Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 73: Coming Up....5 Years!

I am a pretty sentimental person and am truly humbled as we move into the fall of 2010. You see on September 29, 2005 I received a letter from the former A/G district superintendent saying "This letter is to put in writing what I shared with you on the telephone that the Board of Presbyters has appointed you as the new pastor for Radiant Fellowship." The fact is, I have kept all of the letters I received from the district office during that trying time. It was always my dream to someday pastor a church...I just never thought it would come about this way. After serving under a pastor in Milwaukee that had two affairs, then a year later dealing with what I did in Waupaca...to be honest...I was ready to quit ministry. It was because of good friends/mentors that told me "I am glad you went through what you did in Milwaukee so that you can help this church get through this" that I stuck with it.

The A/G presbytery and leadership saw something in me and asked if this is something I want to do. In fact, it was asked "should we keep it going or shut it down?" I love Waupaca and therefore said, "let's make a go of it." To say "this was going to be easy" would not be true. It was probably the toughest thing I have ever done in fact. To restart a church with 8 people and a mortgage just about made me go batty. Not only was I dealing with disgruntled former Radiant Fellowship goers, I had to deal with the former staff as well because they stuck around in town. It was the norm to get letters, phone calls, and verbal attacks (a few times screaming). This was pretty much a bi-weekly occurrence for 2-3 years. Fact is, there are some still in town that used to go to Radiant Fellowship who won't even say "hi" to me when we pass in public. I enjoyed the ministry but was really close to leaving. The first three years I was the pastor of Radiant Fellowship I was offered 15 positions from other churches around the U.S. from youth pastor jobs to tech team positions. God would not let me go from this place.

I am proud to see all that God has done with this place since then. We have become a general council status church, currently there are two part time staff pastors and the church has grown to 70+ with a massive online ministry. We have been referred to as "that church not afraid to try new things." With outreach ministries like Church at the Pub and other things we are seeing people come to Christ in some great ways. It is exciting to see emails come in from other pastors and churches that tell us "we love what you are doing....what can you teach us about....." For a church that has 70+ people, we generate 6000+ hits a month on our website, blogs, and podcasts.

Tracy and I remain excited about the future of Radiant Fellowship. So far in 2010 we have seen God open many unique doors with speaking engagements at churches and Christian music festivals. I got word that my book is going to be published on Amazon in January 2011 and we continue to see God's blessings in our own life and church. I will admit that I almost went mental in 2009 adjusting to two children with our adoption. Jokingly I will tell people to please forgive me for my conduct in 2009 because I was not myself as I was on a serious rollercoaster emotionally. When I wanted to bail on ministry, my friends who are older than me and have been in ministry longer encouraged me to stay the course.

I am honored that this September marks my 5 year anniversary as the pastor of Radiant Fellowship and with a support group like I have...it has made my time all the more easier. I am looking forward to MANY MANY more wonderful years of ministry at Radiant Fellowship!!!!


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