Sixteen years ago, I had one of those moments where God simply said to me, “Chris, take a step out of the boat. I have a plan for you.” I was a midwestern boy with a plan for my life already laid out. But that was my plan, not God’s plan. So I packed up my Pontiac Sunfire, with everything I owned, and I drove the 1,731 miles from Illinois to Las Vegas. I had absolutely no clue what was in store for me. I could never have scripted the countless pages that are now filled. I am amazed at the storyline that I have seen unfold before for my eyes.
Kim and I are deeply honored to be part of the movement of God’s church in the Las Vegas Valley. We have seen Central grow in such significant ways and have witnessed it literally change the culture of a city that we have grown to know as Grace City. The friendships we have developed will forever be etched into the fabric of our lives. The countless lives that God has allowed us to impact for his kingdom will forever be woven in our hearts. We have had incredible moments when unspeakable joy has filled our hearts. We have also walked through the darkest of days, trying to grasp onto disappearing hope. It has been Central, its staff, and church body whose outpouring of love in the peaks and valleys that has left us speechless.
Over 18 months ago, Kim and I sensed God saying, “It’s time again. Get out of the boat.” It was one of those moments that was so ludicrous that we quickly ignored it and moved on with life. We love Vegas. We are committed to the vision of the church. Our roots are deep and the friendships are life-giving. As we are aware, God is persistent. He doesn’t stop. He doesn’t give up. He kept saying, “Get out of the boat. It’s time. I have a new path for you to walk down.” Prayer kicked in and wisdom was shared from people we deeply love and respect. Through multiple supporting conversations with Jud and Mike, I started to seek out the next possible chapter for our lives.
In all of God’s perfection (He is a smart guy), God lead us to an amazing church, Renaissance Church (http://www.renaissancechurch.org/) in Summit, NJ. Renaissance is a place where unconnected people are connected to a life saving relationship with Christ. It is a church where all people – no matter who they are – where they have come from – are loved and accepted. It is a church where radical grace is freely given. It is a church where they are a light in a world that is dark.
It is with much prayer and thought that I have accepted the role of Sr. Pastor of Renaissance Church. Kim, Kiara, Claire, Mollee (that’s our dog) and I will be moving across the country, but Central will be forever imprinted into the DNA of our lives. It has helped shape us into who we are today.
I believe that the best is yet to come within Family Ministries as the leading out of the vision will remain a priority to Jud and Mike. For Kim and I, words can’t express how thankful we are for God’s grace in our lives and the incredible opportunity He gave us to serve at such an amazing church. We now look forward in uncontrolled anticipation to the journey in front of us.
Chris and Kim