Life looks much different today than it did a few short weeks ago, and as with any change and transition, there is so much hope and excitement in that, but not without cost. In January, my husband took the position of Worship Pastor at a brand new Acts29 church plant here in Edmond, Oklahoma called Redemption Church. The only way to describe the events of the weeks leading up to our ultimate decision is… “whirlwindy”. hehe.
Allow me to explain.
We had been a part of the same church here in Oklahoma since the moment our feet hit this beautiful red soil, and we had remained there for 8 wonderful years. These were the happiest, most grounding, solidifying, faith-building, eye-opening, preciously community-driven years of our lives, and we would not trade even one millisecond of our time at Bridgeway for anything in the world. Every week we were poured into so richly – seeing the gifts of the Spirit operating right alongside Biblically sound teaching and theology… a rare thing to get to experience in this world! Every week I would leave, amazed that I got to sit alongside such beautiful people and receive such stellar training that was also so graciously interruptible… The Holy Spirit truly led our meetings and ministry times, and amazing things resulted from that.
When Chris was first approached with this ministry opportunity at the new church plant, Redemption, we were not initially open to it. Why would we leave such a beautiful place like the one we’d been serving at for so long? Why would we ever want to go anywhere else? The thought of leaving was just too unsettling to consider for me. I was so happy at my church, and I felt so blessed every time I went.
We remained mostly closed to the idea of taking the job up until around Christmas time. I had been studying the book of Matthew for a few months in my bible study and there was one passage in particular that really started to wriggle open my eyes and my heart to what God may be calling us to. In Matthew 10, Jesus is sending His disciples out into the world for the first time to proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. He tells them to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons – letting the lost and broken and hurting people of the world see that God was truly reaching down to His people and setting them free. In Matthew 10:8, Jesus says, “Freely you have received, now freely give.”
Jesus was calling the disciples to take the amazing things that had been poured into them, and pour them back out onto the world. I’m sure that the disciples would have been much more comfortable staying right where they were by Jesus’ side, watching Him perform all the miracles and signs and wonders, and never having to step up to the mantle Jesus was calling them to. I’m sure that on that day when Jesus sent them all away, there was a hefty measure of discomfort – walking away from what they knew and loved and turning around to somehow multiply it. It’s the same concept as Peter stepping out of the boat, just a few chapters later in the book of Matthew. At some point, our faith has to have feet – feet that are willing to get up and go when God calls you step out onto the water. At some point, we have to take the training we have received, and train others. It’s how the Kingdom works! Receive, give. Receive, give. It’s how disciples are made and the Kingdom of God comes to earth.
God was slowly opening our hearts to the idea of taking what we had been given, and, by His grace and Spirit, multiplying it out.
By the time we packed up our car to haul our family out to visit my parents’ in Utah for Christmas, we were both more open to the idea than ever, but still so torn over leaving the church body that we loved dearly. Everything I knew about God told me that He is always & forever in the business of expanding. It’s just who He is. And it’s what He always called His disciples to. You can hear the bittersweetness of it all in the words of the writers of the New Testament- it was hard for them to leave the churches they loved dearly. But if they hadn’t, where would we be? I think at this point, we both knew He was calling us to a new place. The question for us now was, were we going to put our feet out on the water? Or stay in the boat?
Over Christmas, we spent hours talking to my sweet family about the decision we needed to make. Redemption was set to launch in January, and that date was rapidly approaching. As we talked it over and my family asked us questions and helped us really see all sides of the thing, something amazing happened. A JOY and a peace and an excitement settled over our hearts like a warm blanket. God knew that we needed that time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to clear our minds and really process this decision. It was so beautiful to see how God was working separately in my heart and my husbands heart to soften us and warm us to His plan over all those weeks, so that a couple of days after Christmas, we were able to look into each other’s eyes and discover that we were both on the exact same page. God was calling, and we would most definitely go.
We were sent out and blessed by Bridgeway to join the new church plant just two short weeks after we had decided to take the job. It happened so quickly and it was hard to get the whole and complete story out to everyone before the announcement was made, but God’s timing was evident throughout the whole process. My husband and I have been leading worship side by side at Redemption Church for almost 8 weeks now, and the confirmation and blessings and joy have been undeniable. And now, more than ever, I am so blown away and grateful for the fact that Redemption Church and Bridgeway Church and churches all over America and around the globe and in the remotest of villages are all worshipping ONE God- the same God, and we are all united in Him as one body, the Church. No matter where we go in this great big world, we are all still connected under one great King, and I find so much peace in that.
Redemption Church has been such a soft place to land. The people are phenomenal, and we have been so outrageously blessed by this body of believers already. I can not WAIT to see what God has in store through these people for North Edmond. Looking back, it is so evident now why we were brought to this house waaaaaay North of the city. We moved out here with great joy, but have always had a lingering sense of ‘why’? Why did you bring us to this house that is so very far North, God? Little did we know, He was moving us to our new mission field, before we ever even knew we’d be helping plant a church up here. The Sovereignty of God is a beautiful thing.
It is a new season, a new day. The passions and giftings that have long been deep within my husband’s heart are exploding and blossoming and it has been nothing short of incredible to watch. I have been growing as well, and getting to lead worship regularly with my husband is a dream come true.
My encouragement to you- If you are feeling God call you somewhere new, don’t be afraid to follow! He is a Good Shepherd and worthy of all of your trust, even when it is hard and you don’t understand. The very best place you can ever be is right by His side. He will lead you and keep you, and your very HEART will come to life.