Monday, February 22, 2010

And here we go....

I've officially received and accepted a call to be the Associate Pastor at 2nd Congregational Church in Douglas, MA!

Now it's time to figure out how to get from here to there and I thought I'd start by filling in some of the details.

The purpose of my call is to fully prepare me to pastor a church in New England. This is really important because it shows that both the leadership of the church and I have a bigger vision for my ministry in New England than my time at 2nd Congregational. New England has become a virtually unreached mission field where the vast majority of churches have ceased to preach the Gospel. So our goal is to minister in New England by eventually planting a church or revitalizing a church. The goal of this calling is to prepare me for that.

In order to do that the church has called me for a minimum of 2 years and tasked me with doing pretty much everything that Bill, the senior pastor, does. So by the end of the 2 years I will have had some experience in every area of pastoral ministry and, depending on my progress and the growth of the church, I will have the option of leaving to plant a church or seek a calling as a senior pastor or of staying at 2nd Congo (this is what everybody calls it, by the way).

Here's what my job will look like over the next two years: Right away I'll jump into pastoral counseling and visitation. These are two of the areas where there is simply more need than Bill can meet on his own. I'll also start a small group Bible study and may do some teaching in Sunday school, depending on where the needs are. I'll be preaching about once a month and may occasionally be able to preach a short series and I'll be helping lead (aka emcee) the worship service and working with the worship team on developing the music. I'll also chair the deacon board and the elder board for about a year each. In addition I'll be doing funeral services in the area and other miscellaneous pastoral stuff that pastors do. And yes, you heard right, we might be living above a funeral home.

So what's the next step?

The next step is for us to raise support. The church is only able to pay about 45% of what we need to live in MA. This means we need to raise the rest. So we need to raise $32,000 per year for two years ($64,000 total). Fortunately, this is a lot less than I thought we would have to raise and is for a limited amount of time. We're also about to have a baby (only 5 weeks left!). So our hope is for fundraising and childbirth to line-up so that we're able to move not too long after Kerstin and Elling are both healthy enough to move.

So please keep doing what you've been doing: pray! God has been faithful so far and we believe he will continue to provide for us! I've never really raised support before, so if you have any advice I'll love to hear it. I know it's also going to be awkward asking people for money and this isn't exactly something I love doing (this is why I wasn't a good car salesman). So pray that it will be well received.

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