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Pray for Us As Everything Changes

Ella and Sam at the Beach

Ella and Sam at Laguna Beach

Angie and I have been walking through the process of following God’s call to a new ministry. We had a very emotional morning today at Bethel as we shared the news that I am resigning as Pastor and my last Sunday will be July 4th. I am accepting a position on the pastoral staff of Saddleback Church in Orange County, California and we’ll be moving there in early July.

This move has nothing at all to do with any circumstances in our present ministry. We love the Bethel family deeply and the process of deciding to move to another ministry field has been extremely difficult because of this. Our family has spent nearly five years here developing relationships and friendships that we hope will last a lifetime. Our daughter trusted Christ and was baptized at Bethel. We’ve grown spiritually here, and we’re going to miss our church and our northwest Arkansas community very dearly.

We’re also very excited about what the future holds. I’ll be one of about 35 Pastors on staff at Saddleback and my speicific role relates to connecting with Pastors all over the place for the purpose of encouraging and equipping them in their ministries. I’ll also serve as Editor of Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox and other publications.

I look forward to being a part of such a great team and learning from the peers God places around me there. My prayer since entering ministry has been, “God use me up.” I pray He does that in southern California. More than anything, I want to be a person of influence for the kingdom. I have a passion for utilizing new media outlets to help Pastors become better communicators of the gospel, and better connectors with their congregations and their culture.

Our family is currently searching for housing and we’re praying and working through all of the details that come along with such a significant re-location. We ask your prayers during this time. For a variety of reasons, it’s emotionally intense, and we want to keep our eyes squarely focused on the God who is calling us.

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  1. God bless, Brandon. What a fantastic door that has opened for you. Please be in prayer for us as we anxiously await God placing us back into full time pastoral work. My wife lost her job of 13 years in January, and has been unable to find anything since. Concidence? Hardly. We saw this happen right before we went to our first church pastorate in 1997. Surely it gets frustrating for us at times, but then again, it is exciting as we sit, talk and wonder just what it is God is up to this time!

    We'll pray for you and your family as you make this transition, as well as your current church family as they transition to a new pastor. Take care and keep in touch, my friend.
    .-= Tom Fellows´s last blog ..Whitney’s Piano Recital =-.

    • Tom, God is going to bless you guys! You’re a great defender of His truth – I don’t question God will do great things with you. And thanks for the prayers!

  2. Matthew says:

    Good Luck, Brandon!

  3. Not an easy time. Your family will be in my prayers ;)

  4. I and my family will definitely be praying for this most emotional time. I’ve had to move because of ministry when I was younger and it wasn’t easy. Years later I see that it was definitely the Lord’s calling and I know this is also the case in your situation.

    God Bless and good luck in this new calling.

  5. Congrats – had no idea! Cool. JG
    .-= JG´s last blog ..POLL: Summer Movie Buzz =-.

  6. God’s blessings on you! Should be an interesting and new experience, if you ever decide to come through S.E. Washington State on vacation or something let me know. I can show you around my neck of the high shrub steppe.
    .-= Daniel Berman´s last blog ..Tutorial:RSS Reader/Twitter Dashboard =-.

  7. I definitely wish you and your family the best, Brandon. There's no better place to be than in the center of God's will… I'm glad you're being obedient to Him.

  8. God's blessing to you and your family in this new leg of the journey, Brandon. I pray that God will make your transition smooth and will give grace and strength in the process for you and your entire family. As a pastor who recently made a significant move, I understand the challenges. I know, as you do, that when God calls us to a new place of service, He provides all the resources necessary to make it happen. I'm looking forward to seeing what God has in store for and through you in His kingdom.

  9. praying…! and congrats…!

  10. That's very exciting news Brandon! May God bless you richly in your new ministry position!
    .-= Kevin M.´s last blog ..He loves me, He loves me not =-.

  11. I’m so excited for you I could scream!!! This is such wonderful news. I will definitely be praying for you – but I already consider it done. The path has already been cleared for you, God has gone before you – this I know for sure.

    .-= Kiesha @ We Blog Better´s last blog ..Developing your Friendship with God =-.

  12. WOW!!! That is just INCREDIBLE! Can’t wait to tell my momma that one of the girls diaper’s she changed in the church nursery will be “on staff” (you know, our wives are always unofficially paid staff even if they do so pro bono!) @ Saddleback! That is still just too much to take in.

    I know you and I have only been connecting in a more direct way in the last few months…but allow me to belabor you with yet another example of how “small” the world continues to become.

    It was a Rick Warren “Ministry Toolbox” weekly email that literally changed my life forever. I had already read “Purpose Driven Church” (of course)…which, along with “Re-Discovering Church” began the Spirit’s slow (I was excited and yet skeptical of the vision of what the church was supposed to be and could become again) transformational renaissance of my Kingdom world-view.

