This morning, I sent out the following statement to members of First Rowlett UMC:
Dear First Rowlett Family,
After four and a half years of great ministry at First Rowlett, the time is drawing near for me to leave. When we arrived here, my family and I were grieving our sudden departure from Africa and trying to figure out what to do next in ministry. Thanks to your patience, compassion and friendships, we were given a safe place to reestablish ourselves, make new friends, and become adjusted to life in America again.
I thoroughly loved being your associate pastor. You gave me room to experiment, test new ideas, and try new ways to do ministry. You let me into your families, invited me into your homes, and allowed me to challenge you. More than anything, I have enjoyed preaching to you week after week, sharing insights from God’s Word.
But now it’s time to move on to a new phase of ministry. For some time now, I have felt called to focus more attention on ministry outside the local church. At the beginning of this year, I began a conversation with Rev. Jan Davis, District Superintendent Rev. Frank Alegria, and Rev. Dr. Elaine Heath about moving into more full-time work with refugees and the people of New Day.
This week, the bishop agreed to my request, and approved my appointment to Extension Ministry, which is a fancy way of saying that I will no longer be connected to one local church, and will instead be working in more general ministry. Specifically, I will be working as a Missional Pastor for the Missional Wisdom Foundation, the non-profit organization started by Elaine Heath for the purpose of enlarging the work of New Day, Epworth Projects, and the Academy for Missional Wisdom.
I will also spend time starting a new refugee ministry called Project Daraja, an empowerment program for recently resettled refugees. Our Lead Team, which involves members of First Rowlett, FUMC Garland, and University Park UMC, has already begun meeting and will soon be coaching families. I hope and dream that Project Daraja will eventually become a Conference-supported ministry.
I look forward to working on these various ventures, and I hope you will consider becoming part of them, too. I will share information soon about how you can get involved.
Change is always difficult. I, for one, am excited but nervous about this new appointment, because I’ve never done ministry exactly like this before. And I’m sure that you are also anxious about what the change will mean for First Rowlett.
The clergy and staff of First Rowlett care about you greatly, and you all have a bright future with their leadership. I am confident that the church will continue to grow and flourish, as you continue to take the gospel of Jesus Christ beyond the walls of our building, and as you throw open the doors wide to the entire community.
Thank you again for your support.
Grace and peace,