Greetings. I am very excited to step into the lead position at Faith Chapel this month. I am very thankful to God for His faithfulness and for his calling on my life. Being in an appointive system, it is impossible not to rely on God in this process, especially when you have your feelings as to where God wants you to be. I prayed countless times that God would select the next pastor at Faith Chapel and for it not to be a human decision but a decision led by the Holy Spirit. I feel like God certainly orchestrated the whole thing. As a final sign to me, my start date as the lead pastor is quite interesting. As the appointive system goes, almost all appointments start on July 1. This one starts on May 1. Exactly five years earlier on May 1, 2012, I started as the youth ministry coordinator at Faith Chapel. I took this as yet another sign from God that He wanted me here. Praise God for His signs and His seal. I am very thankful for the support my family and I have gotten from you. I ask for your continued prayers as I (and my family) settle into this new role.
This past August I was struggling. My mom was buried on August 1 and the whole process of her rapid downfall was weighing heavily on me. I was reliving moments from the previous two months trying to grasp what really happened and what I could’ve done differently. I was uncertain with my employment, my role in God’s church, and his calling upon my life. My family had taken a financial hardship on willingly, but it was not easy to see what was going to happen only one month in. Then one August morning, I was lying before my prayer journal with all of these emotions swirling inside of me and I wrote, “God, I feel like I am in the middle of a dense forest. I cannot see the forest through the trees.”
I pictured myself seeing the darkness of the forest. I pictured bending, kneeling, squeezing into places that would’ve surely drawn blood as I navigated myself through a forest thick with insects. And I cried out, “I don’t know how to move forward.”
After I cried out, I paused and took a deep breath. I heard the inaudible voice of God say to me, “This is how I see you.” He then showed me an aerial picture of that same forest. The sun was shining down on a beautiful green canopy of leaves. It was magnificent. Where I saw myself and where God saw me were the same. The only difference was the perspective. I couldn’t see past the hurts and uncertainties but God saw me clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, beautiful and perfect.
The concept of the human perspective versus God’s perspective is the inspiration for the May sermon series. We are going to look at the lives of four Bible characters who went through a forest of their own and how they responded to being stuck in a thicket of hurt or despair and how God showed them, from His perspective, how their lives looked to Him as a beautiful offering.
Transitions are happening within the youth ministry at Faith Chapel. As I take on the role of lead pastor, Jillian will be coordinating the youth group. Please be in prayer for her as she leads the youth group in this interim time period but also be praying for God to select the next youth ministry coordinator for our church.
It has been a pleasure of mine to lead the youth group these past five years. There is genuine faith in this group and it is a joy to be around their energy and to see their faith develop. I think the most visible thing we do in this congregation is the early service on Easter Sunday. I have loved to see their creativity come out in their pictures they painted and in the songs they’ve sung. I enjoyed hearing them share their faith stories as we sat around a table of snacks. We’ve had fun at King’s Island and spending all night together laser tagging, ice skating, and bowling. We have served at the meal ministry and Blessings in a Backpack multiple times. We have learned together in our quaint Youth Cave.
The experiences and relationships that have developed have been incredible. Thank you, God!
Another transition coming is the change in the makeup of the youth group. At the end of the school year, which is May 24th for Huntington County Schools, we invite the graduating fifth graders to join us. This will happen on the first Sunday in June with a cookout at the church. If you know of a fifth grader who will be in sixth grade in August when school starts again, please let Jilian or I know so that we can contact them and invite them to join our group. Also, this is a great time to invite anyone you know who is a sixth grader through 11th grade this school year. We would love to have their names and invite them to a kickoff event on Sunday, June 4th.
Your partner in ministry,
Pastor Jason Parsons