Monday, August 31, 2009

We are expanding....

This isn't specifically job-related, but it is an exciting thing to pray for.

We are 10 weeks pregnant! We are expecting Baby Turner in late March. This is our first, so we are confused and bewildered at the whole thing. I never knew growing a "mini-me" would be so exhausting and zap my energy quite so much. This is a whole new world for us - and it has turned our parents inside out. One of my Mom's first comments was, "Oh - we get to go SHOPPING!". My Dad has called me a few times to remind me to eat right and not drive crazy.

Planned? Yes, pretty much.

How do I feel? Tired and yucky, but no real "sickness" which has been nice.

Cravings? I had a dream about chicken fingers one night after eating a salad with honey mustard. We went out and had them for dinner that following night - and I really thought they were the best thing I had ever eaten.

On the directly job-related front: TJ is applying for senior pastor positions at a bunch of small congregational churches in CT and MA. There are several pastors in the area who are interested in helping mentor/guide TJ through the frightening process of church revitalization, which is a huge need in the North East. So please pray that one of the opportunities will work out and that it will be a positive situation.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The post-trip update...

Sorry this is a week late. As soon as we got home we had some family in town for a few days and then back to work. Both of us kept saying "hey, we need to update the blog" but neither had the oomph to do it. So here it is! Thank you to all the prayers, texts, emails and facebook messages we recieved while traveling - we felt, and still feel, loved by all of you so much.

Let me start by saying we really liked New England. The people were great, it was really pretty and the summers are AWESOME compared to 95 and 95% humidity. Yes, the winters will be brutal - but I have every intention of getting some cross country skis and enjoying it. (I'm originally from Michigan, so hopefully that will help). We spent a day in Boston and would move there in an instant if we could - we loved it. It could have been the fact we ate the most incredible canolis ever and walked through an area called "Little Italy" where it smelled like heaven and everyone spoke Italian. We also sat in the Public Garden watching the swan boats drinking fresh squeezed lemonade....yeah, also nice. We also spent some time in New Haven (where Yale is) and it was a similar feeling. There were a diverse group of people running around, walking in parks, hanging out, etc. It just felt alive. Hartford was ok, but the town seem to go to sleep Friday at 6. Boo!

It doesn't look like the Interim Pulpit Supply of New Englan (IPSNE) will actually be a full time job for TJ. At least not until Doug, the guy who will be officially heading up, sells his house in Hickory and moves up. And I don't think the housing market is too hot right now. So as far as that goes, it's probably a no-go.

The church (as in global) up there needs an awakening. Since it's not cool to go to hip churches with one-word names like Elevation, Perimeter, Warehouse, etc, there are very few younger folks really even going - people don't go to church up there. It's boring and full of old people. And unfortunately what we've heard is that most of the churches in New England in general aren't really teaching the Bible, preaching the gospel or getting into messy ministry. It is happening some places, but it's not very prevalent.

We actually went to a "Jazz Service" at Old South Church which was something else. Keep in mind this church was founded in 1624, the building is a couple hundred years old and the most beautiful building I've seen in the US. Sadly, we sat through a "sermon" and "communion" and never heard real truth.

While we were up there, TJ met with a couple guys within the 4C Denomination. (I hadn't ever heard of it either). Historically and on paper it's reformed and similar to PCA, but just lacks some cool fresh pastors (like TJ, he's pretty cool I think). He's actually had a couple good leads that will hopefully turn into full time jobs. Many of these churches have parsonages, which would rock - we wouldn't have to find somewhere to live via email.

Basically it's this: We've narrowed our search to New England and broadened it slightly outside the PCA but without a ministry job for TJ, we aren't moving. Before we had mentioned either raising money or moving up there and just getting any jobs, but that's a big move to do sort of....crazy like that (though even with a church gig for TJ we still may have to raise part of the money).

Please continue to pray that God will lead us to the right job for us.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mid-week report

Well we've been in Connecticut for three full days, about half the time we'll be here, so I thought it would be good to give an update.

Long story short: we're still not sure. We like Hartford and like New Haven even more. We think it would be very possible for us to live here and be happy and enjoy the area, including being 90 ninutes from NYC and 2 hours from Boston. In fact we took advantage of that by visiting New Haven today (about 45 min) and are visiting Boston on Thursday.

We also know there is plenty of potential for ministry here. We met today with the head of an urban ministry here in Hartford and learned that there is a tremendous need for an active, outreach oriented and (especially) incarnational church in Hartford. (For those of you unfamiliar with ministry buzz words that basically means they really need Christians to come live in the poor, drug ridden and run down communities.) This is something we would love to be a part of. What we don't know at this point is whether or not there is going to be any real opportunity to do Interim Pulpit Supply, which is the main reason we're interested in this in the first place. There is a really good chance that tomorrow is going to answer that question.

Tomorrow we're meeting with a representative of CCCC (Conservative Congregational Churches of Connecticut) to find out if they would be interested in partnering with IPS to bring people like me in to their churches to fill empty pulpits. If they are then there is a very good chance we'll be heading this direction. If they're not, however, then it doesn't look good. Basically, if this doesn't work out I really don't think there will be enough opportunity for me to really do ministry here to justify us moving up, at least not for 6 months or more. (That's not to say that we couldn't be involved in ministry with the church and the community here but we don't feel anywhere near a strong enough call to this area to relocate here to have the same kind of involvement we already have with our church in Charlotte, which we love and will be sad to leave anyway.)

So please pray for our meeting tomorrow at noon, because it may well decide whether we move up here or not.

We're also not 100% sure that we will mesh well with the leadership here. The two main people we'd be involved with (Al and Doug) are great guys and we have a lot to learn from them but we're not sure they get us (or our generation) and they're a little more old school in how they think about and do ministry that I think I realized. That's not a bad thing necessarily, just not what I expected.

So please continue to pray for clarity for us and that this meeting tomorrow will confirm this as our calling or make it clear that it's not.