When I was a kid I wanted to preach. Now you must know my childhood desire was merely a fondness for my father. He was a preacher. And so, I wanted to be a preacher too. However this was the start of a romance, an infatuation with words and ideas and people and pulpits. Graciously, God often takes our mustard-seed sized childhood infatuations and cultivates them into a lifelong calling ... at least that’s my story.
My dad encouraged it. My mother gave it passion. And my siblings didn’t care. All of this blended together creating an even deeper longing for understanding and growth. Through my early development the fondness didn’t fade. It led me to a degree in English at the University of Redlands and then on to graduate school at Denver Seminary.
During my time in Denver I was given the immeasurable joy of being called “pastor” for the very first time. Calvary Church welcomed me and confirmed my elementary inclinations. It was a calling. And within their company they allowed me to preach, lead, pray, pastor, and mess up … a lot. Calvary became the context where my life’s work grew deep roots in Jesus and his purpose for his Church.
When I graduated from seminary and stepped away from Calvary I moved back to my hometown (San Jose, California) to start a new church. In the midst of taking on this fresh context of my calling I met my wife, Laura—a Michigander with a heartbeat for people and an eye for design. Together we made a life in downtown San Jose as God gracious grew us and entrusted many stories of healing and discovery.
Then came children. While we were in this season of ministry we welcomed our daughter, Glori and son, Jedidiah. They brought a fresh spark to our story only children could. And our time in California was made rich by God’s kindness in and through their lives.
Just a few years ago Laura and I sensed God doing something new in us. And God’s stirring led us to Chicago and Park Community Church. Over the past four years we have fallen in love with this city and neighborhood where I help lead one of Park's nine locations. And on September of 2018 we will be launching Park - Logan Square as an autonomous new church, Church in the Square.
We make our home on the near west side of the city. And our family has grown and is growing; Glori (6) and Jedidiah (4) welcomed their little brother, Micah (2) into the world at the start of 2016 and baby #4 will be here in October of this year. It gives us a simple yet deep joy to take long weekend walks on the 606 trail to coffee shops and donuts. Playgrounds serve as necessary havens of celebration and physical exertion along the way. And now I wonder, what fondness is shaping in my kids that will one day grow into a calling of their own.
This is the joy of living a good story. And I am grateful you are joining me here on the journey. So ... thank you.