MY NEW HOME
Karen and I have been on the road ministering for the last 7 years. It has been wonderful and hard and we have loved it and been tired of it. It all depends on when you ask us about it!
Four years ago, we moved back to our hometown of Rochester, NY, bought our first home and began to put down roots. All the while we were traveling even more than previously.
Since we have been home, we have been longing for a resting place for our family on the Sundays we weren’t traveling. We have spent a season with three different churches since we have been back and each of them have had leadership that love us, believe in us and are cheering us on. They have good teaching, good worship and members that are hungry for the Kingdom.
Considering that we were about to be home a lot more because of the Welton Academy and being able to travel less, we really wanted a community which fulfilled some deep longings in our hearts. I had seen some incredible churches in my travels, but what had always stuck out to me were the ones filled with a sense of family and deep connection. We longed for that same atmosphere in the church that we would attend when off the road.
In the summer of 2013, Karen and I began to attend New Hope Community Church in North Chili, NY, about 20 minutes from our home. In a matter of weeks we were hooked. Having traveled around the world, I can honestly say for the first time since late high school that I truly miss being home for church on the Sundays that I travel.
I got up to speak this last Sunday and I realized that I had an ache in my heart because I wouldn’t see my Pastor Ralph and get some of his super encouragement. I wouldn’t discuss Eschatology with my buddy Steve in the café after church, I wouldn’t see his wife Joy and work together with her to tease Steve. I wouldn’t see Pete, Tom, or Bob sitting at the senior’s table, which they graciously let me join when I am in town. I wouldn’t see Dave the Master Chef humbly serving coffee and telling me about his latest sporting events. I wouldn’t have Dick come up and catch me off guard with an odd quip or nail me with a prophetic word. Or any of the other five or so “new-to-me” people that introduce themselves each week.
I have talked with countless other traveling ministers over the years and they have expressed the same longing. They have not been able to find a church where they can be respected but not treated like a celebrity, a place where they are respected but the pastor’s insecurities are not triggered by having the traveling minister attending. This has been such a common struggle for my colleagues that I was growing sincerely concerned about finding a resting place for my family. I am so thankful for where the Lord has planted us and I simply wanted to take this blog to tell you about this wonderful development in our lives. Even as I write this, I know that many of you have the same longing.
I sincerely pray that the Lord would lead you to find a tribe where you fit, are respected, valued and loved deeply. We all need a place like that. Don’t give up looking!
God bless you.