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.