A lot has gone on in our lives since the last time I actually sat long enough to write down some thoughts.
- Our youngest child started kindergarten… albeit at our home with the rest of the Chappell clan… yes we are a home full of homeschoolers. Lots and lots of them.
- Our oldest has become an adult somehow. We recently moved her about 8 hours away to attend college. That was rough… and still is… but we are as proud as we are every other horrible emotion swirling around in our hearts.
- I’ve begun traveling more and more in preparation for things that are ahead. I’ve spent maybe two congruent weeks at home since school let out it seems. I just got back from Minnesota, and now prepping to leave for New York.
- We spent an entire 4 months without hot water due to a very unprofessional propane company. We called it training for the mission field.
- And most recently… last Sunday officially… we did one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do… we resigned as Kids Ministry Directors at our home church… and not without many tears.
Jessica and I are no longer Kids Pastors. For the first time in 5 years, our Sundays no longer consist of the hugs and laughter of our congregation of kiddos, and we actually have to decide what to wear since the red Kids Church Team Member shirts are out.
Jessica later shared with me that this hurt almost as much as when we lost an unborn child several years back. Knowing that ultimately it was my decision to be obedient to the call, and in that choosing to strip away something my wife and I held so dear, something to cause her heart to break, it wasn’t easy on me either. I do not like to make my wife cry.
But God was calling… And I have an amazing wife!
My heart is the heart of an evangelist. We have for the past few years tried to be faithful to that calling, all the while balancing being bi-vocational, homeschooling kids, my growing travel schedule… and being faithful to the Kids Ministry… being everything those kids need us to be. And it was soon becoming apparent something had to give… and even though we saw it coming, I think for the longest we tried to ignore it.
Over the past year I have had to turn down opportunities that I knew God was placing in front of me due to finances, availability, and being tied to giving our focus to the kids. I’ve spent services not giving it my all because I was too tied up that week trying to also do evangelism and outreaches, while maintaining a full time job. I’ve spent time dealing with jealousy because I was not where others were, doing what they were doing, when it’s all my heart was longing for. I have dealt with frustration of having other things in front of me that, although I loved to do, weren’t my purpose but took the forefront. All the while God has made me hungrier and hungrier for the harvest…
…he’s been calling out to me… “Who are you? What were you created for?”
Thus began the conversations that led to where we are today. Of course they started at home, and it was a process. None of the back and forth was easy or comfortable. Thank God for a Proverbs 31 woman! It got no easier as we finally were able to present where we were at to leadership… and waited for a meeting.. and then a response. But we were loved, our Pastoral staff shared tears with us, thanked us for everything we had done in our tenure, blessed us, prayed over us, spoke into us, and said let’s get to growing in evangelism… and we love them tremendously because of it.
What that means for us… well we’re still not quite totally sure. I will be traveling more, and now will have the availability of taking my family with me. Jess will be helping me strategize, plan, and prep. She is the most amazing organizer and planner. I am not. I am working with the Love 24/7 Initiative, heading to New York soon, and at the first of the year, we kick into high gear getting ready for Love Dallas. There are two Bonnke Gospel Crusades on the books as well. It means that we will be able to follow God where ever he leads us in this ministry. We will soon begin kicking off Just1City events, and already have invites to several cities to host outreach schools with some of our ministry partners. It also means that at our home church we will be able to focus on evangelism and outreach in Ellis County, it will be at our forefront. As we are growing as a church body, it allows us to take that important component, and give it the focus and attention that it deserves. A church that is not out actively reaching it’s community has no value.
As for the Kids Church, well Freedom Fellowship is growing, and the pace of that growth is about to pick up tremendously. We have already welcomed our replacements and they are amazing, experienced Kids Pastors. With them and the teams we put into place, the Kid’s Club is ready for that growth.
I know that there are some of the parents reading this. We want you to know, we have loved leading, teaching, and loving your kids. Kids Ministry was not something I ever thought I would be doing, and certainly didn’t realize how much I would love it, or how much those kids would teach me, or love us back. One of the greatest joys has been when the kids see us in a store or restaurant and run up shouting and screaming Mr. Shannon!!! Mrs. Jessica!!! We have also loved working along side the volunteers and staff, those that give their life and time every week to make sure these kids are taught the God loves them, and who the Gospel says they are. We thank you guys as well for all your time. Please continue to give it.
That part of our life is now over… and it’s sad… but exciting.
So here’s to the next part of the journey… whatever may come of it.
He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things. And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ – Ephesians 4:10-12