Celebrating Friends

When my husband and I answered God’s call to full-time ministry, we submitted our desires to Him – where to live, where to serve, and what to do.  Serving at His disposal might mean a lifetime of moves or years of continuity.  Whichever the case, we agreed to follow His leading, just as every other Pastor or ministry leader He has called.

This weekend at MLC, one of our very own Pastors announced that God has prompted him to a new area of ministry.  John Shepherd, our Executive Pastor of Spiritual Formation, is moving to Murfreesboro, Tn to become the Lead Pastor of a church he planted 14 years ago.  Though he wasn’t looking for a different church to serve, River Oaks Community Church contacted him 5 weeks ago and asked him to lead them in reaching the over 200,000 unchurched people within a 10 minute radius of their church.  Quite the ministry need!  And, even more sentimental that this is a place he founded years ago.

Ok, I must say right now how divided my heart is.  I love the Shepherd’s!  I love John’s wife, Joy.  She is not only a wonderful Christian model for the women of our church to look up to, she is a dedicated servant, and most of all, she is my friend.  We spent time this week crying at the thought of waving goodbye.  I love John, too.  He has been a partner to my husband, a confidant, and an encourager.  And, their sons have blessed our church with wholehearted volunteer service.  They are all Godly young men.  On the flip side, I understand the call God has given them.  Many times in my ministry life, I, too, have waved goodbye.  As God has led my family from church to church, we have made friends that were hard to leave.  I understand the opportunity God has placed before them.  John is more than ready to step into a Lead Pastor role, and River Oaks will be blessed by his leadership, love, wisdom, and vision.

Listen to John and my hubby talk about God’s call in their own words here.  And, join me in celebrating a family who obediently answers the call of God, meets the need of the lost, and leads out with vision and love.  Pray for their transition and the health of the ministry they will carry out in Tn.  And, if you are a Mountain Laker, join us after each of the worship services next weekend to say goodbye see you soon.  Cards and letters of encouragement and prayer are welcome!!

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