It was a beautiful July 4th morning and I was sitting on my back porch enjoying my first cup of coffee, reading the morning paper, and happily anticipating the family cookout that was planned for later in the day. Little did I know in a few short moments, July 4, 2005, would end up becoming a pivotal day in my life and the life of my family.
God began writing a new chapter in our lives when the phone rang that morning just as I finished reading the paper. To my surprise it was Tim Keller calling. Tim and I had become acquainted through my 20 years of working at our denomination’s foreign mission agency, Mission to the World. And the reason for his call was a surprise as well. He wanted me to consider the possibility of serving as Redeemer’s next executive director and six months later I accepted.
Now, 11+ years later, I’m profoundly grateful for having had the opportunity to partner with Tim and many others to help lead Redeemer through some of it’s best years of growth and a few challenging years of change. And while I rejoice in what God has accomplished, if I’m honest, there’s also sense of loss. The loss of an amazing ministry partnership Tim and I have shared, and for which I’ll be forever grateful. But God also forged a deep friendship. We’ll certainly remain friends; we just won’t be working as closely together as we both pivot to new roles.
While there is a sense of loss, there is also an opportunity for great gain. Tim will be positioned to better leverage his profound teaching and equipping gifts, as well as providing more leadership to the broader movement. And in this new chapter I have the great privilege of partnering with Abe Cho and the Redeemer East Side staff team and congregants as their new executive director. I’m convinced it will be as full of amazing stories of God’s grace and as consequential as the last decade has been at Redeemer.
That’s especially true as Redeemer East Side begins to write its next chapter of loving and serving a particular part of the city, while keeping sight of the broader vision to bring gospel renewal across the entire city. Even in this next ministry year, with God’s provision we will finalize the plans for our first East Side site launch, create new opportunities by moving up the time of our evening worship service to 5 p.m., and work to find an East Side property for seven-day-a-week ministry space. Now that’s a next chapter I can’t wait to help write!