So here's where we're at right now. For several months we've been talking with a Pastor in the area, Doug Miller, about moving to Connecticut to help him organize and develop a ministry called Interim Pulpit Supply of New England. Chances are you aren't aware of the fact that over 30% of churches in New England have no pastors, you may also not know that only around 2% of the population of Connecticut, for example, would describe themselves as Evangelical Christians. These statistics blew my mind. The purpose of IPS is to fill the pulpits of these churches with Biblical, Gospel-minded, reformed preachers. In addition to simply not having a pastor for some time many of these churches lost the Gospel long ago with the move towards theological liberalism. After years without the Word of God people are hungry for the life-changing truth of the Gospel and there is tremendous opportunity there, which is where IPS comes in.
IPS works by bringing seminary students or recent graduates to the area for an internship in which they preach in local churches who have no pastor. The Ultimate goal and hope is that the churches will actually want one of these interns to become their full-time pastor, or that these interns will develop a passion for the area and plant new churches there. Until now, IPS has been a part-time ministry run by people with full-time jobs and responsibility. The hope is that Doug and I will be able to develop it into a full-fledged ministry.
There are only two things holding us back at the moment. Doug needs his house to sell and we need an income. Doug has been thinking creatively to try to solve this problem and we have a potential solution in the works. Basically, Doug has approached one of these churches without a pastor and offered them a 2 for 1 deal. We would both come on staff at the church for one year (or more if they want). He would live in the house the church owns and we would take the salary. (Doug's retired and doesn't need the income.) The elders of the church are supposed to discuss this possibility this week (today, in fact) and let us know tomorrow whether we should come up and meet with them to further pursue this. If that works out we could be moving in a month.
At the same time there are several other opportunities I'm pursuing by applying to several Assistant Pastor positions and we're also hoping to talk with one church about the possibility of helping plant a church as an assistant. This is hard for me, however. I'd much rather be committed to Interim Pulpit Supply and pursue that but it's entirely possible that tomorrow we'll find out that the church isn't interested and be back to square one. And, though we love the potential that this ministry could have, so far God hasn't convinced us 100% which direction we need to go, which, again, makes it hard. If we were convinced of our direction then we could work towards it and do whatever we needed to, but as it is we have to wait on God to make it clear, which is not fun.