It’s been a long year for us as a family, but a grace filled year for so many reasons. First, we’ve sent one of our kids off to college at DePaul University in Chicago. He’s majoring in economics and we’ve missed him tremendously and we’re grateful and proud that he’s doing so well. He loves Chicago. It’s hard to believe his break is almost over. We have another kid who’s an assistant drum major in his marching band at his high school and will begin applying for colleges this next year and will begin trying to figure out where he should go to college, and we have a kid who’s made that transition from elementary school to middle school and is doing well. Deb is now teaching at Highland High School in Palmdale and I’ve finished my sixth year as the pastor of the Community Presbyterian Church in Littlerock, California, a great church that loves the Lord and the community. We’re a small church doing our best to reflect God’s love in the world.
One big change that has happened over the last couple of months is that I’m now part-time at my church. Lots of churches are struggling because of the economy as well as trying to discern how it is they do ministry in a world that is always changing. Small churches especially are feeling this tension. As the need for me to go part-time at the church became a reality a couple of months ago, at the same time, a small church in our presbytery about 15 minutes away from Littlerock needed a part-time pastor. With the support of the presbytery, I am now the part-time pastor of my current church and the part-time stated supply pastor of the Horizon Community Church in Palmdale, California. It’s a wonderful church that needed some help and the timing was perfect in that in essence, I was able to remain full-time which is something I give God thanks for, knowing that there are many who are having a difficult time finding a call as a pastor right now.
What are some of the challenges in leading two churches? I’m learning the importance of time management. I’m trying to find balance in the midst of a hectic schedule right now in trying to figure out how to help lead two churches with some really awesome people, who are trying to figure out their calling in their neighborhoods. I’m still working on a doctor of ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena and although I’ve hit a couple of bumps along the way, I hope to be done sometime in 2014. I’m also a board member of the DOOR Network in Hollywood, a wonderful group of people who help churches, youth groups, and young adults, learn what it means to see the face of God in the city of Los Angeles. It’s a wonderful ministry and God is very much at work with these folks who are in the trenches of ministry. Most of all I’m trying to find balance as a husband and father. I’ve made a commitment to keep my wife and kids above everything else when it comes to being a pastor and of course there is still my faith journey. This has indeed been a challenge in serving two churches and this will be at the top of my agenda for 2013. I’ve read about too many pastors burning out and not maintaing their spiritual health as well as their physical health which interferes with their ministry in loving people as well as being a leader of leaders.
As we finish 2012, I can honestly say that God is at work. He’s called me to be faithful and to trust in his leading, even when I don’t understand what it is I’m supposed to be doing and even when I don’t know what I’m doing. The way I will handle this is that I need to become someone deeply intrenched in prayer. I know this and this has to be one of my commitments for 2013. I also know that there are other small churches that are trying to figure out their place in their communities and trying to discern what it is that God is calling them to do, given an economy that isn’t the greatest right now. I hear of too many churches struggling, both small and large. In the meantime? We keep going. We don’t give up. We keep our eyes on the prize and we move forward. As for my family? I’m so proud and so blessed. I’m so proud of my kids as well. I have a wonderful wife and we can honestly say that 2012 was a good year. God is indeed good and I can’t wait to see what God has planned for us as a family in 2013.
Merry Christmas and may the light of Christ continue to shine and lead you as you begin 2013.