As many of you know, I have been working as a preacher for the Lepanto church of Christ for over 3 1/2 years. I have to say, it has been a blessing in so many ways. I have family connections there that are nice, and the job came along at just the right time for me and my family. I've been there a little longer than I had planned originally but I don't mind for the most part. The members of our congregation are loving, friendly, and hospitable.
I can't deny that there are some difficult things about the job. When I started in June 2007, it was just Nicki and I. We are twice as big a family as we were then and packing up and making the two hour drive every weekend isn't quite as simple as before. There's also the missed opportunity to sit with my family and participate in a worship service together, and quite frankly, I would like to hear someone else preach every now and again.
I began thinking about it over the last few weeks and I don't recall ever taking a Sunday off from preaching except for illness or weather. That doesn't bother me much but I have almost forgotten those days when I could spend Sunday afternoon watching football or working around the house. That came to mind as I made the call to let folks know that I would be absent last week. To be fair, my taking off was spurred by a cracked filling combined with a sore throat that would greatly threaten my pulpit performance potential. (isn't alliteration awesome..oops did it again..lol)
So I got to go to church with Nicki and the kids at Westside, which is across the street. What a change, 100 miles vs. across the street. It was a wonderful and encouraging morning all around. After lunch, I went home for a half-conscious football watching session. I have really forgotten all of the things that changed when I started preaching. It actually conflicts my mind about the whole thing.
After Sunday's little preview, I can't wait to move on when the time comes. Civilian life looks great right now. But at the same time, it will be difficult adjusting to a new (although old) church home. So much has changed in the last few years. Most of all, I will be saying goodbye to a church, a family, and a town that has been a part of my entire life.
I know I will get used to it just like I got used to Lepanto. I will rediscover everything I love about the church I grew up in here in Searcy. Most of all, I will get to embrace the opportunity sit with my children and help them learn about God's love. It has been the highest honor of my life to serve the church in Lepanto, but it has been the greatest encouragement to have my family's support in that time.