April 7, 2013

Hope in the Midst of Heartbreak

Today my church had our monthly team meeting where all the members of serving teams get together, worship, listen to Jeff teach, and pray for each other.  This meeting had been hyped up for a week and a lot of people had some anxiety about what the big news was.  As soon as I saw that Sandor was here, (Sandor is the lead pastor at our sending church, The Vine in Carbondale) I knew something was definitely up.  Nothing could have prepared me for what Jeff was going to announce.

He explained to us that our sister in St. Louis, City Lights Church had been stuck for a while and was in threat of closing.  City Lights was planted the same year as Clearview and their attendance has never been over 200 people.  We are now over 500.  I had known for a while that the church was struggling but had no idea it was to the point of possibly having to shut down.  The pastor at City Lights had already decided to step down and now the fate of the church was undecided.  At a recent leaders retreat, God revealed to our beloved pastor, that he should be the one to lead City Lights into a new season. 

Like a ton of bricks.

I can't begin to describe how devastated I was.  Jeff has been my pastor for 9 years.  He has been the amazing example of what a godly man is in my life.  He has counseled me in times of confusion and grief.  The idea that he would no longer be at Clearview I think stunned everyone in the room.  My DC pastor, Justin will be stepping in as leader.  Justin has been Jeff's right hand man for 10 years.  When I talked to Jeff after team meeting, Jeff asked me if I trusted Justin.  Of course I do.  I just can't imagine Clearview without Jeff Miller.  

Sure, the possibility of me moving away from Bloomington is still very real and I might have to say goodbye to Clearview anyway.  But this was all too real for me.  Mess.  I have been a blubbering mess for the past three hours.  Perhaps it messed me up so much because so much of my life is unstable and uncertain right now.  Everything is changing and I guess this was a little more than I could take.

God is behind this.  He is still on his throne.  He is sovereign.  God is going to empower both Jeff and Justin to lead these churches.  God is going to continue to save people at Clearview and City Lights.   I know that much is true.  Jesus is our hope and our rock.  That will never change.

God bless you, Jeff.  I hope you know how much you are loved and how much you will be missed.

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