The Next Chapter: Our Transition Back to the Midwest
From Nebraska to Utah
Six years ago God called our family to pack up everything and move across the country to labor for the sake of His Kingdom in one of the most unreached places in America: Utah. We left all our family and everything we had known and faithfully followed His leading in serving on university campuses for two years and then planting a church with Bryan and Lisa Catherman.
Over the past four and a half years of planting the church God has radically transformed Nicole and I more and more into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). We’ve literally poured our blood, sweat, and tears into seeing Redeeming Life Church go from 10 people in a living room to a solid faith family of 50+ believers living on mission in one of the hardest areas of Salt Lake City, UT. In a few short years we’ve seen God do amazing and miraculous things and witnessed at least 40 people baptized and dozens more experience transformation as disciples of Jesus. As a pastor, there’s no greater joy than watching new life in Christ and new transformation in Christ. However, seasons don’t last forever and now God has shown Nicole and I that our season of ministry in Utah is done.
The New Ministry Season
Beginning February 16 I will begin my new role as the Associate Pastor of Discipleship at The Mission Church in Urbandale, IA. I have been hired specifically to create and cultivate a healthy disciple-making culture at the church. I’m very excited about the opportunity to build a culture of disciple-making and to do so with a very gifted staff and an incredible leadership team. It’s been a four month process of discerning God’s call but we are fully confident that God is orchestrating all of this and therefore it is our great pleasure to embrace His plan with joyful obedience! In addition to the many hours of interviews, phone calls, and meetings with the staff, elders, and leadership, I also had the opportunity to preach on 3 Marks of a Genuine Disciple of Jesus on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019.
Overall, we’ve met many people from The Mission Church already and we are thrilled to begin a new season of ministry with them and we can’t wait to see what God has in store for us and the ministry there in the months and years to come!
Why Leave Utah?
As we make this transition, I want to make one thing particularly clear (because most likely someone will inevitably ask the question: “Why are you leaving? What happened?”). We are leaving on great terms with Bryan, the elders, and the leadership at Redeeming Life Church. There has not been any grievous sins or moral failures. We leave Redeeming Life Church with the blessing, encouragement, and full support of Bryan and the elders. In fact, they’ve been the sounding board along the way during this transition and have been praying for us and with us for months. I couldn’t be more grateful for these incredible men: Bryan Catherman, Kevin Lund, and Robert Marshall. I say all that because so many pastors are being disqualified these days and I think it’s important for all that follow our journey to know that this is the most positive ministry transition we’ve gone through to date.
The primary and truthful reason we are leaving Utah is simply this: because God said so! :) Now, there are other factors to that as well that include our family health, marriage health, and overall life balance. As we were seeking God’s will for the next season of our lives God began to make it clear that in order for us to be the healthiest we could be it would require a few changes. God continued to open doors in Iowa where we would have a lot of family support which dramatically helps with marriage health, date nights, etc. In addition, church planting while fund raising your own salary is incredibly hard and exhausting work and I’ve not done the best job balancing life, ministry , and family. We’re now entering into a season where I need to lead my home better and prioritize my wife and children more intentionally. Being at a more established church, like The Mission Church, allows for me to focus on my role and not have to wear 15 different “hats” like I was doing in church planting. Overall, this is a season of recalibrating the family and marriage dynamics while still engaging in an exciting new ministry that allows me to pour my heart and soul into something I’m incredibly passionate about: making disciples! So, that’s the long short of it. I hope you’ll continue on this journey with us and if you’re not already getting our monthly e-newsletter you can sign up for it below.
Lastly, please continue to pray for Redeeming Life Church and support and partner with their mission. Utah is only 2% Evangelical Christian and the whole state needs your prayers, including Redeeming Life. If you still feel compelled to support the missionary work happening in Utah, please prayerfully consider supporting Sarah Powers and/or Zak Harris who are serving as staff that must raise their own finances like we’ve done over the past eight years! You can find donation information here. Please pray for Lead Pastor Bryan Catherman and his leadership team as they continue to proclaim the gospel and build His Kingdom. Please pray, give, and go!
Also, please pray for our family as we transition to Iowa in a few short weeks and begin to get settled and start a new chapter of ministry!