Wednesday, March 30, 2005

my last article for our church's paper

Thanks For The Memories

I wanted to write this last article to simply say “Thank You!”

• Thank you friends of Stony Creek Church for opening up your hearts and lives to me and my family for these past 5 and a half years.

• Thank you teachers and volunteers in Adventureland for guiding, instructing and loving my children.

• Thank you to all the people that helped me out while I was the programming director.

• Thank you to the elder’s of Stony Creek Church for believing in me and letting me be a pastor to the students.

• Thank you, Chuckles, for loving me and my family, and for teaching me some cool things about construction. It has been great working along side of you!

• Thank you, Randy, for pouring your knowledge into me, but more importantly for pouring your life into mine. I came here as a boy and I am leaving as a man! Thank you!

• Thank you to all of my youth staff for pastoring these students along side of me, it has been an incredible journey and I made some very dear friends.

• Finally, thank you to the students of Stony Creek Church for allowing me to be your pastor, it was a great honor and privilege. Thanks for putting up with my dorkiness, stupid jokes and general all around weirdness. It has been great getting to know you, love you, laugh with you and cry with you! Remember to always REACH out to your non-believing friends, CONNECT with other Christians, get yourself EQUIPPED in your faith, EXPERIENCE all that God has shaped you for and HONOR God with your life. Always remember that I love you and that I am praying for you!

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

a light... hope it's not a train! LOL

saturday i emailed another resume out to a church in phoenix, az and snail mailed them a hard copy of it along with my dvd today. to date that makes 25 resumes sent out. as of now some of them i have heard back from and either i did not get the job, or the position was filled when i sent my resume and two of them i did not feel would be a good fit for us so i politely declined.

today, i got an email from the church in california that i had an informal interview with and here is what it said...

"I got your message last week – we have been crazy with details from PDYM and Easter prep. I am hoping you are still keeping the So. California option open! The committee meets again this Weds. – we hope to narrow the list to invite a few to come see HCC in April. Are there dates that would be good for you should you make that list?"

so things look good, and at least it is some good news in the midst of this down feeling i have been having lately. this position would be a HUGE jump for me. at my previous church (that sounds odd to say) i had about 30 students and this church has 500 students in the high school department alone, which is the department i would be over if i got the job. so it is pretty scary to think about. along with the thought of having to move to southern california... now the weather would be great, but it is the cost of living that is scary. so keep us in prayers as we seek His face and will for our lives.



Monday, March 28, 2005

do unto others...

most of us think of that verse and somehow think it means as they have done unto us! but that is dead wrong... it ends as you would have them do unto you! here it is in Matthew 7:12 (the message)- Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get. also found in Luke 6:31. that passgae in the Bible i think is key to how we as christians need to live our lives and if the whole world could grasp it, just think what it could do!

well, after i posted my blog yesterday that verse popped into my head and i decided to do just that. i wanted them to send us off with prayer, so i decided to leave them with prayer. i originally had thought about shaking the dust from my feet, but realized that is not what God wanted me to do. so i prayed at my desk which will be the new ass't pastor's desk. then i went into the auditorium and sat on the stool where our sp sits just about every sunday to preach and prayed for him. after that i went and prayed for our children's pastor and for the children's ministry. lastly, i went into the youth room and wept at the thought of leaving all of those students that i love so much. i spent some time praying for them and then i decided to leave them with a few words on the whiteboard in there. i felt that was a much better way to leave and more importantly the way God wanted me to leave.

so know i feel much better and i am still upset that they didn't pray over me and my wife, but i know that i can leave there feeling released because i feel i have done the right thing and left with the right attitude. i needed that because i wasn't having the best of attitudes before that.

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

the "goodbye"

i know that there are some people from my church who may be reading this and you may not want to read any further, because i am going to be pretty honest about my feelings from this morning's service....

consider yourself warned....

as i sat in this morning's service i wondered, "would they say anything? would they bring us up and pray over us as so often happens when key people at a church leave and for the most part things are on good terms?" well, as the service came to a close and my wife did a knock out job on the song "worthy is the lamb", i mean the way it ended brought people to their feet, i thought for sure that our sp would say something. and all he said was "wow, kim, that was a great way to end things." huh? what did that mean? end the service or end our time here? well, it must have been end the service because he dismissed everyone and encouraged everyone to go back and ge some coffee & donuts, and reminded them that next sunday they would be bringing in a new pastor. well, what about the one leaving?

