Last Sunday my family and I made a big decision—we accepted the invitation from Central Evangelical Church in Weston Creek, Canberra for me to be their senior pastor from February 2014. We thank God that I am even in a position to consider such a move. Only two years before I had been struggling in hospital, devastated that God had taken our dream of ministry in Darwin away. Over recent months God has given me new opportunities to serve him. He has restored my health, such that I’m able to get two or more good weeks every three, and he has pushed me to take this new ministry role seriously.
I’m well aware that I will be leading with a limp! Fiona and I will be very dependent on the grace of God to equip and strengthen us for this challenge. We’re encouraged that God’s grace is sufficient.
This is an excerpt from the letter that I wrote to the church to accept the position…
Dear brothers and sisters at Central,
Thank you for the offer to become your new senior pastor. We have prayed about this, discussed the possibility with many people, and believe it is the right decision to accept your offer. Hence, I accept the position with the support of Fiona and the others in our family.
It’s with a mix of emotions that we look to move across to Central. There is much grief in moving away from many friends and family at Crossroads. The church represents the major chapter of our life and ministry in Canberra and we love the people dearly. They have shown us considerable love and support through the ups and downs of the past three years especially.
Our pledge is to love and serve among you, as we are enabled by God. My desire is to let God’s Word shape our lives so that we are filled with his grace. I pray that we will be drawn by the freedom of the gospel to love God, to love our neighbours, and to love one another.
Our plan is to take holidays over the summer, to refresh, and to spend time together with our family. We will be on deck to begin at Central from the beginning of February. My plan is to preach through 1 Peter in first term to remind us of the awesome hope we have in Jesus.
Our desire is to get to know people, to discover how God is working in your lives, and how he has equipped you to serve in his family.
I can happily report that the CT scan this week, continued to show no evidence of the tumour. We thank God for this news and it adds confidence to the decision to join with you.
Please continue to pray for us, as we will for you, that God will equip us for the good that he has planned to do through us all. We look forward to seeing you all in February.
Yours in Christ,
15th December 2013
I don’t think the impact of these changes have truly sunk in as yet. Today we had our Crossroads Christmas gathering and, as we do every year, we thanked and prayed for those who were leaving. This year I was on the receiving end! People shared kind words about Fiona and I, and Marcus Reeves prayed for us. Of course, it’s not as far away as the Northern Territory, and we will be staying in our current home so that Grace and Marcus can continue with their schooling uninterrupted (or perhaps simply so we can be close to our grandson!). But there will be new relationships to make, new people to share with, new opportunities to show love, new people to encourage in God’s word, and many new challenges we can’t even imagine.
If you pray, then please ask God to help us serve him in this new context, please pray for the people at Crossroads as we leave, please pray for Anton and Kylie as they move on from Central, and please pray for Central as we enter this new chapter together.