985 miles of uncomfortable distance

985 miles lie between my house in Normal, Illinois and my new place (where I will be living) in Austin, Texas. That’s 14 hours driving in a car and 4 flying in a plane. If I do the math right I think that’s about a month and half of walking if I’ve got a steady supply of RedBull or a couple weeks biking if I’ve got my biking shorts on. However you figure out the math, that’s a long way from home. If I’m honest with myself, it makes me uncomfortable to know I’m leaving. Central Illinois is the only place I’ve ever called home – the family that I love, the friends that I’d die for, and the church home where I grew to be a man – they’re all located within the same few square miles in central Illinois. Almost everything I’ve ever grown to love and cherish has come to me in the context of spindly green cornstalks that sway together in the wind and the humble old barns that rest like sentinels over the quiet landscape – stretching for miles and miles like a quilt made of lush green plants and dark earth. I love central Illinois.

So why leave?

The answer is vision. God-given, God-empowered, God-saturated vision. I have a vision to use my life for God’s glory, specifically by becoming a worship pastor who shepherds people through music. My life’s passion is to help people know God and love Him more through music. It’s taken a while to figure out, but God has slowly, steadily, and faithfully brought a calling to worship ministry into sharp focus in my heart and mind. I have waited patiently for God’s direction and God’s timing, and I believe I have finally found what I’ve been looking for – a God-given vision for my life.

In my hearts passion to glorify God to the best of my ability through music, I’ve accepted a Worship Resident position at The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas. You can learn more details about my worship residency here.  The residency will equip me and challenge me to reach my full potential as a worship leader for God’s glory. In 1 Peter 4:10 Peter writes:

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace

By God’s grace I have been entrusted with abilities as a shepherd and as a musician. It is my responsibility to steward my skills – to hone, sharpen and focus them as best I can for the sake of God’s Kingdom in service to others. This worship residency through the Austin Stone is the greatest opportunity that I will have to most effectively do ministry as a worship leader long-term. It will empower me to further fulfill my God-given vision to help people know God and love Him more through music.

So here I sit, gearing up to leave in a few months. It’s an uncomfortable calling to leave a place that I hold so dear, but worth it. So worth it. I’m putting to death my comfort so that I can pursue my calling. I relish the challenges and opportunities that lie before me in Austin. I look forward to the new friendships that will blossom, the new church family that will envelop me into its fold, and to being further sharpened into an instrument used by God for His glory as a worship pastor. All of this waits for me – 985 miles from home.

 

You can partner with me in ministry as a Worship Resident by giving online here.

 

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