I am really pumped to share with our extended family and friends that I have recently accepted the position of Campus Pastor at Ecclesia on the West Side. Ecclesia is a beautiful faith community that my wife and I have become a part of since my student ministry career wrapped up earlier this year. For a few months we had the joy of just belonging, in relative anonymity and comfort. When Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Gulf Coast, our nonprofit (The 25 Group) partnered with Ecclesia to do some work in west Houston.
We got to know some in leadership there, and they got to know us. One thing led to another, and this vacant role was one we felt was a really terrific fit. While I resisted at first (for a variety of reasons that would take this blog from a readable to exhaustive length), the more conversations we had the more it just became clear that I was supposed to do this.
Ecclesia started in 1999. Under the leadership of Chris Seay it has blossomed into a sincere, faithful, multi-denominational community that has impacted lives all over Houston and around the world. With a campus in the heart of downtown Houston, they recently expanded to the city’s West Side. I’ll serve as campus pastor there, serving in that neighborhood with a unique expression of Ecclesia’s mission and purpose.
Personally and professionally, this is a huge step for us. It’s a challenge we’re up for and one we’re excited about. We think it’s a healthy, beautiful, focused community of faith. I’m pumped to journey in the Gospel together with the staff team and the entire Church.
It is a different kind of church. I grew up in independent Christian churches, a tribe that is dear to me. I have been quoted in the past as swearing I would never work in any other kind of church. For those who get the Restoration Movement (to which my tribe belongs) this is perhaps the most unRestoration Movement thing one could swear to. I love what Ecclesia is about. Our values align. The lead guy grew up Baptist. The teaching pastor grew up non-instrumental Church of Christ. There are staff members with Catholic upbringings and a staff member that was a Mennonite. It’s not a homogeneous community. Rich and poor, young and old, with folks from various ethnic backgrounds. It’s a rich, diverse family. I love that. I think that’s the way it should be, don’t you?
This was also entirely unexpected and, in some ways, happened fast. This means some re-arranging of our lives. My day-to-day focus with The 25 Group will change and we’re looking at hiring some staff to cover what I can no longer pay attention to as closely. I think this will help our nonprofit continue to grow. Those conversations have already begun, and I don’t think we’ll miss a beat. In fact, I think this decision will serve to grow our nonprofit in 2018 and beyond. I’ll remain engaged with our Board of Directors, serving the organization as President. In this way, we’re really adding to our team, not subtracting.
My calling has always been to serve in the local church, and while I’ve enjoyed my time away from it, I’m energized by what is ahead. I want to thank all of you for your constant encouragement and support during what has been an insane 2017. Through a lot of transition, tension, and even some trauma, we’ve felt surrounded and supported by family and friends all over the country–truthfully, around the world.
We are grateful.
And now at year’s end we are grateful, too, for our growing family of brothers and sisters within Ecclesia.