Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Life as a Church Administrator, Pt 3: The Journey Continued

This is the second half of a two-section story; if you missed the first half, catch up here. Check out the whole Life as a Church Administrator series here.

Peter and I both felt that because we were so tight knit in our families, it would be wise for us to spend our first few years of marriage away from Kalamazoo. We had the opportunity to go to South Carolina to help with our new sister church that was planted by two of my mentors and our family friends, Scott and Stephanie Jones.

You see, Peter and I met when he was 10 and I was 11. Our families were friends from that point on, and we spent lots of time with each other and with them. This naturally meant that we are all pretty close. As we prayed about what to do when we married, Peter and I felt some time away to establish ourselves as our own family unit would be good (not to mention it was a bit of an adventure!).

What I didn’t realize at first, but what because very evident very quickly, is that this would mean giving up everything I’ve been so blessed to have here.

I’ve always lived in Kalamazoo.
I’ve always attended New Day Community Church.
I’ve always worked at my church.
I’ve always been close to my immediate family.
I’ve always been nearby to my dearest friends.

God effectively nailed the biggest issue in my heart with one fell swoop: Did I trust God and Peter enough to leave everything I’ve ever known and move NINE HUNDRED AND FORTY miles away to start life from scratch? Did I really trust Him?

Those months of slicing off my heartstrings, crying out before God, and forcing my heart to deal with that question were agonizing. I distinctly remember kneeling in the front row at my church during worship one morning, sobbing, and giving God my full yes, even as I mourned the loss of the dearest people and places in my life.

A few weeks later, I was sitting in my boss’s office at church. My dad leaned forward and said, “I know you are all set to move to SC. And if that’s definitely where God wants you, you should go. However, I have been talking with the Board and the Staff, and we are able financially to promote you to the Church Administrator, if you stay here.”

My jaw probably hit the floor at that point--I can’t even remember exactly what my reaction was. I definitely think I was thinking something along the lines of, “What the heck, God!? I was supposed to give this all up for you because I trust you!?!”

I talked to Peter, and we spent a week in prayer about it. God told me either was ok, and it was up to us
(God’s typical most-frustrating-answer-ever). And, wonder of wonders, He told Peter we should stay. Stay because WorshipArts was growing here and it would be blessed and able to expand faster than if we moved and started it from scratch. Stay because this job for me at New Day would be a huge way for him to reach his goal of running WorshipArts full time.

God is a God who wants your complete trust. And that means we get tested.

  • He asked me to give up everything I’ve ever known for Him. Do you trust Me?
  • He asked Abraham to give up his only chance at God’s biggest promise to him--his only son Isaac. Do you trust Me?
  • He asked the Israelites to fight giants in order to claim their promise. Do you trust Me?
  • In battle, he said send the worshippers out first. Do you trust Me?
  • He asked David to serve the man who wanted to kill him. Do you trust Me?
  • He asked Joeseph to wed Mary. Do you trust Me?
  • He asked Peter to walk on water. Do you trust Me?
  • He asked John to believe despite being in prison, with a price on His head. Do you trust Me?
  • He asked his only Son to bear the sins of the world. Do you trust Me?

He asks you to serve Him with everything, to endure trial and joy, blessing and hardship, and love Him unconditionally.

Do you trust Me?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Life as a Church Administrator, Pt 2: The Journey

If you missed it, check out Part 1 here
A sweet old map of Kalamazoo. via

So how did I end up as a Church Administrator in Kalamazoo? To start from the beginning, my father happens to be a pastor, and I don’t really remember what life was like before I was a PK (Pastor’s Kid, not Penalty Kick).

 I’m the kid that got to church first, and left last. I don’t think taking a week, or even the occasional month, off of work means you have to lose your job (Sabbaticals are so healthy, man. Make sure your pastor takes them if you love them at all). Every time I drive by an abandoned business building, I think it’s the perfect place to start a church.

Ministry is my blood, friends.

So it isn’t surprising that I grew up volunteering at my church. I helped with the bulletin, stocked the snack bar, and taught in sunday school when I was 12 or 13. When I started college, I was blessed enough to be offered a job as an administrative assistant at the church. I helped take off some of the load of the details my dad was carrying--some basic accounting, emails, creating brochures, and whatever else needed to be done.

Before I knew it, I had finished my Associates Degree in Business, and was engaged to the man of my dreams, my best friend. I’d been working at New Day for two years, and I had started doing a lot more than those basic things above. In addition to assisting with more complicated accounting, I was now also doing creative things, like graphic design and social media marketing. Everything was going perfectly.

Being an admin. assistant at the church was a job with a fantastic work environment, and I was still living at home, so I was saving money for our wedding. I have been so blessed at my church--I genuinely love everyone there like family, and I had grown up with so many of them. I was growing in my relationship with God in so many places at home and in so many ways through my job and attending services. My friends were so wonderful--truly, I know the best people, and the majority of them lived right here. Both sides of our immediate family live here, and we all got along better than cake and ice cream.

Everything was going right. I loved life in Kalamazoo.

So of course, at this point, God speaks up. He tests my heart. Would I really follow Him?

To be continued...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Life as a Church Administrator, Pt 1: Secretary?!

Secretary 50s Style. via
You may have noticed that on my profile it says I’m a “church administrator.” I wonder what comes to mind when you hear that term? In general, I think of a sweet old lady, answering phones, with her handy-dandy rolodex ready at a moments notice. Or if you don’t have that as a frame of reference, perhaps you just think of a secretary, sitting at a desk all day, being courteous and taking care of papers, but not a job for someone who wants to be solving problems, engaged and actively making a difference in the world.

I remember when I was graduating high school, a well-meaning friend was trying to help me figure out what degree I should pursue, because nothing sounded like an amazing fit for me. This friend asked me, “Well, what do you really want to do?”

Being the flustered teenager I was, I replied with something like, “Well...I really want to like, make big events happen, and bring people together--” And said friend interjected, shocked and with a tone that made my sweet, young, impressionable heart sink: “You want to be a secretary?! You’re way too smart for that!” I remember trying to spit out: “No! I don’t want to like answer phones and stuff...” as visions of a grey, dreary desk and telephone cord chains quickly invaded my mind. As their doctorate degree dreams for me disintegrated, they gave up on the conversation I realized I didn’t really have a name for what I wanted to do.

Thankfully, God has a perfect plan--better than my friend’s ambitions for me and my fumbled attempts at expressing my hearts desires. However, at the time, I really didn’t know what it would look like. So like a many a high school senior, I figured I’d just go for a business degree because, “Every job is a business!”

You may be in a similar situation. I’ve got a pro tip for you though: God is pretty cool. He actually lines everything out for us ahead of time, and so very often a situation that seems so confusing from the front actually makes perfect sense once you get out of it--once you get to standing in the right spot. Sometimes that perspective take years to find, and sometimes that right spot could be when we stand at Jesus’ side in heaven. But trust me--it exists.

Take the open door in front of you, the one that the mentor in your life says is wise, and that Jesus isn’t shutting in your face. You never know what skills you may learn, people you might meet, or what place you may end up in at exactly the right time.
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