A New Adventure

Four years ago, I was hired as the White Bear Lake Pastor of Student Ministries. Soon after, I became the Middle School Teaching Pastor and eventually the Director of Student Ministries at Eagle Brook Church. Each shift was a direct result of the work God was doing to grow and expand and reach students for Christ beyond our wildest imaginations. These four years have been some of the most blessed and sweetest seasons of ministry I’ve ever experienced. The team of pastors. The volunteer leaders and pastors. The students. The retreats, Takeover, Christmas Parties, Spring A Palooza and more. In these four years, I’ve been able to witness over 1100 students make a first time decision to follow Jesus and stand by as God nearly tripled our average attendance. It’s been unbelievable.

While these last 4 years have been humbling and incredible, I am even more thrilled about what is next in this new season. I am going to be the Campus Pastor at our Lino Lakes campus while occasionally preaching on the weekend. That means I will no longer be serving as the Director of Student Ministries, but I will still be speaking a few times in Student Ministries this year and involved in a new way as the campus pastor! (By the way, just so we’re clear and for those who know EBC, Jason Strand is moving into a full-time teaching pastor position at EBC. Jason and I will continue to work closely together in many ways).

As I make this job change, here are three things I know:

1. From Isaiah 43:19 – “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” This is new for me. It’s new for this campus. It’s new for our church. But God is at the forefront leading the way, creating the pathways, finding the rivers. Discovery and newness can be nerve-wracking, but it can also be the adventure of a lifetime. I feel this adventure brewing in my gut and my soul – new dreams, new visions, new pathways are stirring inside of me, and I’m excited to be a part of it as it all unfolds.

2. I am confident in the future of student ministries at Eagle Brook Church. Student Ministries has never been about one person except for the One who gives us life – Jesus. I am confident Jesus will continue the good work he has begun in each and every student, parent, and volunteer who has a hand in making student ministries at EBC one of the best in the country. And frankly, I’m still excited I get to be a part of it, just in a new way.

3. Our mission at EBC is to reach people for Christ. And I’m all in. I don’t have all the answers, I’m a work in progress, and I’m certain there are things I have no idea how to address, but I’m all in to this mission. As the campus pastor of Lino Lakes and with the opportunities I get to teach, I will do whatever it takes to advance the greatest mission in this life. The church is the hope of the world, and when operating well, I believe that truth to the core of my being. And best of all, I get to work with some of the greatest pastors around. It’s always been a team effort, and we have some amazing teams at EBC working together to advance this mission.

As I make this transition, I would covet your prayers. Change is exciting, but never easy.

Thank you for everyone who has been such a great support and love to me and my family! We love you, we love this church, and we love Jesus.

I can’t wait to see the “something new” that God has in mind.

See ya around!

John Alexander

PS. I took a 6 month hiatus from writing, but I’m ready to dive back in. Make sure to check back occasionally for blog posts!

 

Transition

A lot is written and spoken of in regards to transition. It’s a scary word with a lot of baggage (and close cousin of the even scarier word, change).

I’m not moving from one job to another nor even moving from one department to another. I’m moving from being the Junior High pastor at one of our campus locations to becoming the Junior High Teaching Pastor/Program Developer of all Junior High ministry.

I would contend to say that most of our volunteers (and almost all of those who aren’t involved student ministry in any capacity) have little to no idea there is a difference between the two.

Even still, despite how slight the change is for our program, the leadership of Eagle Brook Church, along with myself, engaged intently on considering how this transition affected the church, the program, the volunteers, and myself.

Without question, this has been the healthiest process I’ve ever been a part of.

Here’s why:

1. Lots of conversations with varying people around the table. From day one, we communicated. Openly. Sometimes I initiated conversations to check in with my teams and boss and others to make sure we were all on the same page. Other times, various ministry heads would call a few people into discuss how things were going. The point is, there was a tremendous amount of conversation (open, honest, and clear) with various people around the table at different times.

Transition Key #1: Talk. With lots of people. More than you think you need to.

2. Submission to Godly Authority. I remember listening to the podcast of Shane Hipps’ first day at Rob Bell’s church, Mars Hill. During the service, the board of elders from Shane’s other church came and “gave Shane away.” Meaning, they were there with Shane. Had walked with Shane. Had prayed with Shane. Had sought God’s will together, and Shane was not going to go without their blessing and consideration in his move from one church to another. That moment forever marked how I would pursue transition. In this case, I sincerely sought the blessing of those in authority. Without it (and I let them know), I would not go through with it. I truly believe God anoints those in authority, and if used correctly, must be submitted to by those who fall under their authority.

Throughout this process, I felt so secure in the decision to be made by those in authority. They are men and women of a deep commitment to God, excellence, prayer, and this church. I trusted them and admired them throughout the process, and learned a lot about what it means to be a leader.

Transition Key #2: Submit to the Godly men and women in authority in your life.

3. Don’t discount God. It should go without saying that ultimately change and transition is up to God, but let’s get real, many times have I pursued my OWN agenda rather than God’s. This felt the other way around. God seemed to have his hand all over it from the get go. I learned to trust God to ultimately lead the direction.

Transition Key #3: Don’t discount the powerful hand and move of God.

Ultimately, when faced with a choice of transition or change, talk a lot, talk with a lot of people, submit to the Godly authority in your life, and don’t discount the direction of God.