In 15 and a half years of youth ministry, I’ve told my teens this truth countless times. It is the thesis statement of my ministry, the one thing I hope they will take away from our time together.
Today, I’m being reminded of that truth myself.
Moments ago I tendered my resignation to the board of the Middletown Church of the Nazarene, my family’s church home for the last eight years. And while there was a little sadness in doing that, there was far more excitement, both for myself, and for our church.
It was exciting for me because, on Sunday, I accepted the call to pastor the Anderson Southdale Church of the Nazarene. I am excited about the opportunity to lead these people of God in service to their community and world as together we share the good news about Jesus Christ. I am excited about being able to continue to work closely with my friends and colleagues at the Middletown Church and the others on our zone so together our churches, as part of His Church, can take hold of God’s Kingdom and move it powerfully forward. I am excited because it is always exciting to follow faithfully after the call of God.
And I am excited for the Middletown Church. Something that has come up frequently in the conversations between my Pastor and I as we moved toward this transition is that if it is God’s will for me to serve the people of Southdale, it’s also God’s will for the Middletown Church to make a transition as well. His plans are perfect, and His plan for me doesn’t in any way jeopardize His plans for the church.
I can’t tell you how many times in my ministry I have come back to John 14:12. In it Jesus tells his disciples (who were themselves facing a significant transition):
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
When following God, the future is always brighter. Jesus repeatedly promises “greater things than these” to his people who do his work. And despite how great these years in Middletown have been, there are greater things than these in store for me. And there are greater things than these in store for the great people of the Middletown Church.
So to my friends and family who are the Middletown Church of the Nazarene, I want to say thank you. Thank you for what has been 3213 of the best days of my life so far. Thank you for the opportunity and honor of being able to serve alongside you for these years. Thank you for the love, encouragement and support you have given us and our ministry. Thank you for letting us become a part of your lives, and thank you for continuing to make room for us even after this transition. We love you.
And to the people of both the Middletown and Southdale congregations, I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us in the future, because His future is always better.