This blog entry was originally posted at gracepractice.blogspot.com last night. This blog belongs to one of my pastors, David Williamson, and he has on occasion allowed me to be a guest contributor. But now that I have started a blog of my own, I thought I would re-post these thoughts here for posterity's sake.
This Sunday marks the six-year anniversary of the first time I joined the Spring of Life faith community to worship God. I remember it well because I had just moved from south Florida to Orlando for a new job and Lenora and Gabrielle had not yet joined me; so, not only was I experiencing the awkward feelings typically associated with trying a new church, I was also alone and without my family. Shirley Stoffer greeted me at the door, made me a name tag, and immediately made me feel welcome. I completed a connect card and Pastor Dave called me the next day. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that Spring of Life was going to be our new church home, which was an enormous relief because the only regret our family had when making the decision to leave south Florida was that we would have to leave the church where Lenora and I were married, Gabrielle was baptized, and where we were part of a praise team we loved very much.
I tell you this because Spring of Life has been, and always will be, a key part of my faith journey. It is now my sixth year leading worship and third year leading youth. Had you told me those things were going to be in my future when I attended that first worship service in September 2006, I never would have believed you. Had you also told me that I would begin preaching in July 2008, discern a call to ordained ministry shortly thereafter, and begin seminary in June 2009, I never would have believed those things either. And I certainly would not have believed that I was going to take a tremendous leap of faith and leave the job I moved to Orlando for in the first place so I could attend seminary full-time and make myself more available to serve God and the good people of Spring of Life. While we’re at it, I probably wouldn’t have believed that our family would grow by two more children either. Let’s just say that the years that we have spent at Spring of Life have been a whirlwind of change for the Rousseau family. God indeed works in mysterious ways!
Yet, through it all God has been faithful to us as we’ve sought to follow His leading. The faithful people of Spring of Life, my family, and my friends, have been a source of strength and encouragement for us and we are so thankful for the love and prayers. Answering God’s call can be both fulfilling and wrought with challenge, so having a great support system is truly of the utmost importance. As some of you may know, I appeared before the District Committee of Ordained Ministry (DCOM) last Thursday to be interviewed and considered for their recommendation to the Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) as a Provisional Elder in the Florida Annual Conference. I was disappointed to learn that they would not be recommending me for Provisional Elder at this time. Nonetheless, they affirmed my call to ordained ministry and the gifts that I possess for ministry by keeping me on the Provisional Elder track and re-certifying my candidacy. Still, they felt that there are some areas of growth I should address to help me reach my full effectiveness as a minister, and I was assigned some contingencies to work on until my next interview as a result.
The chair of the DCOM did tell me, however, that they will consider recommending me to the BOOM as a full-time local pastor at their September meeting. Simply put, this could be a means for me to find a full-time appointment in the Florida Annual Conference and serve as a stepping stone until I am approved and commissioned as a Provisional Elder. Lenora and I will be meeting with the District Superintendent in the coming weeks to discuss possibilities. Like anything else, there are no guarantees, but if such an appointment does become available, it won’t be until next summer, after I have graduated from seminary.
Now you know what we know, which I confess at times this week hasn’t felt like much. I thank Dave and Carolyn for being there for me this past week. I thank all of you for your prayerful support. In spite of the initial emotions that came following the DCOM’s decision, I remain grateful for this process and feel confident that I will be better for it. While there have been times of question and doubt these past few years, I can tell you with all certainty that every decision I have made to answer God’s call has proven to be a right one. I look forward to a year of great growth and what I know will also be another great year in ministry at Spring of Life. Thanks be to God.