We were a part of an amazing time of ministry while we were in Tomball. It was a perfect ministry storm. No man could have orchestrated it, but God’s ways are higher than ours. (Is 55:9)
Here are some of the pieces I’ve been able to assemble:
He used Pastor Mike Mathews to begin a process of teaching and training/opening up the eyes of leaders (including myself) in the church. Mike was also the man God used to safeguard the work He was doing with the students.
Through Mike, God exposed me to a few different ministry models which resonated within me. (Experiencing God, Saddleback’s Baseball Diamond model, and the Navigators leadership training) He also began to reveal a specific group of students that He wanted to reach. He was birthing a vision within me. God was inviting me to join Him in His work.
He worked within the community to place a longing for real spirituality within a group of students – some of them were skaters.
He assembled a group of adult volunteers who would connect with students and have a real heart for reaching these “tough” kids. They would also eventually rise up to defend the ministry against all kinds of critics. God worked to make these adults into a real family – they shared more than ministry but their very lives together.
He gave a special group of students a passion for doing ministry to their peers.
He used a few fringe students to invite their skater friends and spark a movement of students to become a part of “The Wave.”
He moved the right people into financial positions within the church who got behind a vision for reaching these students and tripled the youth budget – eventually even adding another part-time youth position.
He used the week-in/week-out efforts of preparing for this program to help raise up students who would develop into servant-minded leaders. Most are very involved in ministry even now. A few of the current roles that these students are involved in are: Pastor, Worship leading, church planting, small group leaders, missions, Christian artists, Sound/Video/Photography tech, etc.
He used the program to reach some of the toughest students in the community. We saw the fruit of some of these efforts during those days, but many have tracked me down and contacted me since that time to express their thanks and tell how “The Wave” impacted them. Some who were lost have been found and are following Jesus now.
I recently attended a wedding for one of the students who came to Christ through this ministry. The wedding was full of students who were a part this special time. The pastor, the worship leader, the wedding party, etc were all familiar with this ministry storm I’ve described. Each one of them was another piece of the “Perfect Storm” that God created. Many expressed their gratitude to me that day so I wanted to paint more realistic picture of what really happened. Yes, I was a part of the storm, but it was truly God’s work. I’m grateful to God for inviting me into His work and feel like I’ve been able to see some of the fruit of my labor – however, my labors were only worthwhile ’cause they were joined with His labors. In reality, it’s the fruit of His labors that I’ve been able to witness and because I joined Him, it feels like my labors were fruitful. Truth is: They were.
I’ve been studying the book of Ruth lately and it’s been speaking to me in huge ways. Here’s one way:
Ruth 2:3 says “it just so happened” that Ruth was in Boaz’s field. What??
“It just so happened” that Ruth decided to go glean in the barley fields.
“It just so happened” that the young single poor foreign girl was in the rich single Godly man’s field.
“It just so happened” that he came to his field that day.
“It just so happened” that he noticed her.
“It just so happened” that he had already heard of her sacrifices and her character.
Hmm. . .”it just so happened?” Really?? It was all accident??? I’m not buying it. I think there was something else going on. The original Hebrew language does too. God was at work. His invisible hand of providence was working overtime.
Here’s another story about the time I got my first full-time youth ministry job in Tomball.
“It just so happened” that I was realizing music education wasn’t my calling and knew I needed to find another path.
“It just so happened” that the choir director at my church signed me up to go to Choir Camp.
“It just so happened” that the choir camp people lost my registration and offered to let me stay if I would work with the elementary kids.
“It just so happened” that I was placed in a cabin with some kids from Tomball.
“It just so happened” that I worked with another adult from Tomball. (Susan Bryant)
“It just so happened” that Tomball needed a youth minister.
“It just so happened” that the pastor called me during my prayer time where I was seeking God’s guidance.
I can look back on the situation and see that God made “it just so happen. . .”
After Miranda and I come through the other end of this crazy insecure “not-sure-where-our-ministry-is” time in our lives, I’m sure we’ll use that same phrase. “It just so happened” that . . . . . I’m just wondering which moments we’ll be referring to when we say it? I’m keeping my eyes focused and my ears attentive – looking for God.
These are scary times. These are moments where we get the opportunity to exercise our faith. These are exciting times. These are times when I’m grateful for a God who works behind the scenes so that it can “just so happen.”
PS – If you’re interested, I’ll upload the commentary that I’ve been putting together on the book of Ruth sometime soon. I’ve got one more chapter to go.
I know who moved my cheese. God did. 2 weeks ago today, my church decided to make all full-time positions “part-time.” The Administrative Board may very well have been the instrument He used, but God moved my cheese. I believe He has greater plans for Miranda and I. I believe He is leading us into an amazing future. Sometimes, it’s been tough. We’ve had our ups and downs over these past 2 weeks, but I believe God will use this whole thing to bless us eventually. We’ve just gotta keep moving so we can make it there. I’ve caught myself saying, we’re just between blessings right now. We’re not sure where we’ll end up, but we know who’s hands we’re in and we will choose to trust Him.
It seems to come up quite often, but I keep telling Miranda we’ve just gotta be mice right now. I asked her to read the book “Who Moved My Cheese?” so we could be on the same page here, but since many of you haven’t read it, I’ll explain. This is an awesome book that describes the best way to handle big changes. It’s a modern parable about a maze, some cheese, and 4 characters: Sniff and Scurry are mice and Hem & Haw are little people who all live inside the maze. Each day the four of them go to one section of the maze to find their cheese, but then one day they discover that it’s been moved. Hem and Haw wonder what happened and hang around for a while waiting for it to return. They argue a bit about it and blame all kinds of things. Meanwhile, Sniff and Scurry just keep their noses to the ground and continue through the maze looking for more cheese. Sniff and Scurry are the first to find new cheese.
That’s why we’ve gotta be mice. There’s no point in complaining about our situation or blaming people or the economy or whatever. We could sit around and be upset or we could just go look for more cheese. It’s sort of like the quote from Shawshank Redemption – “Get busy living or get busy dying.” We will choose to live. We will choose to be mice and keep our noses to the ground. Besides, God is in control. He moved our cheese. We may not know where, but we do know that He knew what he was doing. He must want us somewhere else now. We will find out where soon enough – in His timing.
Please pray for us. We are searching through this maze and probably still have a few hurdles and pitfalls ahead of us. I even sang about this on a song I wrote for our Wedding Day – Just Wanna Be With You clip
We’re hanging on to this verse. Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”