In June of 2007 my wife and I sold our home in Moore, Oklahoma, packed up a U-Haul and got on the highway headed for Wesley Chapel, FL. Wesley Chapel is a suburb of Tampa. I had taken a Youth Ministry position at a Methodist church there and for the first time in either of our lives we were off to foreign territory. Now, Florida wasn't foreign, as we had been there a number of times already for Disney World trips. The foreign territory I'm speaking of was being on our own, all by ourselves and pregnant with our first child. We spent 7 glorious months in Wesley Chapel before circumstances back home in Oklahoma pulled us back. It was during those 7 months that God taught us a lot and we learned a great deal about how to be husband and wife and rely only upon God and each other. We had no family there and very few friends since we had only been there a short time.
Before anyone back home knew that we were considering moving back, I got word of a position that had just opened up at a Methodist church in downtown OKC (if I was interested in moving back home). Amanda and I had done a lot of praying. It was through that time of prayer and seeking the wisdom and counsel of others in our lives who we knew we could trust and would tell us what we needed to hear, not what we wanted to hear, that we had decided to move back home because of some things that were going on with family. We felt it was best to be back in OKC to be able to support those who needed us at the time. And so we made the move back to OKC without knowing what was next.
Again, we prayed a lot during that time. Asking God why He sent us to Florida only to bring us back home 7 months later. Asking Him what was next, what about a job, where will we live. Well, as many of you know God has things planned out ahead of time and while we're worrying about what's next He's orchestrating our lives ... If only we'd listen and follow Him without doubting. It was difficult but we did just that.
Now it just so happened to be, that position that had come open was right here at First Church OKC. I met with Pastor Mark and the SPRC a number of times and in February of 2008 was offered the position of Director of Student Ministries. We accepted of course and have been here ever since then. I'll never forget the day Sue Kuntze called me to offer me the job. It was a Sunday, after church and the date was February 24th. I missed the call but listened to the voice message she left me. My birthday is February 23rd and Amanda's is February 28th and that voice message was the best birthday present I've ever received. I was so excited to become a part of the First Church family.
Please hear me when I say the following: I have deeply loved every single second that I have been at First Church. God gave me the opportunity to come to know many great people and develop relationships that have the potential to last a lifetime. As the Director of Student Ministries I've had the opportunity to work with some absolutely, amazingly incredible Students and their families. I pray with all my heart and soul that somehow, someway, something that I've said or something that we've done since I've been at First Church has made a lasting impact on those students' lives. We've got some pretty neat teenagers at First Church, with very special and unique relationships with Jesus Christ. My prayer for each and every one of them is that they would wake up each day of their lives and follow Jesus no matter what throughout their entire lives. I pray that they would grow in their knowledge of His Holy Scriptures and that The Holy Spirit will guide their every decision. And when they stumble and fall, I pray that they will know that Jesus is right there ready and waiting to pick them right back up.
My last Sunday at First Church will be September 25th. I have accepted a position as the Director of Student Ministries at another church here in OKC. I'll say two things about this decision ... First, I sincerely mean it when I say its been the most difficult decision I've ever had to make. And Second, My family and I have sought God and His will/calling for us every step of the way and have total peace and clarity that this is the next move in our Journey called life that God has planned out for us. We will truly miss those at First Church who have supported us and have been there for us throughout the last 8 1/2 years. We are proud to call you friends. Most importantly, and this should hopefully go without saying, but ... I WILL MISS ALL OF OUR AMAZING STUDENTS SO SO SO VERY MUCH!
BUT ... The good news is, God is in control! Just as He has led us into a new chapter in our lives, He is also preparing the way for what's next in the Youth Ministry at First Church; and that should be exciting for each and every one of those amazing students that I will miss so much.
Lastly. I want to say Thank You. Thank you to First Church for giving me the opportunity to serve your Youth Ministry for the past 8 1/2 years. Thank you to all of the families that have allowed me that opportunity as well. It has truly been an incredible experience and I couldn't express my gratitude any more if I tried. So ... I'll simply say ... Thank you all so very much! I will always be praying for you and can't wait to hear about what God does next at First Church.
May God Bless The Family of First Church OKC, may you all follow Him wholeheartedly and may you continue to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!
As my good pal Mickey Mouse would say ... "See Ya Real Soon!"