I don’t remember the exact date, but I remember I was sitting around a table with a group of guys I do life with. It was freezing in the poorly heated garage on a frigid Ohio winter night when Jason told me and three other guys that he was likely going to be moving to Florida to be a part of a church plant with his father-in-law. We talked for a while about how he felt called to do this, especially after the season of unrest he’s been in, and how it just made sense for him. I can clearly remember looking around the table at the time and wondering; “who of these people may potentially follow him?” I can remember even more clearly thinking to myself; “been there, done that… no interest in uprooting and leaving town again.” I decided right there, on the spot, that I wasn’t even going to bring it up with my wife because I honestly believed the chances of us leaving Toledo again were nil.
Nearly a month passed, and during this time nobody approached me to be a part of this church plant. All the people going were too classy for that, they knew they couldn’t poach people, but I found myself still slightly drawn to what I believed at the time to be an impossibility. On an eerily warm winter day, Ryanne and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful warm weather and take Becca to the park. As we chased our daughter through the playground, it came up in a casual conversation that in a couple years, she wouldn’t be able to hang out with her friend Maci (Jason’s daughter) anymore. Ryanne of course asked why, so I was then forced to tell her about the Florida plans. I remember that I could actually see Ryanne’s brain working. After a few minutes, she simply said, “Why don’t we move too?” After picking my jaw up off the mulched park ground, I asked if she was serious. That led us into about a twenty minute conversation where we decided that we’d definitely keep thinking and praying about it.
One of my many faults is lack of patience. So I took it upon myself that same day to text Jason and see what he thought about Ryanne and I being a part of the church plant as well. We understood the risks, knowing that we wouldn’t have a job with the church. We’d have to quit our very comfortable jobs we have now, move halfway across the country, find new jobs, a new place to live, and still have time to devote into helping to plant this new church. It was absolutely insane. But, I wanted to tell Jason and get his thoughts, and he seemed very eager to have us join in the fun. It wasn’t but a few days later I was sitting in a hole in the wall diner, hands wrapped around a hot cup of coffee, chatting with Mark (the soon to be lead pastor of this new church) about vision, what I could do to be a part of it, dreams, goals, and all the like. Ryanne I decided that day that we were in.
We wanted to be a part of this.
God doesn’t want me to be comfortable. I realized that while it wasn’t blindingly apparent, I’ve had an unrest on my heart for a while as well. So did Ryanne. I believe He has placed this unrest on our hearts to get us to step out of our “cushy” job and go help create something from nothing with eternal consequences. There is no shortage of people saying Ryanne and I are crazy. I wish I could argue with them. We are nuts. But to not go, well, I honestly believe we would end up in the belly of a whale right along with whatever Jonah left behind.
People have asked me “why?” It’s fairly simple really. I personally have three main reasons for wanting to jump off this cliff:
- Eternity Building. We want to be involved with building something from nothing that will have eternal consequences. I want to roll up our sleeves, get uncomfortable, and do something crazy.
- Community. For me especially, while Jason and I aren’t necessarily “best friends” he is definitely the closest friend I have, and I’m very close with the rest of the team that is interested in going. But even past that, is Ryanne and I just really love the idea of Becca growing up in that type of environment.
- Mark and the rest of the team. Mark has been a huge catalyst for Ryanne and I both ever since I first set foot in CedarCreek. Ryanne and I both wanted to be a part of the West Toledo Campus (where Mark is currently the lead pastor) launch to begin with, but it never worked out because of what I was doing already at CedarCreek. Now, we have an opportunity to step out on faith, and help start this thing. We’re super excited about the people who’ve already committed to going, and are looking forward to being in the trenches with this amazing group.
A move like this doesn’t come without collateral damage. I am deeply saddened to be leaving family, career(s) and friends already established here in Ohio. I could go on for a while about all the things I’ll miss. But like I said before, I can’t imagine NOT going now. I have the utmost faith in God and this unrest he’s placed on me and my families hearts for this move. I can’t explain how or why I know, but I am absolutely at peace about this… I know it will work out.
I am beyond appreciative of the support I have been given from CedarCreek in pursuit of this plant. There’s no pressure to move out of my office or anything like that. A transition is expected, and so far the support in not exactly knowing a specific end date has been very good. As I understand it, the expected launch date of the new church is likely to be sometime between Fall 2014 and Spring 2015.
