I began my first full-time ministry position. That beautiful January day I was introduced and welcomed as the new Youth and Family Minister for the Clear Lake Church of Christ. I had graduated a few weeks previous from Abilene Christian University with a degree in Bible with an emphasis on youth and family ministry. The church there was patient and taught me a lot about what it means to be professional and what it looks like to do ministry every day of the year, not just the summers. There are so many people from that time that I still have contact with and that we love dearly. When I arrived at that church 17 years ago I was single and green. I ministered at Clear Lake for 6 years, when I was called to a new place. During my time there, Leah and I were married and began our life together. The church celebrated us with showers and many attending our wedding. While I was there I had many ups and downs. I realize more each year how patient that church was with me and am thankful for the experience. It was hard to leave, but I am proud of my years there and all the things that with the help of great volunteers we were able to accomplish. When we left, we left an extremely active youth ministry that was dedicated to allowing God to move them. I left a staff that was hard-working and supportive. We left a small group that was growing close and even to this day we remain close.
On this day minus 1 in 2006
I began my second full-time ministry position. During our college years both Leah and I worshipped at the Highland Church of Christ. I was year-round intern for the church for 3 and 1/2 years previous to moving to Clear Lake. This ministry had a dramatic and emotional beginning. Two weeks after beginning the group went to Winterfest in Dallas and on our way back we took time to remember and process the year anniversary of a major accident the group had had in 2005 which injured several students, a driver, and killed one student. It was extremely dificult to walk into pain and expected to minister to them when I was not part of the group at the time of the accident. Abilene and Highland were great for us as a family. We strengthened relationships there and enjoyed a season of ministry that was healthy, encouraging, and challenging. Leah and I grew leaps and bounds in our faith and hope that we were able to return some of that to the church and community. During our 6 plus years in Abilene I was able to finish my masters of divinity and our twin sons were born. We left behind deep friendships, fantastic jobs, and Smith drive where we brought our boys home from the hospital.
We are grateful for our latest ministry adventure. We are coming up on 5 years here and really enjoy the beauty and wondeful community of Conway. Leah has just begun teaching full-time again at an excellent school. I love seeing the growth our church is having. The Spirit of God is in this place and we are humbled that He is using us for His mission. We begin a new year thankful for where we've been, where we are, and where God will take us. As I did in 2000, as we did in 2006, we will once again keep our eyes wide open for how God chooses to use us for His mission and His glory.
And truly thankful that we are not moving and beginning in a new place! Conway is home and God is doing some amazing things at the University Church of Christ.