As I'm sure you know from personal experience, making a move can be a time of excitement as you anticipate your new location, but it is also a time of grieving as you think of all those you will leave behind. One of the many people I will miss is Aaron. Almost every Sunday, before or after the 9:45 a.m. service, Aaron would come up to me with a huge smile and give me a hug. I would ask Aaron where his mom was sitting, and he would point her out to me, and she would give me a big smile and wave. When I announced that we had accepted a call to move to Indianapolis, I wasn't sure how Aaron would take the news, because, you see, Aaron has Down's Syndrome.
The next Sunday Aaron came up to me as he always did with his big smile and mighty hug, but I could tell he was a little upset. He said he was sad, but he told me he was going to be o.k. Later that day the church had a farewell reception for us, and guess who stood patiently in line to give me one more hug...Aaron. He had his usual smile, and he also had a card and gift, which his mom made sure I knew he picked out all by himself. Aaron and his family said they would come and visit E91 some weekend, and, when they do, don't be surprised if you see him come up front with a big smile as he gives me a loving hug.
The reason I tell you this is because as we journey to E91, I'm reminded of the value and importance of relationships. Ministry is about people. The Church is about connecting with Jesus Christ and ... people. You will discover this about me soon enough, so I'll go ahead and tell you now: I'm not coming in as your new senior pastor with some big agenda. I'm not coming in with a ruling scepter to say, "I am your leader; now follow me!" I join you in order to serve you and serve with you. I want to have the joy in my heart that Aaron has in his. And I want us to grow together in loving God and, yes, loving people.