A New Call and a Hard Goodbye

I am excited to announce that, beginning in January, I will be the pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church in New Castle, PA. (http://npcnc.org/) This is larger church than the one I currently serve, and they are doing some great things. I will get to work with the church staff and serve a place that seems ready for energy and creativity. The plan will be for us to move to a rental house right now and then potentially buy a house later in 2018. I will be preaching there for the first time on January 7.

I have actually been discerning God’s call for some time. I sensed earlier this year that I was going to be making move, I just could not find the right fit. I turned down several jobs or withdrew my name from consideration from a number of others because I felt a sense of God saying “no.” I will confess to being frustrated with God at times as I was wondering what he was up to.

When Northminster came open, I set up to do an interview with them. I had a good feeling going into the meeting, and about 10 minutes in I thought this really might be the place. They were sensing the same thing, and it was a God-thing that we found each other.

And so, it is rather humorous that I will move from Westminster to Northminster, and move from New Brighton to New Castle (actually, it is called Neshannock there).

The news is also bittersweet as I will be leaving Westminster Presbyterian Church. I am so thankful for my time at Westminster. I have felt so loved and cared for in the nearly eight years I have been there. At a time when the average pastoral stay in America is only three years, it was such a blessing to be there for so long. When I started at Westminster, I was in my first year of seminary. I was living in Pittsburgh and coming out to preach and do a weekday in the office. I had two kids then with a third on the way. Jayden and Moey were three and four years old. Colvin was born 5 weeks after I started here. We had Eden here. I got not only a Master of Divinity but a Doctor of Ministry with their support and prayers. These have been such formative and important years for me and my family.

But it is time for me to go, and God has clearly called me to this new place. Both I and my family feel great sadness as we feel like we are not just leaving friends, but truly leaving family. At the same time, we already feel like we are heading to a great new family.

So, to Westminster—thanks for such great years together, and may God continue to bless you, that He might be glorified through you.

And to Northminster—I am so excited that God brought us together and look forward to ministry with you.

Let me finish by pointing out that this is often how God works. He often calls us to something and away from something. One door opens while another one closes. A “no” helps open you up to a “yes.” God speaks in stereo like that. That is sometimes hard to deal with in the season. Emotions are simpler when they are not mixed.

My advice is this: love and live deeply so that goodbye’s are hard but without regrets, and so that hello’s are full of anticipation to outshine the anxiety of something new.

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