I heard somewhere that "life is a highway, I want to ride it all night long". There is a real sense that life is an exciting journey. It is filled with anticipation, fear, joy, disappointment and pain. There are all kinds of other words I could use but...
For the Grants this journey has taken unexpected turns in the last 2 years or so. From a confusing and unexpected exit from Perimeter Church to now making a move west. I heard somewhere else, "go west young man". I am a young man so that's exactly what we are doing, heading west to Texas. This is a little bit of our story.
Julie and I are so thankful for our short time with the National Network. It gave us an opportunity to lean into Jesus in ways we never have. I have relationships with people that have made me a better person and pastor. I learned so much and hope student ministry in the southeast is stronger as a result.
Last September it felt like God was perhaps doing a little something different with our highway. Julie and I felt like it might be impossible financially to stick with the National Network. When we sat down to think and pray she said somethings that was full of wisdom. Now, you may not know this but Julie is much more than a trophy wife, she is a woman that hears from God and prays. And when she prays God seems to answer in powerful ways.
During our conversation Julie asked if perhaps God was doing something different in our lives. She knew I loved the National Network but thought we should be willing to look at what God had next. At that point we decided we should be open to see if God had another opportunity for us. We were not looking to do something different but felt it would be a good idea to "put our antennae up" and listen to God.
Now, for some reason I feel the need to explain what I mean by "listen to God", but I'm going to resist the temptation. God speaks to me in many ways, his Word, circumstances, other people etc. I'm not resisting very well am I? Anyway, I'm not sure I've ever "gotten a word from the Lord". I just try to listen, and obey as best I can my with my imperfect ears.
2 days after Julie and my "antennae" discussion I received an interesting phone call. Brain Ward is the middle school pastor at Irving Bible Church in the Dallas, Texas area. After 10 seconds on the phone Brian literally said, "I want to you to come be my boss". They were in the process of developing a new oversight / directional leadership position for their student ministry. Now this alone would not demand a move to Dallas, but it sure got my attention.
The next day I was on the phone with the executive pastor. After a 30 minute discussion he and I decided together that Julie and I should fly to Dallas for a "first date" type gathering.
So many thoughts were running through my mind. Can I still lead a youth ministry? Is this church a fit for us? Do I really want to live somewhere there are no hills? What about our kids?
All we knew to do was go meet with this church with an open heart and open ears. Isn't that what God desires, for us to have hearts that are willing to do whatever he wants even if it's hard and doesn't make a ton of sense?
That is exactly what we did. I'll tell tell the rest of the story in the next couple of days.