I’ve received many e-mails regarding my hiatus. Many of you have encouraged me to return to the fold. I made my last post in January, but had already declined in writing new posts every couple of days. It became more like once a week, and that might be generous. I had swapped e-mails with some folks regarding a little more detail perhaps, but I’ll give you a quick rundown as to why I took a long break (if you even care…)
- I moved. I do believe I had mentioned that I was previously living in central Virginia, where I was on staff at a church. In early November, I packed my stuff and moved to East Tennessee.
- Arguably the biggest decision of my life was marrying my (now) spouse. Never knew how much busier my life would be with her in it. But worth it, it certainly is!
- The plans of moving to East Tennessee was tough in the initial conversations. But in the end, it became a no-brainer. I lived in East Tennessee previously for 11 years, met my wife in middle school, and moved away to North Carolina. I was also very content in where I was in Virginia, enjoying (mostly) my time at Zion Baptist Church. I had served at the church my father pastored for 2-3 years, but this was a place in where I was able to gain a little more ministry experience and further my time of theological/biblical studies. I began to develop whatever skills I did have and (hopefully, but probably not all the time) use them to glorify Christ and encourage others while “learning the ropes”, so to speak. It was there that I first sensed the calling on my life beyond general ministry, but “preaching/teaching/pastoring”. But I found out that it was time to go on to something else.
- In Virginia, I was alone. Lived by myself in the Pastorium. Sure, I was busy with church folk and such, but ultimately on most nights, it was just me. So there was plenty of time to blog. And if you had read anything previously, I do love to write about an array of topics. This isn’t the case as much anymore. I do still love to write (and type, I suppose), but the time just isn’t there like it was.
- God has been moving in East Tennessee. God burst through my initial balking in moving to Tennessee in a series of events that led to an increasing burning burden for the people of Kingsport, TN. And then, God opened some doors. It’s just a small group meeting currently, usually anywhere from 8-12 people, but we’ve been meeting since February and mostly focusing on simple discipleship, digging into Scripture, praying, and talking about things we deal with in our lives, and what Scripture has to say about it. One guy who’s been to every meeting since we first started had gone to church sporadically throughout his life, but never really read or understood the Bible. That first Wednesday evening, I began to preach through the book of Philippians (which we are 1 week away from ending) and he went home and read the whole book. I had also made some references to Acts to put the intro of Philippians in context and finished the Book of Acts as well. The next day he read the entire gospel of John. Needless to say, spiritual growth and discipleship is on the move. We’ve been able to build some relationships with lost folk, and are in the planning stages of being able to effectively have more impact in our community within the framework of evangelism and outreach. In June, we will be moving our meetings from Wednesday evenings to Sunday mornings, at a local Mexican joint that has given us permission to use their premises anytime we want for NOTHING! (Or they might just want our business). It’s certainly a lot of work and energy, highs and lows in Church planting.
- Because starting something from the ground up takes a lot of work (though we will have some financial support in the coming months, but still yet…small), finding a decent job was necessary in being the husband/leader I ought to be, especially to the comfort of the in-laws. I took the first thing that opened itself, which was substitute teaching in the public schools and I absolutely LOVED it. But unfortunately, it doesn’t pay in the summertime. So now I’m doing insurance. It’s boring, and maybe not ideal, but completely temporary as we take our time in getting our ministry established. But doing both of those things, and being a newlywed takes up more time than I originally thought it might. And as expected, a portion of my income is always going to this new ministry endeavor.
- In the fall/winter, I also began taking some extra preaching courses through a Carson Newman College program on site. Once again…takes time.
- What comes along with a new wife and wedding gifts is re-decorating, putting new entertainment centers together, cleaning, throwing things away, packing stuff up, new furniture, getting rid of old furniture, getting things we needed for our home, getting things we don’t need for our home. You know, the usual married stuff.
- With all the blogs out there, I always thought mine was different, but there are plenty of good ones out there. I almost felt that as small as an industry as southern gospel is, the blog market for it was being over-saturated to a degree. (I do not mean that in a slight to anyone!) What I mean is, regarding news and CD reviews, I was just dry. Even without all the previous stuff reasoning in why I took a hiatus, I had no new innovative thoughts and nothing truly fresh. I guess I could have mustered up a few things to talk about or opinions, but the feeling didn’t overwhelm me to do so enough to actually post anything. With Daniel Mount, Brian Crout, Burke, DBM & Kyle, Coomer, Nate, Swain, Eaton, YGG and Avery, I was content being away. Most of us usually comment and discuss with one another anyways.
- I promise I’m not cheap. But (with our neighbor’s permission) we had been “bumming” internet access from said neighbor. They were just trying to “help” the newlyweds out I suppose. Plus, I have an iPhone now, a computer at work…she has a computer at her work…we weren’t in much rush. But our neighbor moved. No more internet. And yet, it was nice not having it for awhile. I would have really been addicted to blogging had I resorted to writing 12 points on “why I’ve taken a hiatus” on my iPhone. That would take forever.
- Being an anonymous blogger does have its benefits. But when some folks make it their quest to find out who you are, it dampens the mood a little bit. I’ll gladly put my name to things, but there were other factors beyond the surface that led me to believe that my identity revealed was a bad thing at the time. Additionally, it was far more entertaining for me anyways. I don’t need the spotlight either.
- And lastly, I’ve been praying and pondering exactly how to make my transition back into this world. When I do post, I’ll probably try some different things, and hopefully the result will be something more impacting, fun, genuine, and thought provoking. And I’ll probably make this an extra side-hatch in our new Church life. I might even succumb to squeak out a little kind and healthy controversy now and then. Cheers.