As the Spring semester came to a close last year, I began praying specifically about what God would have me do after seminary, given that I had roughly two semesters remaining here in Louisville. My prayer was basically that the Lord would open a door during the course of that summer and give me direction as to where he would have me go, serve, and give my life in gospel ministry. Shortly after I began praying, I was approached about an opportunity that I never imagined or considered myself doing. For a period of about two months, I shared regular conversation with the pastor about ministry and whether I sensed God’s leading in pursuing this opportunity, that is, with the intention of being open to serving as an associate pastor.
Knowing very little about the church, my wife and I were invited to spend a weekend there for a mini-vacation to see the area and get to know the church. I spoke several times and was able to meet many of the members, all of whom were a great encouragement to us. From that visit, we believed that it was God’s will to formally consider the position at this church. The following six months included what you would expect from church inquiry, such as resumes and references, and the elders came to the conviction that I was to be recommended to the church for the position of Associate Pastor.
During that time of waiting and praying, I wrestled for several weeks (if not months) about God’s leading in this matter. However, that period of time made the confirmation all the more sweet as I began to have an abiding peace and resignation to God’s purpose for my life. Last month, it was made known to the church that I was recommended for the position and would be coming in a couple weeks to visit and preach in view of a call, which took place last weekend. And yesterday, the church gathered together to decide on the recommendation of the elders to have me as an Associate Pastor of their church. Through a live video conference call, I received word that they had voted in almost unanimous manner to have me and my family come, to which we enthusiastically agreed.
So where exactly are we going?
At the conclusion of this semester, we will be joining Grace Baptist Church of Cape Coral, Florida.
The past nine months have been an incredible journey for us, and we are thrilled about God leading us to Grace. While I could give you numerous reasons why I am confident that God has brought us together, I will say that reading The Mystery of Providence was quite apropo! 😉 As a minister, this decision carries with it (Lord willing) a life assignment, and I have not taken such a monumental decision during these past nine months lightly. As a husband and father, however, this decision also carries huge implications, and I can say without hesitation that there is not another body of believers that I would rather have my wife and family to know, love, grow, and serve together. Grace has welcomed us into their homes, into their hearts, and into their lives, and it is there that they have made us feel like we’re home.
Furthermore, it goes without saying that their pastor, Tom Ascol, has been like a spiritual father in my life over the past three years. There is not another pastor and shepherd who loves his people, exhibits the grace of the gospel, and preaches the Word like this man. To come alongside him, to serve and assist him in pastoral responsibilities is a tremendous privilege and responsibility that is humbling and exciting. As one who is young and has much to learn in ministry, God has placed me under the tutelage and training of a great Bible expositor and gospel-centered minister, and I pray that as a good steward of such a trust, I will be useful in the kingdom and in building Christ’s church.
The people of Grace Baptist Church are those whom we look forward to rejoicing with, weeping with, laughing with, and grieving with. Already God has given us a longing to serve and minister with them, and our greatest challenge will be in the next two months as we begin to transition from seminary life to life in the local church – Grace Baptist Church, our new home.
Please pray for us and for Grace as we make this transition. I will keep you updated on the developments in the upcoming weeks and months. This journey is just beginning for us, and I cannot wait to see what God has in store. With every step, with every move, and with every decision, it is my heart’s desire that I have trusted God, treasured Christ, and triumphed his gospel for the glory of His name and the good of His people.