Friends of Encounter,
As I’m getting ready to start my 22nd year at Illinois State, I have some important news to share with you. God is doing something big, both within me and within our campus ministry. In recent weeks, I’ve felt a deepening conviction that God has something new for me, a new season of ministry that will require me to step out of the role I’ve played here for a very long time. For those of you who are prone to worry, nothing is wrong! The ministry and staff are healthy. Our family is healthy. But as we’ve been praying and seeking the Lord, I’ve felt deeply that the Lord is opening doors for me to pursue a passion of helping and coaching those who are younger in ministry. To follow that leading, Paulette and I need to step out in faith and follow Him. While this may feel like a sudden shift to many of you, I’ve realized in recent weeks that God has been moving me this direction for some time now.
Encounter’s Board of Directors and Staff have been very supportive. The Board is giving me a season of sabbatical for the Fall, and during that time I’m asking the Lord to bring clarity as to how I can be best used within His Kingdom in this next endeavor. I will return in the Spring in a limited role to help the ministry transition well, and also help Encounter celebrate its 50th anniversary! There is a great deal to celebrate, and our Spring banquet this year will be a memorable way to close one chapter and begin another. The Lord is with us in so many ways! Please plan on being there (March 24, 2018) to celebrate with me.
Encounter’s staff is ready and up to the task. Ben has served as my partner for the last 13 years, and as I hand the reigns over to him on August 1st, I’m excited about how the ministry will continue to grow and flourish. I trust, because the Lord is good, that the next 50 years will be even more fruitful than the first.
Please pray! Pray for the ministry to continue to press in as students return in just a few weeks, and for my family as we pray and process through the new season that God is calling us toward. My only sadness in all of this is how deeply I love this place. Much of my life has been spent pouring the Gospel into ISU’s campus, and goodbyes are never easy.
As the way forward gets clearer, my gratitude continues to grow as I reflect on all God has accomplished, and anticipate all He has yet to do. So many people have been a part of my story over the past 22 years. And I hope you’ll look forward with me to this new chapter both for my family and the ministry. The best is yet to come.