This year seems to have flown by! I am not happy to see it end, but I am thrilled for 2011 to start. This past year I found myself in several interesting places ministry-wise.
Many of you know that last year a few weeks after I was hired as the youth pastor at The River Church the lead pastor resigned. It was somewhat of a shock, but not completely. Well, at the beginning of this year we started a team to find a new lead pastor. I volunteered to be on that team and the elders agreed that I would be a good addition to the team. I was even asked by the team to be the team lead in the search process. I had never been on that side of the process. I had spent almost 5 years being the person trying to find the job, so I used some of that knowledge as a candidate to help our search. One day I will blog about that process and give some advice to churches that are looking and to candidates that are searching.
After about a 5 month search we ended up hiring Brad Mitchell to be the lead pastor at our church. He started almost one year to the day that I started, so we can celebrate our anniversaries together. I am still in shock that God brought us, Brad because he is an amazing person and lead pastor. I am so hopeful for the future of The River with Brad as our lead pastor and with the amazing group of men that we have on our elder team. It is so great to be a part of such a healthy church. I have to pinch myself every so often just to make sure I am not dreaming. This next year is going to be a great year of growth for The River.
About a month before Brad was coming on board while I was in prayer regarding the RiverBank Kids ministry, because we had no one that was able to really lead the ministry, During that time of prayer I felt God prompting me to take on the leadership of it. And if anyone knows me they know that I am not wired to do kids ministry. Not too mention the time it needed was way more than I could provide, but I have learned a long time ago to do what God is telling me to do. So I approached the elders and asked them to pray about it as well. They came back to me and agreed that it was the direction they felt God leading as well, so I started the process of taking it onto my other duties as the youth pastor. I switched the entire kid’s ministry to one curriculum throughout, so that we could better partner with parents. That is something I believe is vital to kids and student ministry. If you fail to do that then I believe you fail as a church and a leader. We went with the Orange Curriculum in August and it has been such a great switch for the kid’s ministry!
Slowly I began to realize what a huge undertaking it was to do both student and kids ministry. I have no idea how some people do it. I began to fervently pray that God would bring us someone that could lead the ministry. I had a person in mind, but I left it up to God to prompt them if they were the person. Much to my surprise a few weeks ago they emailed me and said that they couldn’t shake the fact that God wanted them to lead the kid’s ministry. So as of this past Sunday, we now have a new RiverBank Kids ministry director. I am so thrilled for the kid’s ministry because I know that Maria is going to be able to take it to that next level and beyond.
It is exciting to think that I start in 2011 with the sole focus of being just a youth pastor. I believe that it is going to be a great year for The River Youth and for our church as a whole. I really believe that God is going to do some amazing things.
I completely forgot to mention that at the beginning of the year my wife was hired on at the church to lead the music ministry at our church. I love being able to go to work with my best friend and the love of my life.
I am excited for our family in this new year. In June my son will start being a part of the youth ministry and that means that both of my kids will be in my youth group. That is a crazy thought but exciting for me personally as well. It is so much fun to see my kids go from being kids to becoming young adults. Hannah has been doing an amazing job at horseback riding and has a wall with a bunch of ribbons. Caleb has been doing origami (no idea where he picked it up) and it has been cool to see him create things.
This year personally I wanted to run a half marathon but did not get a chance to do it due to a couple of things. One was my trip to Haiti that I took in April, so I missed out on the Flying Pig. Then for the next one, I ended up hurting my foot that I think was a stress fracture. Oh well! I am shooting for next year to be my half marathon year.
I finally got a chance to go on a mission trip this year, which was also my first time going out of the country, Canada doesn’t count. Going to Haiti was a life-changing experience and I look forward to being able to go back again. God moved in my heart so much while I was there. It was such an amazing experience.
I am so blessed and thankful to have a loving family, a great church family and to be able to live my dream and serve God in the church. It is more than I could ever have asked for this Christmas. Who needs things when you can have all of that?
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I am on my way to Florida right now to celebrate Christmas with my sister and her family. Not too mention being able to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 🙂