Jessica Walter, Salford
That the Lord so clearly called us to this 20-year term of church planting in Mexico City we could never doubt. This certainty is what carried us through many testing times and experiences.
Kenneth L. Seitz
I’ve heard many different people say that if you want to make God laugh you should tell him your plans. Many of us are planners by nature, we want and are supposed to know where we are going, how we will get there, when we will go and what we will do while we are there, among other controllable variables. However we simply cannot plan for everything…sometimes it rains on our beach vacation, sometimes our ideas flop.
In the winter of 2006 I found myself at the edge of a vocational cliff. I could either continue on the path I was walking, the one that made sense financially and was easy to plan, or I could leave the graduate program I was in and pursue what really inspired me.
It didn’t make sense for me to leave mid-semester to pursue ministry but it also didn’t make sense to me to stay on a course that left me unmotivated and unhealthy. Therefore after listening to the internal nudging of God, coupled with the external signs of affirming friends, family, pastors and “coincidence,” I left what made sense and took a running dive off that cliff.
Sometimes we feel a strong urge by God to do what is contrary to our plans or to what makes sense with where our life seems to be heading. Something that requires a leap of faith…like leaving a promising graduate degree program in School Counseling to pursue working for the church. Or picking up your family and moving to Mexico City to minister among strangers. Or planting another church after experiencing the pain of having one fail.
Some people call this strong urge from God a calling, others are not so comfortable with that term, but following God’s lead and taking these leaps require a sense of faith. Taking the leap cultivates faith that the direction you are being led towards, though contrary to any of your plans and perhaps contrary to the plans of those near and dear to you, will bear fruit.
In this issue you will read about people who have and are following their callings despite what, at times, made sense to them. You’ll read of men and women willing to commit to love and walk with a congregation through the often tumultuous space of transition…only to leave once the transition is moving toward health and begin the process again with another congregation.
You’ll read of three newly credentialed leaders who traveled confusing and sometimes tough roads never guessing that God would lead them to their current ministries. You’ll read of new and successful leaps of faith in established Conference Related Ministries. You’ll read of a couple coming to the marriage altar pursuing hope despite all life experience to the contrary. And you’ll read about a young woman about to take a leap of faith of her own to learn and grow in another country.
My own leap of faith has led me somewhere I never imagined…here; writing, collecting and assembling the stories of an amazing group of people who are bound together by a shared pursuit to following God’s leading. Becoming a story collector and teller is nothing I could have planned but what a beautiful fruit it has been.
The stories in the following pages tell us of the unplanned and amazing fruit that has and is already springing from acts of obedience to God’s leading. While some are too new to tell exactly what the fruit will look like, all of these stories share the common thread of faithful followers listening to God’s call, the voice of the Spirit heard internally and externally, and following that lead through the good times and the difficult.