This year is flying by and as it does I’m struck by the fact that I (we) am entering new territory. This summer will mark the beginning of our fifth year of marriage, my fifth year in Boston, my fourth year with Sojourn. This will be the longest I’ve lived in one place since I graduated from high school, the longest I’ve been in any ministry assignment, and equally long to any other job I’ve held.

When entering new territory I find it important to go back to some foundational truths. Like this, from one of my old professors:

Your ministry is who you are not what you do.”

In other words: character is the foundation of ministry, not talent, not job description…it’s not the role you play. Always a reminder that character comes first.

And then this…these ancient words, from one pastor to another pastor, resonate still thousands of years later:

“…I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encouragewith great patience and careful instruction3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. – II Timothy 4:1-5 (bold for the especially pertinent bits)

New territory can be scary, but also an opportunity. An opportunity to be reminded of the foundations. I’m excited for this next season, for finding out what it is like to be in the same place for a while. To put down deep roots.

But new territory or not the foundation is the same: character, faithfulness, sacrifice…may it be so!

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