There are times when God’s work and His timing make absolutely no sense to us. In 2008 when I had my stroke, my family and the church were taken completely by surprise. As the time went on, it was amazing to watch how God used a terrible situation to bring about something that brings Him the greatest glory. God’s provisions in the months after my stroke were absolutely incredible. He has sustained me and my family through some of the most terrible months of our lives.
About a year ago, I had mentioned to Laura that there were some things occurring on Sunday mornings and as I interacted with people that might seem to suggest that some of my deficiencies were becoming more evident. What I told her then was that when my deficiencies begin to become almost a distraction, I would know it would be time to step back from full time ministry.
Over the next several months, it was communicated to Laura and and myself that I look tired, appear to be having swallowing issues and more difficulty with weakness in the left side. Certainly, all of those things are true. At that time, I began praying about what to do. Enter Joe and Kerri Strode. In April, Laura and I met with Joe and Kerri and asked them to begin praying about what God would have for them in full time ministry. I asked him, then, if I were to take a diminished role in the church, would he be interested in becoming a full time Family Life Pastor at New Covenant church.
We talked several times over the next few months and in July we met again to discuss the possibility of a transition. Following those discussions, I met with the deacons and the Board and discussed the possibility of a realignment of workload and salaries that would allow Joe the opportunity to pursue the Lord in full-time ministry as well as give me the option of following the advice of many physicians and reduce my workload. The proposal to have Joe come on in a full-time capacity while I mentor Joe in his new role was met with overwhelming affirmation. With that said, effective September 1, I will be stepping down from full-time ministry. I will remain the Senior Pastor of New Covenant church during this time of transition and come along side Joe as a mentor and friend. Joe has shared that the Lord has given him a desire to become a senior pastor and this will be a step in the process in helping Joe get to where he feels God wants him to be. Joe will assume the day-to-day operations of the church and his job will be expanded to include a greater responsibility with our youth, children and families.
Joe and Kerri have shown themselves to be dedicated to the Lord and clearly have a heart for reaching people. God has obviously equipped them with tremendous talents and in turn, Joe and Kerri use those God-given talents for the purpose of reaching and discipling people for Christ. I would ask that you prayerfully come along side myself, my family and the Strodes as we move forward with what we believe is God’s direction for New Covenant Church.