One of the most difficult challenges in ministry is saying goodbye well to a Church family you have loved and been loved deeply by. The words I am typing seem completely inadequate to express the feelings Aimee, Noah, Joseph and I hold for you. I pray the Holy Spirit who lives in each of us may somehow continue to carry the depths of our love from our hearts to yours.
As I depart Shepherd I am confident of several things:
First, you are an incredible, unique and warm Church and I believe that God has great plans for you. Your obedience to our Lord these last few years has brought you to a place of abundant fruitfulness and faithfulness. God is blessing you all greatly. I believe your impact for His Kingdom will be even greater in the days to come than in the days that have already gone by.
Second, the path ahead is clear. Even though we are still looking for our next Student Ministry leader, there is in no way a leadership void at True. The true volunteer team is prepared to pursue and fulfill the plans that have been clear for these last 15 years. They will keep on presenting the Gospel to students in ways that students can’t avoid. They have a vision for your students and are ready for True to become whatever it need to be next.
Finally, more than anything, I am confident of the love you have for our Lord and for one another. I am confident of the love that God has for you. I am thankful for the strong and faithful staff that I am leaving behind and I am serious going to miss joking, laughing, visioning and developing the church with Leon and Britta. My prayer is that, if there is any legacy from my tenure of service at Shepherd of the Hills, it will be your understanding of our need for both the Full Grace of Jesus and the Full Truth of Jesus. We will always need both.
Please be praying for my new congregation and new staff. We are excited to be following God’s call into this new chapter and honestly we are also a bit nervous about all the unknowns in front of us. I will still be reachable on social media as well as at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will also be follow my new Instagram “TrueOceanside”. Joey will still be making films on youtube.com search for JAKilleen.
We give thanks for you and for our time with you. We grew our family, we became part of your family, and Austin became our home. Now our hearts will once again be stretched across this great nation as we trust and follow God’s call to bring the love that you showed us at Shepherd all the way to First Presbyterian Church of Oceanside.
I was reading the book of Genesis this morning my mind stopped on the passage where God breathes his spirit of life into them. Our very first breath and every one after that is a gift God.
I'm returning home from speaking at a high school ski camp in New Mexico. As we drive the 16 + hours to get back to Austin Texas my mind starts to evaluate what happened this weekend like it always does.
Our theme was "True Fools" and we spoke on the ideas of foolishness and wisdom from a high school perspective. We talked about how from an outside of the faith perspective God's plan of sacrifice and rescue for us seems like total foolishness.
We looked at examples in scripture where God's choices seemed foolish.... and yet they were perfect and filled with wisdom that we could not see.
As I evaluate my talks, I keep seeing the very blank stares of a post dinner and post skiing crowd. Really tough room. It was like skiing on an icy day, when you only get traction for a few seconds at a time. I truthfully do not know how effective my speaking time was. Even with all of the slipping and sliding around in my talks, as we drive home I hear them still talking about the amazing time they had this weekend, about how this was this best weekend ever.
i hear them mention a few of the ideas and stories I threw at them. Be strong and courageous, Stay outta the sharks house, sometimes God's foolishness is wisdom in disguise. As we keep on driving and see how they have bonded and become a group that was once strangers just a few days ago and that are now deeper friends.
I have been told that I have been foolish to spend 30 years of my professional ministry life with teenagers sharing the Gospel of Jesus with them. I tell them what I told the students this weekend. God's wisdom often looks like foolishness to us.
So I have chosen to be a fool and I follow the one they call "God's own fool" and I invite you to come with me and come be a fool as well.