Last summer, the leadership at North Main Baptist Church asked me to consider transitioning from the full-time Interim Student Pastor position into a permanent Student Pastor role. The timing could not have been better. After a rough first year of ministry in Virginia, the Lord had begun to turn things around and was seriously blessing our ministry. All signs pointed to longevity. But, as I committed to pray with my wife over the matter, the Lord gave us pause. We asked for more time to pray, unsure if I had gotten cold feet or if the Lord was calling us on to something else. As time progressed, it became clear that God was leading me and my family to turn down the permanent position, but to stay in the Interim role until He told us to do otherwise.
About five months later, He did. Although I had conversations going with other ministries in several major cities, no position was waiting for us when the Holy Spirit clearly communicated to me that it was time to say goodbye to Broadcast and North Main. Although I knew the time was coming, I had no idea it would be such a difficult transition. I had truly come to love my students, their families, and the church there in Danville. And leaving them has been one of the hardest things I have had to do. But despite the pain and turmoil I’ve been through in this time of transition, I know that we are following God’s will.
Sometimes it can be very difficult to hear and discern what God is trying to tell you. I have had my fair share of such uncertainty. But this time is different. Although I did not want to leave my ministry, I can clearly state three reasons why I know the God has called us to this time of transition:
1) The Lord said to go.
This has been terrifying, because there is no job waiting. But sometimes God calls His people to trust in Him even in uncertainty. In Genesis 12, God called Abram to get up and go. The trouble was that God did not say where! “Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you'” (Gen. 12:1 ESV). In 1 Samuel 14, Jonathan and his armor bearer went up to attack the Philistine army all by themselves, with one sword between the two of them. This was the definition of a daunting task. And worse still, Jonathan was not positive that the Lord was calling them to go and fight: “Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, ‘Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few.'” Terrifying.
Sometimes God calls His people into uncertain situations, so that they will trust in His power above their own. I feel that He has called my family into this type of situation. I have no idea from where my next paycheck will come or to whom I will get to minister next. But I do know that my God is able to provide and to save, because nothing is impossible for Him!
2) We did what the Lord asked us to do.
In my first message to the church at North Main, I declared that God had called us to help the students develop in the Word, to go from milk on to solid food, to the point where they could even teach (Hebrews 5:11-14). We inherited a group of really nice and polite young people. But I was convinced that these students, as sweet as they were, did not know Jesus nor His Word well. So, we spent two years throwing the students into the deep end of the gospel pool. My approach will never be found in a student ministry textbook, but the Lord worked through my idealism and built into our students a gospel focus, to the praise of His glorious grace. Here are a few things we have seen the Lord do in our 2 years at NMBC:
- The students have grown in the knowledge of the Word
- One student has preached at Broadcast
- At least five students have delivered the gospel in public settings through school assemblies, chapel services, and speeches
- A solid 15% of our group has expressed a desire or a calling to vocational ministry
- We have studied through Philippians, the Sermon on the Mount, and Jonah together
- Almost all of our students have gone on mission either domestically or internationally in our tenure at NMBC
- We have seen, in the past 10 months, 26 people come to faith in Jesus Christ through Broadcast Student Ministry!
The idea that we have completed what God has called us to do was driven home on that last bullet point. On the night of our announcement, we had seen 21 people come to know Jesus since I challenged the students to win 25 to Christ in a year last May. On that night, two students responded to a gospel invitation. The next week, one of our students led another friend to Jesus. And lastly, on our MOVING DAY, one of our middle school girls led TWO friends to Christ! This brought our goal to a close, with 26!
God has shown Himself more than faithful in our time in Virginia.
3) The Lord is preparing us for what is next
The past two years have been hard, stressful, tiring, painful, exciting, adventurous, and overwhelming. We believe that God has led us home for a time of spiritual, mental, and physical renewal in order to prepare us for our next assignment! Being home will allow me the opportunity to finish Seminary one semester faster (by Christmas!) and will afford me the chance to learn under some seasoned and trustworthy pastors. We intend to wait on the Lord to clearly send us out to our next ministry assignment so that He will be glorified through us. My goal is to “delight myself in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4) and I am trusting that He will do the rest!
Greater things have yet to come.
Thank you, Broadcast and North Main for two amazing years. God has been good…and He will continue to be good as we see what He has in store for us.
Greater things are still to be done…