Kia Ora church,
What a whirlwind of a journey my life has been to this point. In recent weeks I’ve: graduated from Bible college, shifted countries, continents, time zones, houses, become a youth pastor and had to forget a few Kiwi colloquialisms that just don’t translate well into American English. Prior to that, I traveled the world trying to figure out how and where I fit in. I didn’t have an active faith in Christ until he met me for what seemed like the first time in a dingy Guatemalan apartment cell in January of 2007. The moment was decisive and radical; much of the old David Piper died that day. New Zealand was incredible to me. I’m forever grateful to my Avondale Baptist Church/Laidlaw family that adopted me into theirs very early on in my arrival to the country in 2010; how good it is to be offered rest as a displaced traveler.
In this new season of life, I’m excited to bring vision and passion to this community of faith, especially its young people. Life has taught me that I’m more than inadequate on my own without Christ and a quick survey of history reveals that in a hundred years, no one will remember my name. I don’t mean this in a negative or morbid sense, but a freeing one. Everything is about Jesus. Everything. From start to finish. All creation was created through him, by him and for his glory. Only in relationship with Jesus is life found. To deny Christ is to deny ultimate reality and the source of all life itself. I firmly believe in life before death for those that chose to repent and participate in building for God’s Kingdom today. One of our prayers needs to be, “God what are you already doing in Sequim (plus the wider world) and how can we participate in that?” It’s about God’s Kingdom, not ours. How freeing is this?
I bring with me my extensive twenty-seven years of life (just joking) and a highly relational style of ministry that has been shaped by my interactions with believers from around the world, which include weaknesses and strengths. I don’t come as a shining ‘superstar pastor’ (whatever that means?) from a land far, far away- but from Sequim where the majority of you have watched me grow up. I can take very little credit for where I’m at today as my life and faith has been shaped by older women and men who were loved and shaped by men and women older still… it ultimately goes back to Jesus. From the Holy Scriptures, we see that the Bible begins with creation (Gen 1) and ends with renewed creation (Rev 21). We live in between these times. So what does it look like to live an authentically Christian lifestyle in light of the Resurrection in the 21st century? How do we faithfully participate in the triune God’s commission to us in Sequim, Washington? These are the questions that we must ask and pursue in community with one another.
Hebrews 13:2 exhorts the persecuted community of faith to never stop showing hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some had entertained angels. Before Bible College, I was convinced hospitality was a huge medium to share the gospel of Jesus Christ; after, I’m even more convinced. Starting in September I will be hosting mid-week pancake breakfasts at my Sunnyside Flat (1/10th of a mile from the High School praise God!) that will be inclusive of all High School students regardless of their church attendance. God has also placed a fire in my heart to develop disciple (mentorship) type relationships between a vast range of ages at DCC. For lack of better terms, I believe those from the Wisdom Years (adults) need to be in conversation with those who make up the Wonder Years (youth); for the benefit and health of the entire Church. I heard a preacher once say, “like the Dead Sea, if water is flowing in but not flowing out… everything dies.” I understood this as meaning that if we’re not teaching what we are learning or have learned, it’s not just us who are losing out. If you feel like anything that has been said is tugging at your heart, consider that your invitation! I trust we will be in contact shortly J
As for now, I will enjoy the honeymoon period and pray that God uses DCC to mediate his love to the wider world. Genesis 12:3 states that Abraham was blessed to be a blessing to the world; as his children by faith, we stand in continuity with this promise. We aren’t blessed to simply be blessed, but blessed to bless others. Our joy is fully rooted in how much we are willing to mirror Jesus to the world in humble obedience to His singular mission and the plurality of ways it is faithfully enacted every day. The total (C)hurch needs to be involved in total mission, from youngest to oldest.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” -Hebrews 12:1-3
Now it’s our turn.
I look forward to journeying with you in this season as your youth pastor navigating the joys and pains of life in Christ centered community together.