Today is my first day as a full-time developer. I've been in full-time ministry for the last 14 years, the last nine of which were in student ministry. And, while it had it's ups and downs, I've loved it. I still do. And I am going to miss it terribly.
Yesterday was my last official day working at Southeast Christian Church doing creative arts in the Student Ministry. I will always cherish the crazy things that we did together as a team: CIY Believe moving to Louisville, Middle School camps, Bible and Beaches, crazy set changes, building a Student Ministry building, prayer gatherings, worship nights, CD and DVD recordings, hours of video shoots, coffee with students and leaders, and tons of open Bibles and honest conversations. I have no regrets about my time at Southeast!
God has taught me so much about myself, His Church, and His love in this crazy adventure since moving to Kentucky. I've gotten the chance to work with incredible Godly men and women. I've seen lives changed. I met my wife here, started a family here, and have put down roots. Kentucky is home and so is Southeast Christian Church.
That all said, I feel like God is leading me to a new venture.
You see, one of the things that has been on my heart since day-one is helping to equip other churches to do ministry better. I want the Big-"C" Church to succeed, not just my church. And while I feel like I have never been stopped at Southeast for doing this, my new venture, Download Youth Ministry will allow me to do this even more. I'll be making resources to help youth ministries across the world, full-time. I'll be making cool things that make youth ministry easier and funner (yes, I said funner!) for both the ministers and the students with the intent to free up those ministers to have more time to pour into students lives.
I want to thank all of the people that have lead me, poured into me, forgave me, and let me pour into them. You all have been amazing and I am in debt
First, to the people I have worked with, thank you. You have been amazing. You've taught me so much about God, His love, His character through forgiveness, and about His Word. You've believed in me as a leader, challenged me to get out of my comfort-zone, and encouraged me to creatively serve Him through my gifts and talents. I'm not sure if I will ever have that kind of concentrated freedom/accountability that I have gotten from you all. I'm eternally grateful!
Secondly, thank you to my students. It's been awesome to see you change and grow. To accept challenges, listen to advice, admit failures, and love others. Also, I've secretly gotten to live my life vicariously through you! I've seen you write blogs, learn programming, discover painting, light plays, lead groups, teach from stage, baptize students, and shoot feature films! I've even seen many of you commit to full-time ministry. And through it all, you all still trust me with your heart, gave me patience, and let me be apart of what God is doing through you. You guys are the best!
Finally, thank you to my wonderful wife. For those of you not in full-time ministry yet, let me let you in on a little secret: it's ridiculously hard! Don't get me wrong -- it's eternally fulfilling! But it is hard work, and it takes it's toll on a family. So, Lauren, thank you for the late-nights at church, the dinners with students, the weeks at camps. Thank you for letting me confide in you. Thank you for doing ministry alongside me. Thank you for setting up Tunkets, for pouring into the ladies. Thank you for showing with your actions what a Proverbs 31 (and the entire Bible) wife looks like! I love getting to do ministry with you and can't believe God gave me the chance to serve Him with you! Thank you!
And, here it goes. A new chapter. We'll see what God has in store now!