Oswego, Here We Come!

You’ve probably never heard of Oswego, IL.  We hadn’t either, until about five months ago.  It’s a suburb about 50 miles southwest of Chicago.  Many of you have heard by now that Stephen and I will be moving to Oswego after we graduate in May.  I know a lot of you are confused about our future plans, so please allow me to explain what the Lord has been doing in our lives over the last few months.

Stephen and I are weird. We know it.  It’s okay to say it.  We are, what some would consider, a little radical in our views on most things.  We take the Scriptures very seriously and believe they are the inspired, revealed Word of God.  Over the last few years we have prayed and sought God’s direction on lots of issues and have ended up in all sorts of theological places we hadn’t really expected to end up in.  We felt like we may find a church that agreed on some of the major things, but it must be impossible to find a church that agreed on a bunch of other, seemingly random things.

But that was before we had heard of Sovereign Grace Ministries.  (for more information on that ministry in particular, visit sovereigngraceministries.org).  The more we heard about the ministry, the more impressed we were.  It just so happened we were looking for a church, and it just so happened that there was a Sovereign Grace Church within an hour of us. We decided to visit.  And we absolutely fell in love.

Doctrine is, of course, the most important factor in finding a church. But certain other things are also really important to us, things like emphasis on the gospel, accountability, humility among leadership, plurality of elders, high value on prayer and the local church.  These things and much more are all present in SGM.  We have been so impressed by their vision and their ministry.  We have been researching every nook and cranny of their ministry over the last few months.  We have prayed and sought God’s direction.  And we know this is where He is leading us.

Of all the things we love about SGM, we especially love that Sovereign Grace raises up leaders from among its own members.  Stephen and I have been troubled by our American Academic mindset that, if a person graduated from a certain school with a certain degree, they are qualified to be a pastor!  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Unsuspecting churches know nothing of that person’s character, and just because he has passed a bunch of classes does not mean that he is spiritually mature enough to be leading a congregation of people.

Stephen and I both feel that we are still young and have much to learn before we are leading a church full of people. We need more experience ministering to people, learning to be humble, learning what we believe—we need the wisdom that is only acquired with age (there’s a reason “pastors” are called “elders” and not “youngsters” ;-)!  So we are very excited about the opportunity to move to Oswego, become members of Sovereign Grace Church, get plugged into a small group, and get normal jobs.  Like, at UPS or in the school system or something (Yes, I actually have a degree and I can use it! I just realized this the other day…but of course, that’s only in the event that no Little Willcox has joined the family yet).

Some of you might be asking, if you don’t think you’re ready, why don’t you go get your Master’s? Because we believe that the best training a person can get to prepare them for the ministry comes from within the ministry itself.  We’ve spent a lot of time researching Sovereign Grace Ministries and we know that we agree with their doctrine, vision, and mission.  We trust them to train us up, under their watchful care, to be fully equipped and qualified to lead within their ministry.

Yes, Stephen still wants to be a pastor. We are praying that we will see this desire realized sooner rather than later.  But just because we have a heart for the ministry does not mean we are qualified for it.  So we pray with eager hearts that God will teach us much over the next few years as we live and work among the people we have come to know and love as our church family.

(For more extensive reading on the topic, Dave Harvey has written an excellent booklet on preparing for ministry which can be downloaded by visiting here.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Ching. Oswego is way closer than MD.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Mom on October 2, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    I’m excited to see what God’s got for you in Oswego. And it’s even an hour closer to Cedar Rapids! (Even more when traffic’s horrible–we’ll get to skip that!)

    Reply

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