Sunday, April 24, 2005

Jennifer's Last Sunday

Jennifer came to our church a little over 10 years ago as our children's pastor. Over the years, she has become a dear friend to Brooke and me. Several years ago she transitioned into the role of creative arts pastor at the church, and now she is transitioning again. This time, she is transitioning into her own ministry and will no longer be on staff at the church. Those of us who know Jen knew this day would come. For a while, she had an e-mail address of God has give Jen big dreams, and she is off to pursue those dreams. We will miss seeing Jen around, but we wish her God's best. We gave Jen a card, and here's the note I enclosed.


Wow, things have changed a bit since you first came to the church and gave Pastor David that 85 page prospectus on children's ministry. Of course, I remember it because I got to type it up being secretary and all. And you know, the thing that makes this all OK now is I KNOW, with your meticulous filing system, you have kept that thing through all these years and are taking it with you as a treasured memory of working at the church. Maybe you stuck it right next to that nice poster you did for me of the comparative worldviews...oh wait, that one is still in your head!

Yeah, there's lots of stuff I could harass you about. I do wish I had been at Wal-Mart with the first, and now-famous, taped envelope. I don't know if I ever got to thank you properly for the opportunity to “dance” to “Getting to Know You” at that kids' camp World Wide Witness did. Thanks so much. And I guess the classic phone call from the marquee will go down in the books now, too. What was that word you were trying to spell? Whatever it was, just remember it was spelled “OK”.

You were my staff compadre through the years. You helped come up with fun staff activities...alternatives to bowling every time! You were the only one who went along with my pranks on Harry. World Wide Witness has lots of fond memories and going to the Liberty Fellowship family conference with the “Sweaty Mommas”. I guess we wouldn't know what Whirlyball was it if wasn't for you, too.

And then there's the stuff I learned from you. If I EVER needed ANYTHING, you were the one to ask. I guess you've been to every specialty shop in the Metroplex. One of the most important things I learned from you was how to delegate and equip people for ministry. I've read lots about it and have been taught it, but you were always good at finding people's gifts and then finding a way for them to use those gifts. You found people I never would have thought of, and that both challenged me and encouraged me to try and do the same.

To be any good, every ministry needs a right brain person as a part of the team. Since I'm about as left brained as they come, you added a LOT to my youth ministry. Thank you for the Wednesdays you threw something together for me on the computer because I did not get the idea until after lunch that day. As I was cleaning out my youth office, I found the torch you made...the one I “borrowed” about five years ago to speak at a Bible club. If it's any consolation, I shared that message 3 or 4 times and used the torch every time. A lot of people thought Duckalien was OK, but I thought it was GREAT! And I couldn't have been Uncle Sam without your help. I've still got the notes from our Titanic night that I've got to scan and give you a copy of, but that would never have happened without you either. I still look in awe at the one wall in the youth building (and the best part is, you used an overhead to get it started!). The youth building had a lot of your creative input in it. Had it not been for you, I guess it would still be black and white with blue carpet.

Out of all the fond memories, the things I learned from you and the fun times, the thing I am going to miss the most about you not being around all the time is your friendship. Over the years, other staff people had ideas for my ministry, but you were one of the few I felt like was “in my corner” when you had ideas. I guess that was had “ideas” more than “suggestions”. Same thing...they just feel different when people share them. You were always a huge encourager and always remembered to ask me how something went after you knew I had planned and worked hard on it. It was always a great encouragement to have somebody I respected in ministry supporting what I was doing.

Several years ago I realized this day would come...they day you would move on to a different ministry. It is the way God gifted you, and I think anybody who knows you thinks this is a God thing. I'm going to miss you being around and your friendship, but I pray God's absolute best for you. I believe in you and believe God is going to use you mightily. If you ever get to an overwhelming place and wonder if you've done the right thing, remember there are people at the Vine who know you, believe in you and believe you've heard from God. He's got a lot of people to bless through your ministry, and I'm thankful to have known you and been blessed by your ministry all these years.

- Rob

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