is all the certainty we need.
We are excited…and, yes, scared. We are sad to leave Sandersville, the home we have loved for five years, and for the special friendships we have made. We are dreading the goodbye. I have found that the tears come easily.
But we are ready to begin this new chapter.
The news of our leaving was announced to the church on April 3. The following Sunday, Joe and I spoke to the congregation. We wanted to share the story of our calling to plant a church and our journey over the last few years to answer this call. It was tough. Joe and I alternated our perspectives and stories. Really I kept it together just fine, until I looked up at one point and saw several of our friends and members of our church family crying. By the end of our message, and especially after the closing hymn, “Here I am, Lord”, there weren’t many dry eyes.
The tears affirmed how much our church loves us, for which we are so grateful and encouraged. Joe and I were humbled at the outpouring of love and support. So many kind words.
It was difficult the last several months – even the last year – not being able to talk about this endeavor. The Methodist church leadership told us to wait. We waited and waited, and waited. Even our family didn’t know for a long time. This calling to start a church was a well-kept secret between just a few people for almost two years.
Not being able to share with our closest friends was hard. I have a girls small group that meets once a week, where we share and discuss everything from parenting to marriage to faith. We’ve been doing life together for a couple of years now and I love and pray for these girls daily. It was weird not being able to talk about the biggest thing in my life. Joe had a few conference peers that he could talk to, but most of his friends and our couple friends were in the dark. That was awkward and felt almost dishonest at times.
At the same time, we didn’t really want to talk about it until we knew it was going to happen. The way the church works with pastoral appointments, there were no guarantees. So everything is kept confidential until the bishop and his cabinet start making things official. Of course once the appointment is official, the news can be shared.
And the weight could fall off our shoulders.
It was weird writing the last several posts of all we have been up to without that little (or big) detail, because in between all of the activities and trips, we’ve been sharing the news, getting ready to move, finding a home, and trying to live each day to the fullest.
For those that read this, I ask you to pray for us!
Pray that God will continue to lead us in what we confidently know He has called us to do…
For discernment in this process and peace in knowing He will provide…
That His purposes and plans for us will be revealed…
For the people in Valdosta He will raise up as leaders to help us start this church…
For those that will come to know Jesus through our ministry…
For our church here in a time of transition…
And for our family as we say goodbye and settle in a new home.
We know the power of prayer, and we greatly appreciate those you lift up for us.