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    Monday, August 3, 2009

    God's New Direction for the Nelson's

    By now, I'm hoping and assuming most of you know that I am resigning my position as Youth Pastor at Living Christ Church in Nyack.

    If you just found out via this blog...please do not be offended. We didn't mean to "leave you out", sometimes it is difficult for everyone to find out all at once. However, I felt it necessary for me to write a blog so all can know and understand.

    In February, Living Christ had to cut the church budget by $60,000. This cut included a staff pay cut as well as hourly cut for staff.

    This change in pay and hours came at a tough time for Hilary and I as Hilary was pregnant and we were going to need her to stop working or keep working part time. The church was gracious and allowed my hours to be cut to 20 hours so I could properly support my family with a second job. They also graciously allowed us to remain in the church apartment rent and utilities free!

    I did get a second job. I headed back to Chili's where I had worked prior to my going full-time at Living Christ. I jumped right in and God used that job to BOOST our financial situation dramatically.

    As we were seeking God's direction for our lives, it became apparent to both Hilary and I that Full-time ministry was what God had for me. It was a sad day when we realized that this couldn't happen at Living Christ in the foreseeable future due to the economical downturn our country has been seeing.

    This truly was a tear-filled time where we were utterly devastated at having to leave Nyack, Living Christ and the teens we have been ministering to and with.

    It was shortly after this time that God began to burden my heart (and Hilary's) for the city of Pittsburgh. We felt that it was time to "go back".

    God again was faithful to his calling of our hearts, where we were candidating for a position on the Student Ministries staff at my home church Allegheny Center Alliance Church in Pittsburgh, PA. A week from this past Thursday, a member of the ACAC staff called and extended a call to become the Middle School Youth Pastor at ACAC. Hilary and I prayed all that evening (since God had also placed another great church opportunity our way) to make sure Pittsburgh was where God had us.

    The next morning, we made the call and accepted the position! Again, this was both joyful and sorrowful as we knew the next step was telling Living Christ and experiencing the pain of that loss.

    On Tuesday (6 days ago) a letter was sent out to the members of Living Christ and yesterday in the church service, an announcement was made of our leaving Nyack and journeying to Pittsburgh. Our last Sunday will be August 9th at Living Christ Church and we will then be moving to Pittsburgh on August 12th.

    God is an amazing God and His Hand is most definitely in all of this! We already have a place to live ( a GREAT 3 bedroom apt blocks away from Hilary's parents and only a couple more blocks away from my parents)! We already have the moving plan in place and we have the blessing from Living Christ Church.

    Hilary and I will always see how God "grew us up" at Living Christ Church. They took a gamble hiring a young 21 year old Junior in College, but they followed God as did we. It was an amazing 3 and a half years where God taught us much about ministry, His calling, faith, doubt, humility and being a responsible (yet fun!) Youth Pastor. I'm not saying (and probably never will) that "we've arrived" but God definitely used these past 3.5 years to show us much.

    This however doesn't mean that since I am going to a different church that I am "moving on to bigger and better things". That would be a disservice to Living Christ. A church is a church and because one is larger than the other doesn't mean it is "bigger and better". We simply believe that God has called us in a new direction...not a bigger direction, nor a better direction, simply a new one!

    We love Living Christ Church and the people in it. We loved being a part of this church and enjoyed seeing how God used us in many ways in Nyack!

    With all that said, the question some of you may have now is: "What will you be doing in Pittsburgh?"

    The answer is: Middle School Ministry. ACAC does have quite a large number of teens and the Middle School Ministry is several hundred teens in size. I will be leading this group of teens as the Lord guides me. I will be under Scott Wakeley who is the Director of Student Ministries at ACAC and will have a team of staff members to do ministry with. We will all dream together, lead together and plan together...yet we still have our "niches" of responsibility. Mine happens to be Middle School Ministries.

    Also, I will have a large number of Adult/College youth leaders to lead, work with, gain wisdom from and work alongside! I believe God will use us as an unstoppable force to reach these young teens for Jesus. There is no way I can do it alone, nor will I try. I will seek these fantastic leaders out to "do the ministry" in the trenches. I learned (among many other things) at Living Christ that it is Youth Leaders to really do ministry...not the Youth pastor. With this realization I will seek out God's direction and the giftings of each leader so we can work together in doing the work the Lord has set before us.

    God is good! I hope this not has brought clarity and some perspective on what God's new direction is for the Nelsons. Please pray alongside us as we venture down this new adventure!


    Lisa said...

    Thank you for the update. I feel like I watch you and your family from the sidelines of Facebook. And I am thankful for at least being able to see snippits of your life.

    I am so proud of you and how fatihful you have been to God and His calling for you and your family. I am so glad to see what an incredible adult, husband, father and minister you have turned out to be.

    God is good and I am sure that you and your family will flourish as you continue to submit to God's will for your life!

    -Cousin Lisa

    aacyouth said...


    Congratulations man. This is exciting news! I know that the opportunity to move back home to Pittsburgh and work at a great church could have been a no-brainer. But I really admire that you guys prayed about it and sought out God's plans for you.

    Are you pumped to be moving back into Steeler Country?

    Also, how crazy is it that 3 out of the 4 Nyack youth min grads in our group of friends who are from PA ended up at churches back in PA? You and I in Western PA, and Steve in Eastern, PA. Now we just need Josh to come here. haha.

    Congratulations again man!

    - paulg