Thursday, May 10, 2007

our journey continues . . .

My wife and I received some exciting news this week. I have been offered a scholarship to attend Denver Seminary in Littleton, CO. This is very bittersweet news because it means we will be leaving our dear church family at First Evangelical Free Church in Boone, IA at the end of July.

Over the past several years at First Free, God has been confirming my call for pastoral ministry. He has given me a passion to preach God’s Word and lead the local church. God willing, I desire to serve in the church for as many years as I am able. With this in mind, we feel formal training is a wise investment for the years to come. How to achieve this has been a discussion in our household over the last several years.

We were accepted to and visited both Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Denver Seminary last fall. Carrie and I both loved Denver Seminary and planned at that point to begin classes May 2007. But when we learned that our senior pastor was planning to leave First Free, we began to pray about staying on and continuing to minister. In fact, I applied for the In-Ministry program at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, so that I could get an education and stay in full-time ministry.

The past few months have been months of prayer and seeking counsel. We love Boone, our church family, our students and adult volunteers, and our close proximity to family. Furthermore, we would prefer not to begin raising our family in a strange place. At the same time, it would be very difficult to give my best as a full-time pastor, husband and new father, and student all at once.

We came to Boone in 2003 because it seemed like a wise decision. God opened a door for us to serve this family, and we were honored to take it. Now four years later, it seems wise to take this opportunity to spend the next three years in intense Biblical and pastoral training. We continue to listen for God’s voice in this matter, so we ask your prayers and your support. We hope that God continues to confirm to you and us that this is His will for our lives.

We have been so pleased to participate in God’s work at First Free. I see God moving in so many lives. God is maturing believers, calling out leaders, and using current leaders to guide the flock. New life is springing up at First Free. These are exciting days, and it pains us to leave this family that we have grown to love so much.

We pray that we can make some special memories over the next few months. And we hope to come back and visit. We don’t feel like we are leaving the church, but rather we feel that they are sending us onto future ministry endeavors.