Goodbye Old Friend: Leaving the Exchange
2016-02-23
My mom once told me early on in my church planting effort that I needed to enjoy every moment of the early days as they are some of the best memories I will ever have as a pastor. She should know as she served in ministry for over 40 years. 

I remember knowing that I was in a precious moment back in 2011 on a summer evening in Middletown. Our band was playing on the town square, the evening was perfect weather, and many people from the community had come out to another Music on Main Street event. After the show was over and the band and our friends and volunteers from church were cleaning up, I shared those words from my mother with one of my close friends.  I was moved as I watched the church work together for a big vision - to plant Stone's Throw and to be part of a church that was a vital part of our community.

Behind my friend, there was a cheap paper sign with our church logo hanging in a beat up store front - the Exchange Building. We had just begun renovations in the old building. The church was excited that we were going to have a small headquarters to call home. This was a big step for a fledgling church who dreamt of having our own building one day. I told my friend that evening, "These are the good 'ole days."

Our church scraped together some cash, we worked hard, and we were able to turn a complete dump into our first office building. Since then, a ton of ministry has happened in that building. Youth ministry. Counseling. Support groups. Bible studies. Mercy ministry. Elders meetings. Staff meetings. We even held church in that building one Sunday because the high school wasn't available!  God has done a good work through our church in that old building.

Today, I'm writing this blog on an iPad because I just packed up my computer. This is my last day here. We're not moving out because we're broke. We're not moving out because we can't afford the building. We're not moving out because we have no other choice. We're moving out because we fully expect to move into our new building in 2017. We're moving out because God has His church on the move. We want to take a step in faith. We decided to help the building cause by saving some rent money as we move closer to our ground breaking. We will spend the last year or so of our portability the way we began our first year or so - a bit of a wanderer but enjoying these good ole' days.

Stone's Throw, God has prepared us for every trial and every challenge. We have never had all the material things we have wanted each step of the way. But we have had all we needed and God has provided every bit of it. I am reminded as we move that God has done a great work in and through all of you. In every step we have had to rely on God's provision and that we are taking a small part in His grand plan for the Church. 

As a pastor and on behalf of the Elders, I want to thank all of you for these years in the Exchange. We give thanks for you and pray for you without ceasing because of your dedication to the Gospel and the clear love you have for Jesus and His church. 

As we move from our daily routine at the Exchange, all of you, in a way, move with us. We moved in here together and made an impact for Jesus. Now we're moving out together in order to continue having a big impact together. 

These are the good ole days family! God has so much in store for us. Let us remain faithful to the work in which he has called us to do.
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