Yes. It is official. I am moving to Rochester, New York to join Calvary Church to be their worship/youth/tech director! I am so excited! As I shared with my current church community on Sunday, the road of God transforming my heart from being bitter at the church and its treatment of my family and others to being completely, 100% convinced that this is exactly what God has for me, is incredible! Throughout this entire process, God’s hand has been at work. When I began praying back in late February about whether or not vocational ministry was for me or not, the church began praying about God opening up doors and people’s hearts for a new staff position. As I began to talk and share with the pastor my passions, gifts, and dreams, they were very similar to the needs of the church. What is even more interesting is that I had been to the church on a number of occasions when visiting my girlfriend as a visitor and loved the church (especially the teachings), but never had a thought of even joining the church, let alone working there! Anyways, there are so many instances along the way of which I feel like God orchestrated this connection to be made, but I am super excited to see the good things that can happen as Calvary church and I partner and join to make a lasting difference in the community of Rochester/Chili.
Here is an excerpt I wrote in journal-format, chronicling my final candidating experience there:
I recently returned from the final step in the interviewing process (Sept 18-20th) and had an incredibly positive experience. The weekend was very intense. It started with working 10 straight days at my other job before leaving, including getting up at 6am, working until 4:30pm, arriving in New York at 10:30pm, followed by a deep conversation with a close friend until 12:30am. That was Thursday. On Friday I got some rest and prepared for the weekend, as well as had a meeting with the leaders (council) at someone’s house for a fun and relaxing evening. There were no tough questions or even questions about my past experience, just a fun time of telling old, funny church experiences. On Saturday, I met with the pastor from 9am-1:15pm and had another great time of connecting, as well as building trust and confidence in one another. On Saturday night, I lead worship practice and it went really well. I circled everyone up and got to hear what they did and got a brief picture of who they were. There were some great people! I then shared briefly about myself and lead a quick devotional on how we hear God’s voice. We then had the actual practice and I was very relieved at everyone’s abilities on their instruments. I gave directions as to dynamics and composition of the songs and worked a lot with the vocals as to placement of the words. We also had a brief and minor conflict between me and an instrumentalist as to how to compose the song, but we worked it out and the sound ended up being much better. I told them that I wanted to be the leader there, but at the same time, I was always open to suggestions and as long as time permitted, we could try out other ideas (I focused on using the words that this was very “communal driven”). The hearts of the people on the worship team were so humble and encouraging, it was awesome! So, we wrapped that up and then I was back at the church around 8am the next morning for a sound check at 8:30am. I then lead for both the first and second services (9am and 10:45am respectively) where people were very responsive and I received a lot of positive feedback. My most important goal was to try and create an environment where people could easily connect with God, and I think the team accomplished that. Finally, after the service, I ate lunch with the youth and we headed down to a place called Minihans, which is essentially has go-carts, putt-putt, kid ball zone area, and an arcade. First impressions can be awkward, and there were a few instances of that, but there was an overwhelming sense of really connecting with the youth there. Normally they have about 15 kids for a Sunday morning or Wednesday gathering, but they had 32 for this! It was the most they had ever had. Even though they had signed up prior to knowing about me coming, I will take ALL the credit for the attendance. 🙂
I know many of you were interested in that trip, so those are the details. I have had a long and interesting faith journey that has brought me to this point, but below are the 50 reasons why I am excited to work at Calvary Assembly. (Note: this was written before I got the job, so the tense of the sentences may be incorrect in some cases…)
Can you think of 50 reasons why you would want any job??
1. I enjoy the community of people at the church. I have been a visitor at this church on multiple occasions, as it is the church of my girlfriend and her family, and have felt very welcomed there. This type of environment actually is a rare feat to accomplish as an ethos, but they have done it extremely well.
2. The mission of the church resonates loudly for me and is congruent with the mission of Jesus of Nazareth.
3. I believe in the pastor. He is a fantastic speaker and a God-honoring man. I get along with him great and we have a very similar approach as to how the Gospel plays out in our daily lives, as well as how to lead people towards the Way.
4. I have heard countless stories of people helping others and showing God’s love to their community in practical ways.
5. I want to teach people about what it means to holistically worship our God and attempt to lead people into conversation with Him (i.e. into His presence).
6. I want to help teach their youth about Christ. I have been intimidated by this responsibility in the past, but I am also extremely excited about the opportunity to try and help produce kids who love Jesus and can share their faith without being ridiculous human beings.
