F&F: How did God reveal his plan for you to accept the call to your new church?
Pastor Brad: I sought the prayer and advice of the elders of the church I was currently serving in Marysville – these men are some of my closest friends and I trust them to pray and give me good input. I also had many good conversations with my wife and children – I was happily surprised at how many great questions and input I received from my children (ages 10 and 13) in the process.
I think God revealed His plan for me to accept the call to Hillside as my wife and kids gave confirmation that the call was a good fit for my gifts and personality and that they were open to a move.
Overall, I think the greatest confirmation came in the peace I had to accept the call – even though I would dearly miss our friends and family in Marysville. Another good thing for me was to read some of Paul’s letters and see that there were many times when the churches in some areas needed the gifts of men from other places and how leaders moved around according to gifts of pastors and and needs in the churches. It seemed normal and healthy to move when a call came – even when things are good.
F&F: Did you face any obstacles or distractions while following God’s lead to the new church?
Pastor Brad: Yes, mostly misunderstanding about our leaving. Our family had connected deeply in Marysville – both in the church and in the community with other churches, school and sports. Because it was such a good time for us in Marysville and because there were no conflicts to force a move, some wondered if there was an “unknown problem” beneath the surface – something between myself and the elders or myself and the congregation. It took some time to clear that up!
The other misunderstanding came as people tried to understand a new role for me. Many wondered why I would “move backward” in ministry from a lead pastor role to an assistant/youth role working under a pastor who is 15 years my junior.
Ironically, my unbelieving friends were quick to understand that my desire is to follow the leading of God as my motivation to move while many of my believing friends seemed to think our decision had more to do with a better salary, discontentment in ministry or strained relationships at the church (none of which were true!)
F&F: How do you see God working through this congregation as you begin your ministry as their pastor?
Pastor Brad: I have been at Hillside for 4 months and while I am still building relationships and learning a new role, I see the church expressing a sense of encouragement and excitement for ministry to youth and families. I am also enjoying the role of associate to Bruce – I see many of my gifts and abilities lend themselves well to a team setting and the church is responding well to our relationship.