now, to be fair there was a nice thing written up in our church's program (bulletin) this morning from our sp, but who the heck reads those? i can remember that close to just about every staff meeting we have had in the 5 and a half years i have been here that we have always said, "why doesn't anyone read the program?" so yeah, something was mentioned in a little read program. i am sitting here in my now empty office thinking, "wow, that really left me feeling empty!" but i reflect on the words that a friend shared with me a while back, "How a group chooses to say goodbye to you says a lot about that group." and what this group of church leaders are saying to me is thanks for pouring your life into our church and our students, now don't let the door hit you on the butt on the way out. yes, i am hurt. yes, i know i need to say something to them and i fully plan on doing that. i just do not know when.

i talked with several people after the service who were shocked that they said nothing and didn't even bother praying over us. but i know no one will say anything, because they don't want to rock the boat by saying the right thing. but now i am moved on, this chapter in my life is over and i just hope that being away from here will help heal these wounds and help me to move past it. part of the hurt i have been feeling is, i think, from being here and not being able to move on. long goodbyes suck and this was a perfect example of that.

so needless to say that last goodbye from my church went like this....

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fun morning

i am sure many of you are thinking i am referring to my last sunday church service, but i have not gone in for it yet. what i am referring to is my kids who woke up this morning about 6:30a and found their easter baskets. they then proceeded to run in and out of our room telling us what they got and waking us up everytime in the process. well, then they finally left us alone and let us sleep for a little bit only to be awoken by a scream of... "i cut my hand real bad" by my daughter. needless to say i was awake and out of bed! i took one look at her hand and said, "you need stitches." so i quickly got dressed and kimmy dressed hannah. and because kimmy had to be at church early to lead the praise time for the last time here, she couldn't go with us. so hannah and i headed off to the hospital and kimmy would take hannah's easter outfit with her to church.

i was actually surprised that the er waiting room was not busy at all. so we got in fairly quickly and hannah had to get 3 stitches. now i am the type of person that i can imagine pain much worse than it will ever be so i can freak myself out and even get a little light-headed. but this isn't happening to me so i thought it would be okay for me to watch her get the shot and stitches. WRONG!!! i told hannah to look away and not watch it and she would be okay and i should have followed my own advice. i started to get a little light-headed and had to get down on one knee and stop looking. so there i sat, the big brave father looking at the bed and rubbing my daughters back with one hand as she squeezed the other. i never passed out but i have learned a valuable lesson... i am not cut out for hospital work or as an emt.

the end result is that hannah and dad are both fine. she has 3 stitches and here i sit in my office for one of the last times waiting for my last church service here. i will update you on that later.



Wednesday, March 23, 2005

that was hard

on sunday i had my last youth group meetings and it was hard. for the sunday morning worship time, i had some curiculum stuff that i had planned on using but on saturday night felt led to do something different. i didn't want those words to be my last words with them, not that they weren't good, i just wanted to leave something that i felt was a little more lasting and meaningful. so i talked about maturity and what that means and how we need to have lives moving towards that. it was something that i wanted to challenge them with as i leave. i made no big deal that it was my last sunday with them in the youth group setting, either in our morning worship service or in the evening small groups. i did not do this because i want to just see this thing continue on without any bumps and hope that all will go well.

in the evening after the small groups were done, i just went out where they were and hung out with them. a few of them realized that was the last youth group event with me and one of them gave me a big hug and just held onto me. i fought back the tears big time! after the last of the students left i went back into the church building where my youth staff was waiting for our usual late night hang out and i went into the bathroom and shed a few tears. then me and my staff went out for our very last, late night hang out to denny's. it was sad and hard, but i tried to put on that normal face and just enjoy my time with them.

after all that was done a few of us went over to one of the youth staffer's home and we hung out, laughed and cried. i will miss these friend's who pastored these students right along side of me.

then monday, i had to go and fill out an application at panera bread so i could make the extra money needed and have health insurance for the time in between ministry positions. it was hard because i am so frustrated with this whole situation and was hoping that i could have just gone from my part-time position here at my church to that full-time position that God is going to open up, but the elder's at my church decided on a time when i should just leave so instead i am in the position i am in. but i know that God was not surprised by any of this or even shocked and that He has a plan. and then we come to the good news i got on tuesday...

my dad's company is going to be able to take me on full-time and provide health insurance for me. this was a HUGE relief and blessing. am i thrilled to be working there full-time again? no way! but it is a lot better than what the alternative was going to be. so now i am gonna go see if i can get a job working a couple of days a week at caribou coffee or something like that just to help bring in a little extra money so we can pay off some bills and make the move to the new ministry we will be a part of that much easier.

keep praying for that position that God has for us at whatever church in whatever state to come and my hope is that it will come soon.