    After completely re-submitting my life to enter the new calling of church planting in August of ’05…a received my weekly “Toolbox” and in it there was a personal promo for the Planting Churches on Purpose Conference. Remember, this was BEFORE church-planting became the rage. Back then, only 5 years ago, you probably could have googled church-planting and been lucky to come up with maybe 2 conferences (the Exponential Conference/originally National Church Planters Conference had yet to even hold its first conference…I think the Acts 29 Network was probably only a year or two old?). Anyway—in addition to some compelling church planting testimonies a particular four letter word caught my attention, “free”.

    Couldn’t believe it…a free conference…really? Sometimes when something is free there is a reason…but with Warren’s personal promo that didn’t seem likely. And so I decided to call Kevin Clayton up and ask him how attending this conference might affect my potential assessment and candidacy as a BMA church planter. He had not heard of it but was supportive…so long as we took care of our expenses he agreed it might be a good idea to attend. And so I planned to make my first trip to Florida to attend this conference in January ’06. It was there in that conference that God replaced all my fears and anxiety over this new calling with giddy…yes-giddy…excitement of what could be. I remember distinctly saying during a conference break to Christy, Kevin…even my mom that this conference literally “turned my Kingdom view of church planting upside down and in so doing, right side up.” A huge exhale of relief accompanied by a new excitement began to build in my heart and for the very first time I had a general idea of how the Lord was going to launch then unnamed, Jacob’s Well.

    It was at the conference, launched and hosted by Rick Warren’s church planting point-man-Ron Sylvia (The Church @ The Springs of Ocala, FL), that I heard and met one of your predecessors, Nelson Searcy (who went on to launch his own coaching network and write two books including “Launch” which kinda co-opted a lot of what was in this conference’s notebook!). Anyway…loved Nelson and Ron’s leading of the various sessions (along with Hal Mayer). The content truly challenged and changed my life forever.

    Jacob’s Well was approved in Mobile in April that year and I was excited that this relatively new paradigm was welcomed by Kevin who simply said…Rob…its no secret, the North American Missions Department needs a ‘win’ in a big way…go for it!” Turns out that the “launch large” paradigm was one of the approaches already incorporated into the DCPI handbook (which, if you have read one of Danny’s, is an every growing handbook that like a black hole co-ops any and all church planting paradigms that have proven successful and then dutifully presents them…pros and cons…as potential templates that the Spirit might lead you to consider as you prepare to begin the planting process).

    Beginning in June of that year 7 months of training and deputation began…In January of ’07 we officially began field work and assimilating our launch team. Father’s Day weekend ’07 Jacob’s Well was publicly unveiled at what continues to be our largest outreach event to this day…Oswego’s PrairieFest. Our first “preview/kick-the-tires/de-bugging” service was on 9/16 with three more monthly services at different locations through the end of ’07. Then, January 13, 2008 Jacob’s Well was launched. Our average for the Preview’s were in the 100’s (116 was the highest)…our Launch was also right around the 100 mark. As expected, the curious fade away and we settled into an average in the 80’s. Since then, as you know, we have experienced a pretty steady increase (with seasonal ebbs and flows acknowledged). We finished the last two Sunday’s of May with unexpected all-time record attendances that were double our average of Jan ’08. Many on our team have a deep “knowing”—not cheer-leading spin—but a “knowing” that once we get our administrative piece fixed and flowing properly we will be at 200 by years end. If we also get into our new location (still waiting on a closing-urgh!-before we can sign that lease) there really is no telling what 2011 will look like.

    I know Jacob’s Well was named and planned in God’s heart before the foundations of the World. I know He placed a seed in my heart in August ’05 when I surrendered at the base of a wind-generator. That seed’s DNA was revealed in January ’06 at the Planting Churches on Purpose Conference. But the most important pragmatic thing that connected God’s vision and my calling to what that conference and what we are experiencing today was… an email.

    So my brother…you are not just taking a position that is going to provide you with extraordinary soul stretching/Kingdom expanding opportunities…you are taking a position that at a very critical juncture in my church planting journey sent an email that was the catalyst for the most exciting time our lives.

    And BTW…I too am amazed at how our wives do what they do…I enjoy it each time you honor Angie and think of my own the same way. Unimportant though potentially curious bit of info—I too have had the misfortune of getting sick the week my wife and new baby’s have come home. Our poor wives! Can’t thank God enough for them!!!

    OK—that is probably WAY TOO MUCH info—but as I’m sure Danny and Carol have told you…brevity has never been one of my strengths. Believe it or not—this was one of my better attempts at being concise!-LOL After all—I did cover nearly 5 years :0)

    Hope your heart can capture why I felt the need to share this with all this with you (or else it will appear as opportunistic pandering/name-dropping or narcissism)…the odds that someone I have known about and just recently gotten to know a bit better would come into a position that had such an impact on our journey is kinda cool. If you ever think of it in a moment w/ Rick…tell him “Thank You” from me :0)

    Because There is a Better Way


  1. […] Up until now, eGrace Creative has existed in Bentonville, northwest Arkansas, the home of Walmart. But in early July 2010, I’ll be relocating to Orange County, California to assume a staff position at Saddleback Church using social media tools to connect with Pastors and church leaders. I’ve written more about this over at my personal blog. […]

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