I don’t know what my role in the new church will be. Honestly, I don’t care. I’m not going to do anything for myself. I’m going to serve, and do whatever I can to help make a difference in people’s lives through that church. I respect that fact that God has placed leaders in my life, and I will do whatever I can to support them. As for work, I honestly don’t care much. I mean, I’m not going to be seeking out fast food jobs, but I certainly wouldn’t mind making a return to slinging coffee. I’m also hoping to set up a new branch of Love is Greater Photography in whatever community we move to. Between photography and my role in 5th Corner Media, I am sincerely hoping Ryanne and I are able to make ends meet. All I can do between now and then is continue setting up my business in such a way to keep it sustainable here in Ohio when I’m gone, and praying that God helps me to navigate the path needed to make that happen.
Ryanne and I would appreciate your prayers, thoughts, and good juju during this time. Even more so, I’d appreciate your prayers for the entire team committed to, or just considering this move. Ryanne and I are freaks, and we feel almost completely at peace about this whole thing, so if you only have a small amount of prayer time available, please pray for the rest of the team first =). I don’t believe it will always be as calm as it has been thus far for us, and I do think it’ll be a roller coaster of emotions for a lot over people over the next several months. I think the path to church planting is paved with potholes and ups and downs… I just pray that God will continue to guide me, Ryanne, and the rest of the team down the right path.
Jonah taught me a valuable lesson. One I don’t mean to repeat. So, Florida, here we come!
I want to share some numbers with you. I don’t share these to say LOOK AT US or anything weird like that… it’s merely a statement of how blessed I feel to work for a place that makes life change a priority. This is the text version (we’re working on a video) of The CedarCreek.tv 2012 Year in Review
- Over 1,000 baptisms and 5,000 decisions for Christ.
- Average as of late, 9,000 per week in attendance.
- Successfully launched a new campus in South Toledo.
- Collected 56,100 lbs. of food to support local area food pantries.
- 15,698 hot meals were served to local families in need along with free groceries given out to 2,457 families through Food for Thought and the CedarCreek Food Pantry.
- 14,376 lbs. of gently used clothing donated to local area ministries.
- 750 fully loaded backpacks donated to inner city children in Toledo/Honduras/El Salvador
- Collected 3,000 lbs. of books for the Books for Buddies program.
- Through our Car Care ministry, we gave away 20 cars to families in need, while also repairing 395 cars for single moms.
- Gathered 1,983 shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child to children throughout the world by Samaritans Purse
- Gave 435 gifts for Toledo Area children
- Distributed $67,444 to 211 families in financial need
- $43,076 was given away through our 1 for 1 program to local organizations such as Cherry Street Mission, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and That Neighborhood Church, in addition to several other worthy organizations
- Raised $23,269 for mission projects in Central America
- Creekers supported 160 children in Central America with daycare programs, school supplies, clothing and nutrition needs.
- Sent 133 people to Central America and Louisiana to show the love of Christ to those who are less fortunate than us.
- Raised $25,000 towards a home-makeover for a family in need.
And, we’re expecting around 25,000 people to come through the doors this Christmas weekend. 5,000 of which will likely be first-time attenders. Freaking rad. It’s humbling, this honor I’ve been given to serve with such amazing people. And this is a time of year to be thankful for that gift.
I do hope you’ll check us out… Christmas is a great time to see what happens here!
I quit facebook back in early September. Originally the plan was to just take a month off, but about three weeks into it I realized that I didn’t really want to go back. I won’t go into all the reasoning (I already wrote that post) but I felt good about it.
A few weeks went by, and it was made apparent to me that my family was unhappy with me leaving facebook. The problem was, it was their primary method of keeping up with Becca (short of physically seeing her). That’s how they saw pics, read about what was going on, etc… I felt bad, came back to facebook for a day, realized I really didn’t want to come back, and left again… quietly this time.
Fast forward to today. I had to make a new, super secret facebook account. Why? Because I use Spotify. I use Spotify a lot. This is a problem for me, because not only do I use Spotify for personal music listening, but it’s also a HUGE part of my job. It’s the primary method for sharing playlists, collaborating with other people on planning future services, etc. Put simply, I have to have the sharing features of Spotify enabled. So, I have to have a facebook account. So I made a new one, made friends with the people I had to, to keep Spotify working, and thought that would be it.
Well, now people are finding me. And friend requesting me. So I’m forced to ask myself, what the heck is the point of having a super secret facebook?!
Listen, I understand this sounds terribly flakey, but I’m going to reopen my old facebook account, and just hope that I’ve learned enough in my time off to not let it get the best of me again. It’s just not worth it to go through all the hassle of a super-(not so)-secret-facebook, not have a good method for sharing pics of Becca with family, and whatever else is been causing problems for people that I don’t know about.
So, whatevs. I’m back on facebook, but hopefully in nowhere near the same capacity I once was. Lessons have been learned.