Monday, February 16, 2009

What an exciting day!! Today is my first day as Organizing Pastor of Chain of Lakes Presbyterian Church. This day has resulted because of God’s call to start a new Presbyterian church in the Blaine/Lino Lakes area. I believe that God desires a powerful Presbyterian church in the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities. As this new church starts a new phase of ministry I want first to extend praises to God for the divine call which made this day possible.
For a long time I have felt a call to be a new church development pastor. Through my many work experiences I believe that God has been preparing me to start a new church. I have a deep desire to start a new church that makes and cultivates disciples of Jesus Christ who impact the world. Today is my first day of living out this call. Over the years I have had moments when I doubted whether this day of being an organizing pastor would happen for me, but God sustained me through these doubts. Today I am full of joy about this new opportunity.
For the past 16 years I have had the privilege of being the pastor of Community Presbyterian Church in Plainview, Minnesota. Our congregation experienced congregational redevelopment. Together we grew in membership and worship attendance, built a new church building, started new youth and children’s ministries, and began the House of Hope ministry—a residential house where many family ministries for the community take place. I have always shared that Jesus is in “plain-view” and these ministries are a testament to the presence of Christ in Plainview.
On the weekend of February 7/8 I had the privilege of celebrating the past 16 years of ministry at Community Presbyterian Church. I will never forget this wonderful weekend.
Now it is time to move on in my call. At a recent leader’s retreat at Community Presbyterian Church we were studying God’s call to Abram in Genesis 12. One leader read the story and then shared that my helping to start this new church was like Abram starting out on his journey. The future is unknown, but the call is clear.
In the immediate future I will be working Monday through Friday out of the Chain of Lakes office. I anticipate moving my family from Rochester to the Blaine/Lino Lakes area sometime this summer. Until then I will be staying at a house on Presbyterian Church of the Way’s property on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights.
One of my goals is to have the churches in our Presbytery invested in the success of this new church. One future project will be to set up a prayer partner(s) at every Presbyterian church in the Presbytery. When this is established a bi-weekly newsletter will be sent via E-mail to people who are praying with and for our new church. If you are interested in helping with this, please call (651) 528-7321 or send an E-mail to
In the days ahead I will be familiarizing myself with the Blaine/Lino Lakes area and getting to know the people here. If you are interested in meeting with me, do not hesitate to call or E-mail the church office.
I plan on starting a blog and have already started an active Facebook page. Do not hesitate to send me a friend request via Facebook.
I want to thank the Church Development Team (CDT) for their ferocious persistence in starting this new church. Many people on the CDT have worked for years in following their vision that God wants the Twin Cities Area Presbytery to start new churches. These folks have devoted thousands of hours of their time to this vision. They prayed and strategized and organized support within the Presbytery and wider Presbyterian Church. This day would not have happened without the resolve of the CDT.
In my personal devotions this morning, I came across a sentence that to follow Jesus a person must live with “openness, discernment, and trust all the days of their lives.” This seems to be a fitting start to my first day as Organizing Pastor of Chain of Lakes Presbyterian Church. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I trust that God has exciting plans for this new congregation.