When you’re safe at home you wish you were having an adventure; when you’re having an adventure you wish you were safe at home. — Thornton Wilder
Life really is an adventure. Sometimes you get to choose the adventure, and sometimes it chooses you. We’re about to embark on a new adventure. A few months ago Dusty Rush was talking with Jason Barnard about a youth rally that Jason was putting together. Jason expressed that they were looking for a new minister at their church. Thus began a conversation that turned into a phone call from Jason to me, a sending of a resume, a phone interview, and ultimately a visit to the Forsythe Avenue Church of Christ in Monroe, Louisiana.
After 16 years at Central, we feel like we are part of everyone’s family here. It’s comfortable. The elders under which I serve are friends that I admire and love. There are many mothers and fathers of faith in this church that have helped me in so many ways. It is with bittersweet emotions that I would even consider moving somewhere else to work with other people that I do not know. Our children and grand children are here, and want to remain here. We’ve been through a lot during our tenure at this church. We love this church, and are loved by this church.
Our visit to Forsythe last weekend was simpy an exceptional experience. Jason worked hard to make sure that we met a broad cross-section of the congregation during the few days we were there. We dined with several different groups of people. We met with a life group, a search committee, and the elders at different times. The congregation was so encouraging in their response to the lessons. The women of the church surrounded Maggy with love and interest. We could easily see the potential for the growth of this lovely congregation. When we were on our way home we couldn’t think of a single thing that could have been done to make us more comfortable or more welcomed. And as we traveled down the highway on the way back to the Coast we had no idea that in just a few days we would receive that phone call.
Mike Riley is the elder that we met first when we got to Monroe. He and his wife Mignon drove us around Monroe giving us a bit of a tour. Mike is a real estate broker and as such had a great working knowledge of the area. Mike was the one who called late Wednesday evening last week to inform me that they want me to come and work with them. He was so enthusiastic. I was surprised to receive the offer. I asked for a little time.
Thursday I called and said ‘Yes’. Saturday I met with Central’s elders, although I had told each of them of our decision before the meeting. Sunday I informed Central of what had transpired. And for a month I will be caught in the transition of helping Central prepare for a search and planning for a new beginning in Monroe. February 1st I will begin anew in Monroe.
I’m walking a bit of a tightrope on this post because I do not want to be so exuberant that Central folks feel I wasn’t genuine in my love for them. I don’t want Forsythe folks to think I’m coming to town begrudgingly. The truth is that Maggy and I are excited as we can be about entering a new journey with the Family in Monroe. And the truth is that we are shedding a lot of tears and saying those dreadful goodbyes to people we love dearly here at Central. The Thornton Wilder quote above hits the nail on the head.