In one sense, my story begins as a part of a Christian home in Richmond, Virginia. My parents instructed me in the Christian faith and raised me in the Church. I have never known what it is like to not be Nazarene. It was in my home church in Virginia where I first began to hear God’s call to serve the Church in pastoral ministry. I struggled with this call; I doubted its reality. In the midst of this struggle, I left my home to go to Eastern Nazarene College. It was there that God’s call on my life was confirmed through the words of Scripture and the words of God’s people. It was also at ENC that I began to learn what it meant to be a part of a community; you might even say a holy community, a sanctified body. I also met Jess, my wife, at ENC and began to learn what it meant to be a part of a faithful, covenant relationship. I was plunged even deeper into the Christian tradition at Nazarene Theological Seminary and learned habits of study and service that will remain with me for the rest of my life. Now God has blessed me by bringing me here to Clinton.
I know that some who will hear my story relate strongly to it. You too have been a part of the Church for as long as you can remember. Others relate to only parts of this story or perhaps some can hardly find themselves in it at all. Of course, that is part of the beauty of the Church. Unlike any other gathering of people, we do not come together because of common interests or shared history. We come together because we are all part of a much larger story, an infinite and eternal story.
We are a part of the story of a God who crashes into our world in the person of Jesus Christ because this God refuses to remain unknown. This God shatters our view of the world which is held in earthly wisdom by way of the cross of Christ and then gives us a glimpse of another world, a truer reality, in his resurrection. Then this same God does another indescribable work and pours out the Holy Spirit. This Spirit shapes the body of Christ, the Church, into Christ’s likeness. The holy God not only makes God known to us but actually dares to work in us and among us to give us the cruciform character of God, the cross-shaped life of Jesus.
This is our story. It is our task not only to know that this is our story but to witness to it. We tell the story of the God who is love and holiness every time we gather for worship. In the reading of Scripture, the hearing of the preached word, the sacraments of baptism and communion, we retell the story of the God who delivered us and we give thanks for this deliverance. The story is told as we build each other up within the Church and it is witnessed to again and again as we serve others who are in need.
This is our story, our good news, our gospel. Ultimately, as God’s people, our whole lives are a retelling of the story we celebrate every Sunday. We are a people whose life, whose story, is only possible because of the resurrection. We serve a crucified Lord who was raised to new life and because of that we believe there is redemption in the midst of suffering and hardship. In the deepest despair, we find that there is a reason for hope. In spite of human cruelty and death, we run to the empty tomb to find new life. In those times when the rest of the world can see only God forsakenness, we trust that it is then that God is actually most at work. Our life together as the Church is one that continually stands in the shadow of the cross but also in the light of the resurrection. We are the community which God has called to live a holy, cruciform life together as we eagerly anticipate the new life of Easter morning
On a more personal note...
Here are a few other things you might find interesting about me.
I have been the pastor at Clinton Church of the Nazarene since July 2007. This is my first time leading a church in a pastoral ministry, having just graduated from seminary in May 2007, so I am still learning what it means to be a pastor. I am thankful that God has lead me to this incredible church family and I am excited to see the ways in which God will move in this community.
I love being a pastor! Of course, any job comes with its challanges and there are days it is less enjoyable than others but I believe that God has created me to fill this role in his Church. I am amazed that I get to proclaim the hope of the gospel and guide people as they grow and mature in that hope as my career.
Since becoming the pastor here, my wife and I have welcomed two new members into our family. Hannah Sophia Young was born Jan 30, 2008 and Malachi Christopher Young was born September 30, 2009. The time I'm not spending to learn what it means to be a pastor I am truly enjoying learning what it means to be a father.
Almost anyone here at our church can tell you that I love sports. The San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Braves, and Washington Redskins are my favorite teams. I am slowly becoming accustomed to living in Big Ten country. You can often find me playing basketball at the YMCA here in Clinton or going for a run at Weldon Springs.
I like a variety of music including rock, hip hop, classical, jazz, and church music. However, my favorite band, by far, is the Christian rock band Switchfoot. I never tire of the sound of their music and I find their lyrics to be intelligent and challenging. You can learn more about them by following the link below. Some of my other favorites are U2, KJ-52, and Third Day.
I enjoy reading. As a pastor, I read a lot of theology, biblical studies, and other books about the Christian life. However, I also enjoy reading history, science, politics, and classic works of literature.
I like pizza, cheeseburgers, and Chipotle way too much. (If you haven't heard of Chipotle restaraunts before, there is a new one in Bloomington on Veteran's Parkway. Not only are their burritos amazing, but they also strive to run their business in a socially and environmentally conscious way.)