Monthly Archives: August 2010

Be For The City with Your Work

As I’m leaving my company and engineering I’ve thought a lot about the importance of redeeming your time at work, especially for Christians. We’ve all seen too much Office Space and The Office to view our cubicle environment as boring, but lately I can’t help but see the immense value in people seeking to be excellent at their job, whether white color or blue collar not just for their own success, but for the welfare and success of their city.

Imagine living in a city where each individual pursued excellence in their work and sought a better quality of life for their city through their job. If in every field of work, whether it be politics, custodial services, the arts, teaching, or the granddaddy of them all, engineering, every individual thinking of how their work improves the quality of life and betterment of their city.

Imagine if politicians weren’t concerned solely with their re-election campaign, but saw their efforts to seek the betterment of their local neighborhoods and cities as their re-election campaign. If the waste services company took pride in keeping neighborhoods and streets clean, if engineers focused on partnering with neighborhoods and municipalities to genuinely improve the transit system while building the success of their firm. If planners and businesses, in addition to choosing locations for success, sought locations that improve the economic condition of the poorer neighborhoods & sought to develop rather than gentrify the area.

Wouldn’t you want to live in that city? Shouldn’t that motivate us to action? The desire to live in a city where every working environment and neighborhood sought the benefit of the whole through cherishing and valuing their individual work deeply rather than valuing it as much as the paycheck or the value given to it by the world!

Sure it’s idealistic, but as a Christian, I can’t help but desire to see all things redeemed and restored to a creation that was once described as “very good”. From there, thanks to our destructive ways, society has disintegrated our cities into what they’ve become. But now, in light of the gospel, you get paid as a teacher, lawyer, engineer, or to build TPS reports by your company while being a missionary and advocate for your city.

It’s been amazing to be here in Austin and watch The Austin Stone Community Church cast this vision to their church and see it lead the way in opening the For The City center in St. John’s. I hope their efforts inspire the people of the Austin Stone & Austin to approach their work differently, not simply as a means to a paycheck, but an opportunity to address an area of the city that needs to be redeemed and restored. Until a holistic approach is taken seeking to address the areas we each have influence over, we will not see the restoration that we all wish we would see.

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Big News: Austin to NYC…Engineer to Pastor

We’d like to share some big family news with you. In about a month we will move from Austin to New York City as I will be changing careers and joining the staff of Apostles Church in Manhattan as their pastor of residence for community and justice.

This summer has been quite crazy as we have prayed for our house to sell (God provided) and began to prepare for a big move.

Back in May, I stepped out of college ministry at the Austin Stone and wasn’t really sure what was next when it came to ministry. Amber and I had taken a trip last summer to Boston and New York City to see if God was calling us to move to the Northeast in the future. We hadn’t settled on a city or a timeframe, but were confident that we would end up in the Northeast with the focus of spreading the gospel to the least religious states in the US.

Earlier this summer Michael Stewart, one of the pastors at the Austin Stone recommended that JR Vassar and the staff at Apostles Church talk to me about an opening for their role of Pastor of Community and Justice. Through conversations, emails, and spending a few days with their church and families, it became clear to us that God was providing an opportunity to join the staff at Apostles.

Obviously, this is a huge move and it involves the sadness of leaving behind our immediate families who live in Houston and Austin, our friends and our church home. We have received many of the same questions, so I hope to answer them and any others that you may have.

From Austin to NYC

We are moving to Manhattan, so we will be living in the city and yes, we do know that the city is expensive, that they actually have winters there, and that raising a family in the city is not easy. We’re not going there because it is comfortable. We’re going there because only 2.3% of its population claims to be evangelical (believing the gospel), because millions of people there don’t know the hope that is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we really believe that the gospel offers the joy of eternal life for those who believe and pain, death, and sorrow for eternity to those who do not believe, how could we sit back and not go to the places where there is little witness to the gospel? New York City is an area that wouldn’t say they need Jesus, but it is an area greatly in need of the joy and hope that is found in Jesus Christ alone.

In addition to that, we love New York City. It’s a little weird to say we’re going to be suffering for Jesus in one of the greatest cities in the world. We’re excited about raising our kids in Manhattan, about being a part of Apostles Church, a church that loves each other so well and cares for their neighbors so well, and living out the gospel in community with the people there.

We’re also excited to be moving close to extended family along the East Coast who we rarely see, but will hopefully see much more of.

From Engineer to Pastor

This move also means I’ll be leaving transportation engineering. I just passed my professional engineer’s exam and the last 5 years I’ve been designing roads as an engineer by trade and in my free time serving as one of the co-directors of the college ministry at the Austin Stone. I’ve enjoyed engineering, loved my co-workers, and we have loved our church and partnering with the mission of the Austin Stone. Over the last 6 months, I’ve sat in sales meetings and discussed my potential future as an engineer and I could stay as an engineer and design roads while honoring God and making His name known in the engineering world or I could give my life full time to spreading the Kingdom of God through evangelizing with the gospel in word and deed and it’s my heart’s passion to do the latter.

I’ve been asked “Why not be a pastor in Austin?” It’s a valid question and honestly I’ve tried to live each day as a pastor these last 5 years, but there are many here who are a part of the Austin Stone that can accomplish the mission of God here in Austin, but there are few who are going to the areas in the US and the world that have the greatest need. We are confident that God has placed us in an amazing situation partnering with Apostles Church and I’m extremely excited to give all my time to being a pastor in NYC.

What will your role be at Apostles Church?

I’ll be filling Kristian Rose’s shoes as the Pastor of Community and Justice, which means I’ll be working with the leadership team at Apostles to provide vision and direction for their Community Groups (weekly small groups), their monthly mid-size gatherings, while training and developing leaders to lead these groups with a Gospel-centered, Christ-exalting passion to see these communities be on mission together in the city. The justice piece is working primarily with Derek Devine at Apostles to connect the community groups and the people of Apostles to serving the city through mercy ministries.

In the coming days and weeks, I’ll provide more details and information about our house selling, our coming move, and our new church home.

We have around 1 more month left in Texas and we are anxious and excited to get to New York City while sad to leave all our family and friends.

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