7. I want to develop deep and meaningful relationships over time with the people already in the community, as well as many more outside of the church in the Rochester area.
8. I desire to learn and study more about God’s revelation to us and share that knowledge and experience with others.
9. I would like to help be a part of improving the sound of the church in order to make it easier for people to worship our Creator.
10. I want to plan out worship services on a weekly basis that will help people connect with my Savior.
11. I desire to have difficult faith conversations and push people’s assumptions on God’s Word, not to try and argue, but to help deconstruct belief’s that aren’t true and solidify the one’s that are.
12. I vow to be as good of a steward as I possibly can of the money the church members give towards the mission of Jesus the Christ. This is a responsibility I would take extremely seriously. How churches spend the offerings and tithes of it’s congregation is something that is often overlooked, but something I am extremely passionate about.
13. I want to share music alternatives with the people of the community (specifically their youth) that are produced well, have thoughtful lyrics, and are still enjoyable for them to listen to. There is so much music I want to get in their hands! I have actually already begun to burn copies of all of my favorite faith-driven CD’s and plan to have a “check-out” system where anyone in the church can borrow a CD to check out new artists (as long as this is permissible by the church leaders). Did I mention I have 31.5 DAYS of music on my computer and I delete music all the time? Yes, it is ridiculous. More details on this thought will come later, but I am excited for people to connect with God through some good tunes.
14. I want to be closer to Sarah, my amazing girlfriend.
15. I desire to be out on my own. I was close to moving out back in May, but I did not want to sign a lease in Lancaster city if I was moving. Good thing I didn’t!
16. I want to end this stage of my life where I have lived in ambiguity for the past 6 months. This application process started back in May (which meant my resume was put together in April and I began prayerfully considering pursuing a church job in February). This is in no way supposed to be a criticism of how long the application process has taken, as I know this is how it happens, but has been difficult for me to continue to wait. It has also been helpful in learning that whole virtue of patience, but who wants to become more virtuous? Not me. 🙂
17. I would like to move closer to my friends John and Sarah Cleghorn. They live in the Rochester area as well and are two of my good friends dating back to middle school. Sarah Cleghorn is the best friend of my Sarah (Iacucci) and John is currently serving as a youth pastor and has been one of my best friends for a long time. They are two amazing people and it would be great to have them as support. I have also enjoyed getting to know all of Sarah’s friends in New York and look forward to meeting new ones.
18. I want to see if I am a good pastor. Do I have what it takes to shepherd people? I think I do, and I’ve been told I do, but do I really?
19. I want to improve the church’s website. I will not criticize it as I know they have a lay person who helps them with all of their updates, but there are a lot of things I think that could be changed to help give more information and be more visually appealing. The site is here if you are interested. Again, I am not trying to be critical, but I simply would like to offer the little I know about web presence to the community.
20. I would like to help with making graphics for the youth, for sermon series, or other flyers from the church. I am definitely an amateur when it comes to these things, but I think that it is something important that I could offer some assistance in.
21. I want to teach people how to create a more meaningful worship time.
22. I want to help teach musicality and how it can affect our emotions and how that can lead us to closer relationship with God. I will not, however, ever try to emotionally manipulate people or force them to worship God in a certain way.
23. I want to teach others how to read the Bible on their own and develop a love for it.
24. I desire to create organizational systems that will make it easier for the people I am in ministry with to effectively carry out the plans they have created (or simply to make schedules for easier planning). I have loved doing this as the Executive Team Leader at Inner Metro Green.
25. I want to plan fun and entertaining events where people can come and get to know each other. If you know me, you know I am made for social events and having fun.
26. I really want to infect a love for the poor, the forgotten, and the downtrodden. I see this as a primary mission of Jesus and want to make it a priority for me and my actions.
27. I want to raise awareness of the global issues we are facing and creative solutions for these problems. I have learned a lot about that from the people at Hope International, IJM, my local community, and from reading pieces of many books, including Rich Stearns’ new book, “A Hole in Our Gospel”.
28. I want to be involved in “local missions”, meaning helping those in need locally and sharing the love that Jesus offers with them.
29. I desire to take the hours I spend reading about Christ and be given the platform to share it with others, pointing them towards having a deeper relationship with the God of the world.
