Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fish Tales

I got to go fishing with my new colleagues in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday. It was pretty exciting. I caught three fish right off the bat - BAM. BAM, BAM. Only one was a keeper - a pretty nice looking sand trout. The rest were small catfish. After that, the line went cold for the rest of the day. Not even a bite. But Andy Spell caught two really cool looking sharks and just about everyone else caught something. One guy on the boat hooked a stingray. It was incredible.

I enjoyed being with the West Houston staff and I think I'll fit in nicely there. I'm REALLY, REALLY excited about what God has in store for our ministry in Houston.

The biggest news is that we sold our house! It wasn't for our asking price but we didn't want to get hung up on a couple thousand dollars when we could be moving through the process of getting it inspected, getting financing stuff taken care of, etc. So we went with it. Quite exciting.

We're getting in our final goodbye's the rest of the week. Tonight we're having dinner with the elders, tomorrow night is our softball party, Saturday we're going to Sonic with the teens then hanging with our "couple" friends that night. Sunday is our last Sunday, and Monday we roll out of town with our clothes, a few toys, Maggie the dog, and all my office stuff. We're going to live in an Intown Extended Stay Hotel near the church building until we can get into a house. That should only be about 3 or 4 weeks. Hopefully we'll be able to get a closing date on a house around the same time as the closing date in Richmond so the move can be as seamless as possible.

Ranting now, so I'll go back to cleaning my office.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Crazy Days

We're in crunch time now leading up to our big move to the Lone Star State. I'm trying to leave everyone involved in the youth ministry with enough information to keep things rolling until a new youth minister is found and we're working like mad trying to keep our house clean and in excellent condition to sell. That's been stressful on us.

We also have a lot of things to look forward to. I'm excited about the new church in Houston, the new staff, the new teens, the new volunteers, etc. I'm excited about being able to just shoot up Hwy. 290 to Austin to see my sister or a little further north to see Christina's parents. I'm excited to live in the same town as Christina's sister and her family. It'll be fun getting to hang out with my brother-in-law, Jeff, on a regular basis. I'm excited about being in a big city with an NFL team (sort of), an NBA team, and a major league team. I can't wait to take the boys to their first pro football game.

On the other side of the coin I'm struggling to think of anything I won't be sad about leaving behind here in Richmond. Life as we have known it for the past six years will be in our rear view mirror in just a couple short weeks. Transitions are hard and this is no exception. Richmond is a wonderful place and we will always think of it as part of our home, even when we're living a thousand miles away.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

No Good Goodbye's

Today I announced to our teens and church that Christina, the boys and I will be moving to Texas in three weeks. It made for a very emotional day. The teens took it well for the most part, but it was still pretty hard to do. Some of the parents got pretty emotional too, which we weren't really expecting.

I read a letter to the church after service and I made it about half way through before I started getting pretty choked up. When I started saying all my 'Thank You's' I started losing it. But I eventually made it.

Six years of my life have been poured into the youth ministry in Richmond. I remember watching live footage of the Septmber 11th attacks downstairs in the office; we celebrated our first wedding anniversary here (and 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th); we bought our first house here; we learned hard lessons about buying cars here; and we had two children here.

I've learned a lot about ministry too. I've learned that no matter what flashy programs I come up with, no matter how many kids come to any given event, nothing matters if my walk with Christ isn't where it ought to be. You can't share what you don't have.

I've learned that ministry is about relationship more than about programs. No relationships means no real ministry. Programs are fun, but relationships are real.

I've learned that effective ministry is done by lots of people, not just one lone ranger. A good youth minister will surround him or herself with a team of people excited about the youth ministry and willing to be equipped to reach teens for Christ.

The last six years have laid a foundation for the rest of my life. The people here at 3Chopt have shaped who I was, who I am, and who I will be for the rest of my life. I couldn't have picked a better place for that task.