This morning we shared with our church family something that God has been working on in our family’s hearts over the past several months. We sent a letter out to our church earlier this week explaining some of the details, and this morning shared the news that next summer we are moving to Dublin, Ireland to plant a Vineyard church. [I am still at a point where every time I write or say that sentence, I think, “Wait, are we really doing this?”] This is something that we have been wrestling with for several months, and after a lot of prayer, fasting, some really good counsel, and another trip over to Ireland this July to meet with Vineyard pastors there, we have decided that this is in fact the next step God has for us in our walk with him.
One of that hardest parts of this whole process has been not being able to talk publicly about it until now. As you can imagine, telling something like that to the church, and then deciding, “never mind,” would not be the healthiest thing for the church. Even with our kids, we waited until things were almost certain before talking to them. Within an 8 day period of time, they learn they are likely moving to a new country, and then have a new baby sister (who ends up in the NICU for the first 3 days of her life). Yeah, March was a little crazy around our place!
Being able to share with people the things I am excited about is one of the things I enjoy most about pastoring. Often there is something God is doing in my life, maybe through a book I read, or a conference I go to where I hear something & think, “I can’t wait to talk about that!” It is similar with this blog. When it’s working well, it is generally me sharing stuff that I am excited about-things God has given me a passion for. So, as you might imagine, having something this big that God is doing in your life and not being able to share it has been difficult.
At the same time, talking to people about this for the first time has been pretty emotional. This is a huge move for our kids, and although they believe that this is what God has for our family, it was difficult news for them to receive. And while talking to our congregation today was also emotional (although I did make it through without crying :-), Elizabeth and I were both overwhelmed with the love, encouragement, and support we received from so many people this morning. This is simply an amazing church family that we have the privilege to be part of!
So now that the cat is out of the bag, I want to use this space over the next week or so to let you in on what God has been doing in our lives, and what the future looks like as we prepare to head to Dublin. Much of the next 10 months will be spent working to bring in the person that God has raised up to be the next lead pastor at the Ithaca Vineyard. At the same time, we will be working at raising prayer and financial support, and figuring out all of the stuff we need to do to land well in Dublin next July.
While I’m sure the topic of Dublin will come up more than a few times over the next 10 months here, for the next several days we want to share how this whole thing came to pass, and various other aspects of this process. If there are parts of this that you are curious about, please put them in the comments section and we’ll make sure to answer them as well.
We are excited (and still a little scared) about this next step that God has called us to and look forward to sharing it.