Many of you who read this already know, but I can really make it public knowledge now. I have resigned my position as Youth Pastor at First Church and have accepted the Senior Pastor position for the Living Hope Church in Dixon, CA. While we are sad to leave Lebanon, we are very excited about what God is doing in Dixon.
I started talking to the elders at Living Hope towards the end of September and it has been quite a process of taking it slow to make sure this was the right decision for them and for my family. Lots of prayer together, fasting together, long conversations, trips, and interviews. I have to say, though, from my very first contact with Living Hope, I told Jamie that this just feels like a church tailor-made for us. When Jamie got into the conversation, she felt exactly the same way. Living Hope is a young Evangelical Free church (about 6 years old). They are also young age-wise. They are a self-supporting church (average attendance 80-110), but they are not yet property owners. Sunday morning worship takes place in an elementary school gymnatorium. They also rent a space for teens and offices. I love that they're not tied to anything physical - there's a very real sense of Living Hope Church being people - not buildings. Dixon is a smallish town of about 18,000 (near Sacramento), but it's sandwiched between two larger towns. There are only 7 evangelical churches in Dixon, none of which seem to be averaging more than 150. So it really is a mission field. Everybody involved just feels like Living Hope is on the brink of something great. It's a very exciting church to be in right now!
This is obviously a big step for us. I kind of always thought I would retire as the oldest living youth pastor. But over the last year or so I began to feel God transitioning my heart out of youth ministry and giving me a heart for pastoring. I really have a sense of calling with this move. The only other thing in my life that I've felt that with was my decision to preach. All the other positions I've accepted, were because they made sense or there was sort of a sense of God opening a door. But with Living Hope, I really feel like all roads in my life have led here. I can look back on all my former experiences and see how they've prepared me for this.
My last Sunday at First Church will be 2/17 and then we'll start the trek to California later that week. Please pray for us as we pack and search for a house.