Today marks the 7 year anniversary of a major transition in Terri’s and my life and ministry. We have had previous significant transitions which saw us move to the other side of the world and back. This one was different resulting in us staying in the same city but our ministry context turning upside down. At the Lord’s leading we stepped out of a ministry context of being mega-church pastors in a denomination we shared ministry with for 30 years and into some new ministry thrusts that didn’t seem to fit that context.
At the time of that transition several things were happening:
We were entering a third period of life and ministry in (or near) our 50’s and “empty-nesters”;
I was in burn out; I had been recently diagnosed with leukemia; There was some “background noise” of unrest in a part of the congregation.
As a result there were some folks who drew conclusions that I was retiring. (Yes, I actually received cards wishing me well on my retirement.) There were some folks who drew conclusions that I was so ill that I was dying. (Yes, I have actually had folks see me in a local restaurant and remark with shocked look and tone that “You look so healthy and like yourself!”)
There were some other folks who seem to have drawn the conclusion that I have been casting about half-in and half-out of ministry. (And probably many other conclusions…take your pick.) So here is the real story…
I am Alive and Well. I have recovered from burn-out, responded well to treatment, been touched by the Lord’s healing power and have been and continue to be completely leukemia free for years! I have undergone recent back surgery but even that is healing very rapidly and ahead of schedule!
I am Active and Invigorated. Terri and I continue to actively minister in primary leadership at Gateway Church which we planted in 2009. With the Lord strengthening us I/we preach, teach, pray, counsel, and engage in all the other aspects of local pastoral leadership and wider itinerant ministry. I continue to “hatch, match and dispatch” ministering pastorally with two couples who birthed babies this week (3 to go very soon), preparing 3 more couples for marriage this summer and … no funerals (dispatching) presently in sight. I am loving life and ministry as much as, if not more than, ever!
I am At “Home” and Kingdom-Connected. I have never believed in a Christian life and/or ministry that was one of the “doing your own thing” variety. While the past several years have been a challenging journey in terms of discovering our Kingdom-alignment, we have been so blessed to see the Lord clearly lead in this regard also. Today I am at “home” in the Anglican Church of North America for several reasons. First, I was raised as an evangelical Methodist (the fruit of Wesley’s renewal movement in the Anglican Church). Second, the ACNA is a three-stream Anglican communion: evangelical, charismatic and catholic/historic/sacramental…I am an evangelical, charismatic, Anglican priest. Third, God wonderfully re-connected Terri and me with Bishop Roger and Gretsie Ames who have been used of God to facilitate the renewal movement of the Holy Spirit for many years in Northeastern Ohio. We are blessed to be under the covering of Bishop Roger and for Gateway to be fully aligned with the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes of the Anglican Church of North America.
So there you have it…I am Alive and Well; Actively Ministering and Invigorated; At “Home” and Kingdom-connected. For more details contact me or, better yet, invite me to have coffee. I will be glad to bend your ear for hours about the goodness of God and our adventurous journey on the Canterbury Trail over a good “Cup of Joe.”