In life, there are those people who move from place to place, who travel and see the world, who can’t fit the number of states or countries they’ve lived in on one hand. I’m not that type of person! I’m the person who has lived in one place basically my whole life. Same town, same house, even the same state when I went away to college!
So when Kevin and I announced that we would be moving to Phoenix, Arizona, there were a lot of questions – why are you going there, what’s in Phoenix? And, I don’t mean to say that people asked these questions in a skeptical or unsupportive way. Family and friends were just wondering what was taking us so far away from what we have known and from those who love us.
That’s why I wanted to write this post. I wanted to answer that question of “why”, for all of you who maybe don’t really know why we’re in Phoenix!
However, for me this answer is two-fold.
First, why are we in Phoenix? As in, what are you doing in Phoenix? For those of you who don’t know, we are here because my husband Kevin was accepted in a Residency Program at a Phoenix church. Residency programs are common in health professional fields, as a final stage in a graduate medical program where physicians can finally receive the hands-on training that isn’t possible in a classroom.
Similar to this, Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) decided they wanted to create a residency for Bible college graduates. In Bible college, students receive training on how to interpret the Bible, how to preach, how to lead a church, but there is still so much that can only be learned by doing. Like, how to perform a wedding or funeral, how to make a hospital visit, how to have great first impressions on all church guests, etc. There are some things about ministry that you just don’t know until you do it.
Unfortunately, this can make Bible college graduates under-prepared for the realities of ministry life. They may struggle with unmet expectations, feelings of inadequacy, and the day-to-day pressures of being a pastor, eventually leading to burnout. This is why 85% of all trained pastors leave ministry within the first five years of ministry. Ouch!! That’s not a promising statistic!
This is why CCV created this intensive, hands-on Residency Program, called their Leadership Institute. They have a heart to train the next generation of Christian leaders, and to set them on a healthy start into ministry. Through these first-hand experiences, the Leadership Institude aims to reverse the troubling statistic by sending out church leaders who are prepared for the realities of ministry.
Awesome stuff, huh?! So anyway, that is what we are doing here. Last year Kevin applied for the Leadership Institute, along with about 200 other applicants. He and 35 others were chosen to participate. I’m so proud of him for choosing to come here and do something that is so way out of his comfort zone, and I’m just here along for the ride! But we are both learning a lot from CCV that will forever affect our lives and ministry. I know for a fact that our time here at CCV has honed in on our purpose and vision for our future. But, that’s for another post. 😉
The Residency Program ends in May. Right now the church is helping the Residents to find job placements. Some may be hired at CCV, but most will not. Kevin and I are praying for God to guide us as Kevin looks for jobs – that He will guide our steps and place us exactly where we need to be. We are totally leaving that up to Him!
So, that answers the first part, what we’re actually doing here in Phoenix. However, there is still another question that I think tugs at some people, “Why are you in Phoenix? As in, why are you willing to leave everything you’ve known? Aren’t there plenty of ministry jobs in Missouri?”
Yes, of course there are opportunites everywhere! But the reason why we are here boils down to a simple truth: God called us to come here, so we listened.
There is one promise from God that has stuck with me since my sophomore year of college. It’s from Luke 18:29-30:
“‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus said to them, ‘no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.'”
I’ve never been able to forget those words and the lesson that comes with them: if we follow where God calls us, even if it means leaving loved ones, He will not fail to provide us with as much as we have left behind.
If we leave our family, God will provide us with family wherever we go: He will provide us with friends like brothers and sisters, mentors like parents, younger people who we can mentor and invest in like our own children. Wherever we go, God will take care of us.
That doesn’t make it any harder to leave behind the people and places that feel like “home,” but I have always trusted in this promise that no matter where God takes us, He will make it a home for us just as much.
And the beauty of it is, God didn’t let us down. He provided exactly who we needed – friends, mentors, helpers, our own little “Phoenix family.” And I know that no matter where He takes us next, He will keep His promise again.
So that’s my long answer to the question, “Why Phoenix?”. I appreciate your prayers for Kevin and I as we’ve made this journey and as we continue to take new steps. And I hope that no matter where God is calling you – whether it be to move across the country or the world, or to stay right where you are – you will have the faith to trust in His guidance and His faithfulness to provide you with all that you need.