Suggesting that the events of this year were unexpected would be a staggering understatement. At the end of last year, when I stepped out of my previous job and into the ministry, I understood that it would be disruptive on a fundamental level, but I thought I understood what that disruption would be. I thought that the Lord would be calling me to work long, irregular hours, confronting tasks which would force me to mortify my disposition to introversion, and requiring utmost skill to balance my obligations to family and church. This has all been true, but what I had not expected was that the Lord would regularly close doors which seemed so inviting and promising and open other doors which seemed strange and alien.
At the beginning of the year, we were pursuing a church plant in Milford, Ohio, near where our family lives. This seemed a sensible choice, as there was a dearth of confessional, conservative Presbyterian churches in the area and I was familiar with the lay of the land. We rented space from another congregation and pushed forward with making Atonement BP Mission a reality.
Now, at the end of the year, I have been ordained and am leading worship services in Lockland, Ohio with a group of folks I could not have expected being associated with this work, in a community which is alien and strange to me, and very, very far from my own backyard. We recently settled upon Foundation BP Mission as the new name for this work, since the group has changed substantially between the spring and the relaunch this winter. We have leased a space in Lockland and we’ve poured a lot of sweat equity into it to get it ready for services, rather than settling into a location which was ready-made for our use.
We have only been worshiping in this location for a few weeks now, but it is already apparent that the Lord is opening doors in this community which He had closed in Milford. While we fought and fought to get friends and acquaintances to come when we met in Milford with no real success, our very first week in Lockland we were joined by a local man who had no meaningful connections to any of us, despite the fact that we had not even advertised our meeting! While we had lots of difficulty getting any degree of buy-in for any of the events we ran in Milford, even the work projects to improve this new space have been extremely well-attended and you can see a growing solidarity in the body.
I was fully convinced that the plan we had in Milford was a sensible plan with high odds of success, and perhaps it was, but it was not the plan God intended us to follow. If you had laid out the path we’re on now to me at the beginning of the year, I would have laughed, as Sarah did, but the Lord brings joy out of mockery and life from barrenness. The leading of the Spirit is often unexpected, but His ways are higher and better than ours. As we go forward, I would ask that you pray for our success in the work that God has given us, as well as our openness to the path that He would have us to follow. He has already brought us a long way, and I know He will be with us as we go.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Jason Waeber