Tuesday, September 30, 2014

on leaving and starting...

for the last four and half years jani and i have been involved with a local body here in canton, oh called lovecanton. in that time we had been given the opportunity to be leaders of a missional community that we started thus giving us a position of leadership in the church.

years ago, shortly before jani and i were married, i finally submitted to the fact that God had put a call on my life as a shepherd of His sheep, a pastor in the truest sense of the word. this realization led me to journey to bangalore, india for 8 months for ministry training in which every thing i held dear was separated from me (including my new fiance) and i was stripped down to nothing in the midst of a culture that was the furthest thing from what i had grown to find comfort in. it was here that i entered into a broken place in which God could then build a firm foundation upon. those months in india were so very necessary despite the extreme difficulty i faced.

after arriving back home and getting married, jani and i happened upon lovecanton and a leadership who were quick to identify our potential and invest in us. through the years we have come to grow with this young church as we have sought together to truly show this city and its inhabitants the love of Christ. many of the friendships that we have made have been of the kind that will last a lifetime and we are so very fortunate for this amazing community of believers and fellow co-workers in Christ.

during our time in lovecanton i continued attempting to limit my pastoral calling with the idea that i was essentially pastoring a small community (a village) within the structure of lovecanton, and i didnt want all the responsibility of a head pastor anyway. i think God allowed me to continue in this framework to help train me up so i could more readily embrace the real calling He had on my life. over the last year or so jani and i had been feeling led to start something new in Canton. something that Canton was missing. a place that didnt fit into the confines of another ministry, but needed its own space and vision independent of another church. with the help of several others, we will be planting a church hopefully by the end of the year.

lovecanton has changed our lives. the community we have been able to be apart of has been the life and encouragement we needed to really blossom into the people we are today. we love people. that is what is at the heart of what we will be starting. we did not leave lovecanton out of bitterness or unhappiness, but we were called out and hope to continue partnering with lovecanton and many other area churches however we can.

for those from lovecanton who have been in community with us, i hope and pray that as we step out in faith to do this crazy thing that takes me way out of my comfort zone that you will support us or at least understand that this is beyond us. we would have loved to share publicly our vision and be commissioned by you but unfortunately it didnt work out that way. know that we did not want it to seem as though we snuck out the backdoor of lovecanton, trying to leave everyone behind quietly and start with something else. our hearts were very much the opposite. we want to stay in community with those who would still appreciate our friendship. this is not the end of something, but the beginning...

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