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

the "going away" party

the church had the "going away" party for me yesterday and i really did not want to go, because i hate stuff like that. in fact, it is kind of odd to have a going away party when i am not really going anywhere. i have no other job i am heading to or even really know what church we will start attending. but it really wasn't for me as much as i think they needed it.

but i am glad i went because it helped me to realize that there are a lot of people there who really do care for me. and plus hanging out with the students always makes me feel good. two of the students gave me pictures of me baptizing them, they are a brother and sister. last year in may they lost their father and so that was a very moving gift, because the sister put the following on the back of her photo, "todd, the one thing that i remember most about is when i had just closed the lid on my dad's casket, and turned around and you were there and you hugged me, and it was so hard but you were always there for me. thank you todd. i will never forget you." that is why i do what i do. and my goal is for them to know that no matter what, i will be there for them. it made me feel like a success in the midst of when i have felt like a failure.
these pictures will go in my future office and remind me of the goal of student ministry.

as much as i go through times wondering if maybe i should just leave the ministry all together and go into something else, i can not even begin to imagine what. i would miss thing like that and would go bonkers not being able to invest in students lives. there is nothing else i want to do with my life, but love and serve students. so i plod on and keep following Him, knowing He is going to lead me to the right place for my family and me.

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Sunday, March 13, 2005


well, he got voted in and i am just glad that there was no fighting or huge conflicts. people were free to express themselves and some spoke positively and some negatively. i am now just praying that God will still continue the work that He began in these students lives, no matter what and i know He will!



Saturday, March 12, 2005

tomorrow will be tough!

well, tomorrow the membership of my church vote on the guy who will be replacing me in april. i have many mixed feeling on this, because i do not feel that he is called to this position and that the student ministry will suffer as a result. i hope and pray that i am wrong, but i fear that i am not. i love my students and can handle someone else being their new pastor, but i want the best possible person to lead them. i also am wondering how the whole vote will go because i know that there are a lot of people who agree with me. this church is the only church that this individual has really known, he got saved here and has never gone anywhere else. and if he does not get voted in or narrowly makes it, that will be really hard for him. i can not imagine being in his shoes and dealing with that kind of rejection.

i also asked my sp to email a copy of my evalution out to the mebers of the church, because i want them to make the most informed decision that they can. my fear is that some people will feel that i am trying to cause problems or something and that is not my heart on all of this.

the other hard part that is coming up, is the fact that i currently work part-time for my father's company and he recently told me that i can not go full-time in april. so that means i have to find a job to help make up the difference in salary and also get health insurance for me and my family. unfortunately, the church where i have served part-time for the past 5 and a half years has decided to give me no severance package or health insurance after i am done. this has made things very difficult, becuase i am fighting bitterness BIG time. but i think i am doing well with it and it is just teaching more and more to rely completely upon Him. so if you don't mind pray for the Lord's guidance in all of this.

well, i guess that is it for now. next time time i blog i will try to be more up beat and post some positive things!

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Monday, March 07, 2005

umm... am i supposed to say something?

i figured i would start this blog to help people keep up with what the heck is going on in my life!

on march 31st i will be leaving the church that i have served at for the past 5 and a half years. it was not a choice that i really wanted to make or really even made, but the call of God on my life is greater than anything and i must follow Him in everything i do. God has called me to full-time student ministry and the church i am at does not want a full-time youth pastor at this time, so i had to make the difficult decision to begin sending my resume out to find another church to serve at.

this past week i was able to attend the purpose driven youth ministry conference, courtesy of my church, and my wife was able to attend as well, due to my parents generosity. at this conference i was able to have an informal interview with a youth pastor and executive pastor from a church that i had sent my resume to back in october. they seemed to like us and possibly want us for the position, and it seems like it will be a really good fit for me and my family but more than anything i want God's will. so we appreciate your prayers in this!

the trip to california was very nice and we were able to enjoy the beautiful weather and spend some good time together! we also were able to meet up with some of the people that we have met on the youth specialties forums and that was really nice. we can't wait to get together with them again.

well, this is it for now... don't know how often i will do this,, but i will try my best to update it atleast weekly!

and in case anyone was wondering where the name snuffy comes from, hopefully this will help you out....