I wanted to let you all know that I have been called to become a Regional Minister in the Eastern Baptist Association. Sadly this means that I will be leaving Orchard Baptist Church in October in order to respond to this new calling.
I have been and still am so incredibly happy at Orchard; the church is in a good place, it is healthy and growing and the rest of the church are an incredible blessing to me. My ministry as a part of the Orchard family has been a real joy and a privilege.
In the light of this, it has taken various colleagues to encourage me to apply for the Regional role (one of them did this very persistently). As I have listened to and thought about their encouragements I began to reflect on who I am, my life experience and what God is calling me to at this time. I began to realize how much time that I was already spending helping other Ministers and Churches and as I prayed about this it felt like this is something which I should be doing more. There was no bellowing voice from heaven, no angel fanfare but there was a growing realization that I was being called by God.
A few weeks ago I had the surreal experience of being interviewed for the Regional Minister role. I was able to say with certainty that I felt called but also that I hoped that they didn’t appoint me because I am very happy as the Minister at Orchard. It was an all day interview with several sections and normally I expect that it would have been quite stressful but instead I actually found it enjoyable. Instead of trying to impress the interviewing panel to try to get the job, I was just able to be myself. Talking honestly about my experiences and what I think is important in church life was a pleasure and a joy rather than something I needed to present in a certain way to get the right result.
As I went through the various interviews that day it became even more obvious to me that who I am and where I am in life is the right fit for what the EBA needs in a Regional Minister at this time. It turned out that the interviewing panel agreed.
Tracey and I have spent the last few weeks sitting on this news which has been quite difficult. Yesterday my appointment was shared with and confirmed by the Eastern Association Gathering and it was great to be prayed for as a part of this. This morning we finally shared about our news with the Orchard Church family which was very difficult for them to hear. We had already told the leadership team of the church and so they were able to prayerfully stand with us which has been real blessing to us and also to the rest of the church today. You can listen to what was said by myself and the leadership team through this link.
From October I will be joining Beth and Nick (the other two Regional Ministers in the EBA) in working with the churches across the region on this map. This will be especially across the central section from the coast across to Cambridge and just beyond.
I am excited by what God has for the EBA and I am grateful for his provision for our family in helping us to remain in the Colchester area. Your prayers are appreciated for us as a Regional Team as we follow God in faith, trusting in Him each step of the way as he leads us forward as an association.
You can find out more about the EBA at www.easternbaptist.org.uk