30. I want to utilize the social networking features like Facebook and Twitter in order to connect even more people to the mission of the church. I do not know what they currently have in place, but I did create a twitter account for the church. Ha! I didn’t even have the job yet and took care of this! I am a bit ridiculous, I know, but I believe it is a very important tool for organizations to use, so I reserved a URL. I should probably change that last sentence from, “I’m a bit ridiculous…” to “I am a complete nut-job….”.
31. I want to sing meaningful songs with rich lyrics that show the character of who God is and point us towards His Kingdom.
32. I want to go out for meals with people and hear their faith stories and share my own. There are few things more enjoyable to me than eating some really good spaghetti and sharing the things God has done in your life.
33. I desire to get better at the acoustic guitar and learn how to play the electric.
34. I want to serve God all day. I believe I do that in my current position at Starbucks and as an artist manager, but I think I can be used in much bigger ways at this church.
35. I desire to utilize videos on youtube and other media sites to cause people to think or move towards a certain action. Currently, the church does not use videos in their service or with their youth, but they desire to move that way. I absolutely love this stuff!
36. Shoveling snow is a good and free upper body workout. This is the only positive I could possibly come up with for the snowy winters that face Rochester.
37. I feel my gifts align with the needs of the church.
38. I would have my own apartment. A lot of decisions for me have rested on my move.
39. I could plan ridiculous game nights as part of my employment. That’s solid.
40. Many and most of the activities I do regularly without getting paid, such as reading, writing, and conversing about faith, would be part of my routine and schedule. This is simply a benefit of the job, just like being a cop’s son or daughter can get you out of speeding tickets.
41. No more coffee making and people getting stressed over nothing. Well, at least the first part of that sentence will be true.
42. I love building relationships and that is part of the job description. Another huge benefit.
43. In this position, I will be able to apply the knowledge I’ve gained from watching my father do a very similar job his entire life. I could think of no better mentor than him, either. My dad has been a worship leader for 28 years and he has been a great teacher and I know will continue to be a great mentor. My mom is also crucial in helping make difficult decisions. She is the wise won of the family, no doubt.
44. I would be paid based on a salary rather than an hourly rate or lump sum of money at the end of a project. A consistent pay check would be awesome right about now.
45. I am excited to teach the youth about Imago Dei and what it means to be created in the image of God. I’m excited to develop a faith that is unafraid to ask questions and have doubts, but is solidified and grounded by the time they go off to college. I’m excited to mentor kids and connect them with other mentors, as well as have them be the same thing to other kids younger than themselves. I’m excited to help them explore their gifts and how it relates to themselves, their faith, and the body of Christ. I’m excited to let them know that they are a crucial part of the church, not that they will be influential when they are older and can be on some committee. I’m excited to develop disciples that are excited about the Kingdom of God and can advocate for the least of these in their city, state, nation, and the world. How is that for a short list of excitement for youth? 🙂
46. I’m anxious to see if people will treat me differently with a different title (such as “Youth Pastor” or “Worship Leader”). I have avoided those labels for as long as I could as it seems to comes with a lot of stereotypes and baggage for many Christians, but I also feel like it is what I am called to do.
47. I’m excited to be closer to Sarah so that she can cook for me more often. Ha! This is not even one of those sexist beliefs, she just loves cooking and is phenomenal at it. I am not an experienced cook and do not enjoy it, which works out perfectly for me if I simply provide some groceries. Sarah even loves grocery shopping, so the situation is actually more like I just have to go along and pay for half of the food. Beautiful deal, amazing girl.
48. I want to go golfing with the people of the church, as well as play other sports with a variety of people in the community. The part-time administrator said he had one question for me when I met him. “Do you golf?”. I responded with yes and he said that I must be a very spiritual person if I continue to play the sport. Ha! His whole office decor is golf-related materials, so I am excited to work on that part of my character. 🙂
49. I want a fairly consistent schedule with office hours and to know exactly when I am doing what. I am also excited to be able to plan out my schedule more than 4 days in advance. That was probably my biggest problem I had working at Starbucks.
50. NO MORE LATTES OR FRAPPACHINOS!!! Heck yes.
5 Reasons I Don’t Want (To Accept) This Job
1. Moving away from family.
2. Moving away from my IMG Community.
3. Moving away from my friends at Starbucks and throughout Lancaster County.
4. Moving away from the people at Manor Church.
5. Feeling settled in a new place and having to “start over”.
Basically it is all relationally, but all in all, you can see why I am super stoked about this new opportunity!
Thanks for reading. Leave me any thoughts you have below!