As Easter weekend comes to a close, I’m hit with the realization that next Sunday will be my last Sunday in Thunder Bay! After a quick jaunt to Tennessee to recalibrate with Jane, I begin the Fort Mac adventure on May 1. As I do, I leave Thunder Bay with huge excitement for the future as well as a great sense of twenty years well spent. No doubt the ‘leaving part’ is bittersweet. Twenty years in one city while falling in love with the city and the people of the city, and then being a part of what God has done through Redwood over these years – yeah, there’s just no easy way to say “good-bye” to a city, a people, a church family that have become such a deep part of myself and my family.
But this Easter weekend really helped with all that. Sure it’s a bit strange to be sitting back as an observer in the church you’ve led for so long. But sitting back far from the front lines, provided me with an incredible vantage point to see the hand of God and what He has done over these last 20 years. It was an amazing experience, watching the Redwood teams at work, handling so well all that they did this past weekend. They’re good! They’re real good! The Holy Thursday/Good Friday services were so deep, so rich, so moving. The service on Friday commemorating the all too short life of Scott Poulter was intense yet sensitive, and will not be quickly forgotten by all those who packed out the church to attend. And what can I say about Easter Sunday in the Community Auditorium? With close to 1,400 there, few concerts fill that place the way Redwood just did. It was simply an awesome worship experience to the glory of our risen Lord.
Perhaps the best way to get a feel for the weekend is to take the time to look at the video below and view Matt Popowich’s powerful video “Broken” set to the Coldplay song, “Fix You.” It was a highlight within Holy Thursday/Good Friday worship. So yeah, a truly amazing weekend where I was able to catch a glimpse of the privilege of having been part of something amazing that God has done in the building of a prevailing church with such impact on the city of Thunder Bay.
It’s gratifying to move on knowing that the work you’re moving on from is so vibrant and healthy, and has such a bright future. The staff, board and ministry volunteers are a spiritually passionate and incredibility gifted team. The church family as a whole, “gets it!” They get that they exist for the benefit of those who are not yet a part of God’s family, they get that their mission is simply to make Jesus real and visible to the people of Thunder Bay and the world. May God richly bless the next stage in your ministry, as He obviously is already doing!!