24/7/365 GROW

12 Days of Christmas Perspective/ Day 3- Ministry

                        I’m in the middle of my 7th year of full-time student ministry.  I’ve been in 3 different places(Young Life intern & Wyldlife Director in Bellville, Texas; Wyldlife Director in Aurora, Colorado; Youth and Young Adult Director here in Knoxville, Tennessee) and have learned a great deal about how to pursue people for the Kingdom in each location.  I’m thankful now to have found a stable home in Knoxville with my wife Becca and our 2 dogs!  I’m working on finishing my 4th full year with FFUMC now and am thrilled to have been here since the summer of 2007.  With the average tenure for youth pastor’s in the United States now shrinking below 18 months I feel extremely blessed to have smashed that statistic.  The connections with families are now strong.  The friendships with parents, kids, and young adults are deep and real.  Becca and I lean on First Farragut as our support system when things are tough. We want to celebrate with the church when things are great. 

                   No church is perfect.  No church has it all figured out.  Unfortunately, when you serve on a church staff you see a lot more than most people in the church see.  Sometimes it can be difficult to get past those things.  You feel like you are the only church who doesn’t do “this right” or who isn’t doing things the way “they are.”  I remember going into the Thanksgiving Holiday feeling burned out…for a number of reasons.  I wasn’t counting my blessings at First Farragut.  I wasn’t going into the office pumped up and excited for what the day would hold for me.  I wasn’t thinking about the next great contact work event I could show up at (kids sporting events and concerts, plays and musicals, etc.), I was thinking about what time I would be going home.  I was taking for granted some of the people I work with and some of the people that I am working for….in particular my Lord and Savior.

                  In a flash on Saturday morning November 27th my perspectives on so many things changed.  God has blessed me with such a tremendous opportunity here at First Farragut.  I have began to see many fruits from our consistent work here.  Kids are growing in Christ, the Youth Group has blown up (and more importantly has become a family), Young Adults are connected with each other and plugging into the church body in various ways.  And most importantly I am continuing to build strong relationships with God’s people.  I’m especially thankful for a group of men at First Farragut who have become, “my guys,” as I like to call them.  We don’t meet on a regular basis, at least not all together, but these guys make life so awesome for me.  They pray for me, they check in on me, they golf with me and take me to breakfast and lunch, and they ask me questions about my life with Christ and my marriage and family.  I am learning so much from watching how they pursue their wives, their families, and their God! 

                  Ministry is a blessing and it has been a long time since I was this fired up about pursuing God’s people here at First Farragut.  When you are in ministry you go through seasons.  Some are good, and some are great.  Some are discouraging and some are tiring.  God is present though in all things and in all seasons.  I am especially thankful for a perspective change in the ministry God has placed me in.  I KNOW that God has brought Becca and I to this place and I will honor that by continuing to give my everything for His glory. 


2 responses

  1. Anne Newell

    I’m praising god tonite for you and Becca and His perfect plan for you…..one that included allowing you to come through a terrible accident……and not just survive, but burst forth with renewed passion and energy for His sake….and His work in the eternal Kingdom. Hope rebirthed!!! Sounds like your own very special Christmas story this year! We love you both and miss you.
    P.S. We just drove home from Ft Worth today. Had a wonderful 11 days with Grams, the sharpest 85 yr old around! Also, ” little” Patagonia went with us Sat to Grams’. She passed the good dog behavior test…and might even get invited back some day. Ha Ha!!!!

    December 6, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    • Teresa Murphy Wheeler

      Hello Mark,
      I did a search for Anne Newell and was led to your site. Anne was a friend of mine back in the 70’s at U.T. Austin. We have lost touch and I would love to try and communicate with her. Can you giver her my email address or tell her I am on Facebook under Teresa Murphy Wheeler. Thank you and….

      May God continue to Bless you, Becca and all that you do!


      January 4, 2011 at 12:59 am

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