Monday, January 19, 2009

Living in Payne

Since September 2007, I've have been trying to figure out God's call on my life. I've been asking questions like "Where do you want me?" "Who do you want me to reach?" "What role do you want me to play?" "What role am I ready to play?" At times, it has been difficult to figure out and difficult to wait on God.

As time went on, a couple things began clearing up for me. For starters, my heart was in the Midwest, especially, Ohio. I also still had a heart for the Older Brother (see Prodigal Son Story). The hardest part was determining my role. I did not know whether I was still suppose to be a Youth Minister. My heart was not completely in it if it meant doing "traditional" Youth Ministry. Plus, the few opportunities that came up, just did not feel right for one reason or another. I began looking for Minister positions. I wanted more options and wanted to see if that is where God wants me go.

Around Thanksgiving, one Church contacted me in a small rural town in Ohio named Payne. It is in Paulding County and about a half hour from Fort Wayne.

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The man I talked to was recently elected County Commissioner and we really seemed to connect. He said that they were looking for someone to help turn around a dying church in a hurting community. They wanted to fly us up for a more in depth interview. Lori and I, with nothing better to do, agreed to go up there. It was a fun visit. We really liked the people. We were impressed with the leadership's willingness to open. We were also pretty open because we had nothing to lose.

As we left, Lori and I knew the position would be a challenge but really did not notice any red flags. The people were nice, but the community seems to be lacking hope. Life there would be a lot simpler, something we would both like. Paulding County is one of the poorest counties in Ohio. It is also huge agricultural and bedroom county. Wind Farms are going to be the hot new industry in the area. So it seems to be the antithesis of Raleigh. There also were not a lot of churches in the town. Keeping all of this in mind, we could not help but feel a tug in our heart for the community. So, we simply left it in God's hands.

As the year turned from 08 to 09, we did not hear anything from them. We simply kept looking for options, trying to be patient and not desperate. That was until about a week ago. The church contacted us and offered us the role of Minister of this small church. Lori and I were honored by the request and began seeking God as to whether this was the right next step. After seeking counsel from many people, talking a lot and listening to God, Lori and I have agreed that God was calling us to serve in Payne, OH.

We are both scared and excited by the possibility. I don't know if I truly am ready to lead but maybe this is the exact type of person God wants to use in this role. I know it is going to be tough but we know that with God's help we are up to it. I will be turning this blog into a journal chronicling of our adventure in Payne. The successes. The failures. The highs. The lows. We are going to be moving over the last two weeks of February.

Watch Out Ohio, here we come!


Chris said...

Congrats! I wish you too the best with this next stage of your life. I'll be praying for you. Welcome back to the Midwest!

Gman said...

Welcome to the new role and well challenges.

JoeWimberley said...

congrats to you and Lori...all the best.