Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
God brings us both trials and blessings, although, if we have eyes to see it, our trials are often foremost among our blessings. This has been a season where God has shown me my limits in real and material ways, and in doing so, has forced me to count upon him for provision where I fall short.
After the discouraging response from the community for the initial launch of the church plant, as well as my struggles with maintaining both my seminary coursework and exam preparation, the session at Grace BPC decided that it would be best to suspend formal services for the summer, to permit me the time to get a better handle on my responsibilities and attempt to relaunch in the fall. I am in full agreement with this decision. My optimism (and lack of experience) led me to say “yes” to too many endeavors this spring, such that I was able to give none of them the time and effort which they required.
While it is certainly embarrassing that my abilities were not adequate to do all that was asked of me, such embarrassment is a powerful antidote to pride. The plan proposed for the remainder of the summer and the relaunch in the fall feels much more seasoned by wisdom, and I entertain strong hopes that the Lord is fully fitting me for his ministry through this process. I am happy to note that I passed my licensure exams and was licensed this month by the Great Lakes Presbytery! I would appreciate your prayers as I continue to study for my ordination exams.
The other pressing need for the church plant is to bulk up our core group somewhat. While the folks we have at the moment are extremely dedicated and a great blessing to me, we have not gotten over the threshold so that we have a critical mass of bodies to do the work and sustain the ministries of the church. Part of my arrogance on display this spring was the assumption that, if I simply worked as hard as I could and trusted the Lord, that I could bear the weight of the work required myself. This has not proved to be the case, but through this, the Lord has given me a deep love for the body as a corporate entity and a true respect for the importance of having a variety of giftings and personalities doing the work.
On a more personal note, my wife Libby and I recently celebrated our 9th anniversary, and despite the chaos of this season of life, it is a true blessing to have such a godly woman standing and working beside me in this ministry. Thanks to my sister-in-law and father, we were able to spend the bulk of a day together, visiting the Cincinnati Museum Centre and having a nice dinner. While this might seem like a relatively minor deal, it was deeply refreshing for us.
Moving forward, we would greatly appreciate your prayer for the church plant, both that we would be able to grow the core group to maintain a critical mass when we relaunch in September and that we would be able to raise the profile of the church in Milford so that we can call others to believe in Christ and worship him in truth. Personally, I would appreciate prayer for increasing discipline and holiness, through the Holy Spirit, so that I might be adequate to the work. It is firmly beyond my natural abilities, but it is often through a realization of our relative impotence that the glory of God is made most evident.
Grace and peace,