Some of you are already grinning as you read the title.

How hard has it been to keep up with our family’s journey since we stepped off the proverbial cliff, in faith, about 7 years ago now? We stepped into a journey as a family that hasn’t seemed to slow down since! It has been a rollercoaster ride.

Almost two years ago now, I stepped into the role of youth pastor at Pine Valley Church here in Bayfield, CO. And with that came another big family move, another transition of our kids into new schools, and another assimilation into a new position. Just another in a long string of moves and transitions that started back in the summer of 2010. That said, God’s hand has been on our family through every turn and it’s easy to see that, taking a look back.

When Pastor Scott first brought me into his office and we started talking about my role at Pine Valley back in 2015, he said something like, “I don’t see you in the youth pastor role here forever. Maybe for a couple of years, building up a team and putting some structures in place, and then possibly transitioning into some sort of an associate role…”

Nothing was formal or concrete about that… just a passing statement as I stepped into a role where I watched God do things I never imagined. I saw more spiritual fruit in Pine Valley NextGen — during the last couple of years — than maybe I had seen in all my ministry years leading up to it! I was walking in a grace that I think God knew I needed after several years of moving and transitioning. And even though our family transitioned a lot, it was never part of our original plan. It was always God moving and prompting us on — sometimes with our kicking and screaming!

If you weren’t here with us in Bayfield this morning, Pastor Scott announced today that Pine Valley is bringing on both David and Carrie Van Hoesen as our new youth pastors and Carrie will also continue to lead the Young Adults ministry. David and Carrie started working alongside me as my right-hand team members right from the start. And last year, after I asked David to come on part time, they have both proven over and over again their calling, giftedness, passion and servant hearts to minister to and reach the next generation. They are already incredibly loved by our NextGen team, student leaders and students. This truly is a “passing of the baton” as they have already been running beside me and doing the work of the ministry long before wearing the official title. I couldn’t be more happy to pass on the student ministry to two more capable pastors and leaders.

I’ve had some people ask after this morning’s announcement what this all means for me. What does “working alongside” Pastor Scott mean? Well, I’m gonna be given the Associate Pastor title, which will likely mean many different things along the way. It will likely be a role that will morph and change as the needs of the church morph and change. For now, I will keep on overseeing the NextGen ministries at Pine Valley, meeting with Pastor Margaret, Jill and our new youth pastors to equip, encourage and keep us all on the same page. I will have a focus on helping launch small group ministries and equipping their leaders. I will be assisting with our Growth Track classes and helping people to assimilate into serving within our church body. I will also help develop admin organization and structures and will continue to assist with communications, graphic design, website and social networking for the church.

Basically, I will come alongside Pastor Scott and serve the church wherever and however needed — the job description is still being written. I’ll admit, Im a little nervous at the unwritten part, but just like starting any new role, I am hopeful that I will find my stride again soon enough.

To those I have served alongside with in youth ministry for the past couple of years: You are my heroes! Hands down. And you will continue to be. I have been so honored to serve with you and only ask that you continue to love God and love students the way that you have been so faithful to do. To the students and student leaders I have had the privilege of pastoring: Thank you for some of the most amazing memories of my life! Thank you for sharing life with me. And thank you for re-filling my passion tank. I will always love student ministry and you are the reason why. There is nothing quite like seeing a generation take hold of God’s plan for their lives and re-ignite a whole church in the process. You guys are amazing! To David and Carrie: I love you guys and will continue to be your biggest cheerleader. I know you will take our students farther than they have ever gone before!

Thank you for all the congrats this morning! We are very blessed by our church family and friends. Yes, I will still be serving the Gateway District of Foursquare Churches in the District NextGen Rep role. I will also continue doing graphics and design side-work at TheShawnShoup.com. We look forward to what’s ahead!


Shawn Michael

Husband, father, musician, pastor, Internet junkie, and Foursquare District NextGen Rep for the Gateway District

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