As promised I'm going to share my thoughts on our calling to New York City. I don't know if I'll be able to make it short enough for one post, but it will at least get me started and motivate me to keep posting. I feel like I need to share a little background first, just so you'll understand my perspective.
Freddy T. and I spent our first 13 weeks as a married couple in New Brunswick, NJ. It was the last 13 weeks of my 1 year committment to a program called The Leadership Journey. Freddy T. met and spent time in those weeks working with Aaron Coe, who at the time was the head of my program and working for NAMB with their strategic emphasis on NYC and who is now the lead pastor of The Gallery Church, and while I had already heard of the vision for church planting in the city and believed in it, Freddy T. heard it for the first time was was captivated.
We spent time in prayer and talked about whether or not we wanted to stay in the area once our time was up. While we didn't feel like the time was right then, the vision for the city has never left our hearts. We then moved to Louisville, KY where Freddy T. continued on with seminary classes while I taught 8th grade at Whitefield Academy. We got an apartment in Old Louisville with the vision to plant a church down there out of the church Freddy T. attended before we got married. He had a strong vision for this plant, however, the church was not at a place to send us out so we never moved forward. All the while, I enjoyed Louisville, but never loved living there. After living there 6 months we were asked by First Baptist Clarksville to take over preaching for the Friday night contempary service. This began our 1 1/2 year stint of traveling every weekend to Clarksville to preach for that service that later was moved to Sunday morning DOXA. At the time this seemed crazy to most people because we lived and worked in Louisville, but went to church 3 hours away. This was part of the reason I didn't come to love Louisville. I didn't have time to make and cultivate really good friendships since I worked through the day and traveled on the weekends. By night time I was tired and ready to be home with Freddy T.
All during this time, 2 years since we lived in New Jersey, Freddy T. and Aaron continued to have conversations about us joining them in NYC and at least once a month Freddy mentioned the idea. The timing was never right for us or the church, but the desire and belief of the vision never left our hearts.
Now let me insert something here. While I believed in the vision to reach NYC and plant churches there, and even thought we'd end up there someday, I thought that someday was a long, long way away. We were starting our family and I was changing jobs from teaching to staying at home full time. Freddy T. came on staff at FBC in January 2007 and we moved to Clarksville 6 days after Jack was born. We were in the same city as most of our family (which is almost unheard of in the ministry) and Freddy T. still had a few classes till he was finished with seminary. With all that, I was not ready to go to NYC (and there was no real open door at that point either). Still believed in the vision, but not ready to go. Not even willing to entertain the idea, and Freddy T. still talked about it once a month. At one point I had to tell him that it was not helpful for me to hear him "dream." My heart was in settling in Clarksville and it shook me up too much to "dream" about relocating somewhere else when we were just settling down in Clarksville.
This brings us to last October (2007). I'll pick up here later on... stay tuned!
*I do want to make sure this is clear. While we have been in Clarksville we have not been constantly thinking about what is next for us. We love FBC and the people we minister to and along side of. It's one of the hardest things about moving, leaving relationships that mean so much to us.
We moved to Clarksville with the intentions of being here for a while. I don't know if a while was 5 years or 30 but while we were serving at FBC we were committed and focused on what the Lord was doing here in Clarksville. It was not our plan to be moving away so soon. It is simply a call from God that we cannot deny.
I didn't mean to make it sound like we've only been thinking of NYC. I realized after reading it again later it could be mistaken for that. There are hundreds of things I'm breezing over because its long enough already! I'm just trying to hit the highlights of how we've gotten to where we are today.