Lord of Our Destiny
We have some BIG NEWS to share, and for those that have followed our journey for the past eight years, that probably doesnâ€™t come as a big surprise. But maybe if you hear the whole story youâ€™ll begin to see Godâ€™s hand through it all.
First, the BIG NEWS:Â Deanna and I were asked if we would consider taking the senior pastoral position at Destiny Foursquare Church in Rapid City, SD. We prayed about that decision for almost two months and have said â€œYesâ€. Godâ€™s hand seems to be all over this. Sam Rockwell, our District Supervisor made the appointment official last Saturday and the installation Sunday is being planned for the last weekend in July.
Deanna and I were not on the lookout for a position. We absolutely love where God has placed us in Bayfield and transition was not on our radar. OurÂ Pine ValleyÂ family has loved, encouraged, equipped us, and made us feel very welcome and at home these last three years. As we have made one-on-one visits and phone calls with staff this week, there have been many bear hugs and tears. This wasn’t a decision we took lightly.
The History:Â For those of you that don’t know, Deanna and I were co-pastors at Destiny for years 4-through-12 of it’s 20-year history. We both served as youth pastors and I was also co-worship leader with Brent and served in various other areas, as the church grew.
You can read some more about our long-relationship with the Parkers in the article I recently shared in honor of Destiny’s 20th Anniversary celebration. Our relationship goes way back.
We had such a blast serving at Destiny: birthing Elevate Student Ministries, hosting years of Valapalooza Valentine’s events, launching the Elevation Talent Show, youth-led services, learning how to function and flow in the gifts of the Spirit, and even planting the Dakota Summer Camp. I grew as a musician and pastor under Brent and Tani’s leadership. Deanna and I love them both so much!
An 8-Year Journey:Â In 2010, we said “Good-bye” to Destiny as we felt God’s tug on our hearts to pursue Deanna’s education. That ended up being a 4 year journey in Duluth, MN, and Grand Forks, ND. It was during those years that I started my role as the District NextGen Rep for the Gateway District of Foursquare, serving the NextGen pastors of our 6-state region. I was a youth ministry volunteer in Minnesota for two years and then served as a volunteer youth pastor in North Dakota.
The next transition was an invite to take on the Worship Pastor position at NorthRock Church in Thornton, CO. I also led the NextGen teams and Communications departments while there. Long story short, with circumstances beyond our control, things just didn’t work out and a year-and-a-half later, we were looking for what God had next for us. That’s when we transitioned to Bayfield, CO.
At Pine Valley Church, we immediately felt a kinship with the heartbeat of where God had called us. Looking back, God allowed me to have some of the most fruitful years of ministry I have ever experienced. We saw God totally shake up and transform the youth group, which still brings me to tears. I got to work alongside some amazing new friends-for-life in ministry. And this last year, after stepping into the Associate role, I started thinking more from the senior leadership angle. Processing through things such as internal organizations and structures, how to grow new believers, following through with visitors, communicating well, and leading teams of leaders for small groups and lead teams.
Our Pine Valley family is amazing. And our love will always run deep for our Bayfield friends and church family.
The Call:Â It was Sunday night, just after coming back from visiting a retreat, that we received the call, asking if we would be interested in the senior leadership of Destiny Foursquare Church. The thought literally took my breath away.
I don’t think we would have even considered the possibility had the call come from anywhere else, but Destiny… Destiny is so much like home to us, for so many reasons. My older girls grew up in our youth group there. I learned how to play with a band under Brent’s leadership. Deanna and I served together as pastors for 9 years. My mom’s funeral was there. My dad is still a faithful attender. The same staff we served with 8 years ago is still serving. All of our kids were dedicated during services at Destiny…
Our flesh immediately leapt! What an opportunity!
Even with all of that, we wanted to really process and think through this opportunity slowly. Deanna and I prayed through and weighed the decision for almost two months. This is another move for a family that has already had a lot of transition. We weren’t taking it lightly. We recently had the opportunity to visit on-site and celebrate Destiny’s big 20th anniversary weekend. We spent hours talking with Brent and Tani, asking every question we could think to ask.
A few days after that trip, we called Brent and Tani’s divisional pastor and told them that we had heard a “yes” from God. A couple weeks after that, the Saturday morning before Easter Sunday, Sam Rockwell, our District Supervisor, called to let us know that the appointment was official.
Passing the NextGen Baton:Â What this means for me is that I will be passing on the leadership for the Gateway District NextGen role after 8 years. And likely, I will be done with formal NextGen ministry going forward. That’s what I have done my entire adult life, in some shape or fashion — for 18+ years. I have loved and cherished that journey, and will always be thankful that I got to be the “youth guy” for so long. There are so many incredible memories.
Finding Our Destiny:Â The journey ahead is one I know will be just as amazing. Destiny Foursquare Church is a place — and a people — that we have loved for 17 years.
My expectations are high, even as I am absolutely humbled at the thought. Regardless of my fears, I can already feel an incredible passion welling up in my bones. And I get to minister alongside Deanna again… that’s just incredible.
One last thought: in the back of my mind:Â I know that Mom would be so proud. She is proud. For her, this is the pinnacle of any achievement I could ever try to attain. It makes me smile (big) and well up with tears (big) at the same time.
And I smile as I consider the opening lyrics of a song I wrote many years ago, when I was teenager:Â
“Shawn Michael’s back… with a fresh attack…”
Ha-ha-ha-ha! I’m so thankful.
Pray With Us:Â Would you please agree with me for my family as we make another big move? That my kids will transition well and have immediate, easy friendships and favor as they make the move to a new church and school. They are nervous. Please also pray that our family and friends at Pine Valley find exactly the right person(s) to join their ministry team here in Bayfield. And for our new/old church family, Destiny Foursquare, as they transition from their founding pastors of 20 years.
For those of you that are interested, here is the announcement from Destiny:
To all our friends and family, thank you for your friendship and overwhelming support throughout the years! You are loved.