Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Journey to a New Land

The Rhodes family is leaving Cross Culture at the beginning of September to start a church in Boston, MA.

I didn’t want to bury the headline. Now, let me explain.

In March 2013 we moved to Raleigh in faith. Three months out we had committed to move, but I still didn’t have a job. I put out a lot of resum├ęs and received a few calls, but none of the churches were a fit. Then, I received a call from Pastor Clay. I was nervous because Cross Culture was the church I actually wanted to call me back! That call led to an interview. You guys brought us up, treated us like family, and the elders grilled me for what felt like 14 fun hours. A few weeks later Cross Culture called us to serve. God had provided.

In my original meeting with the elders, I told them that God had called me to start a church. I didn’t know all the details, but I knew eventually that’s where God was leading. I had years left in school at Southeastern and I verbally committed to stay at Cross Culture for at least three years.

Three years later, wow, God has blessed. Cross Culture Church has been a wonderful experience. We’ve seen students come to know Christ, actually grow in their relationships with him, and the student ministry has grown. None of it would have been possible without the great membership of our church. No doubt, there have been a lot of struggles. Yet, I am left with an overwhelming love for Cross Culture. To borrow from Pastor Clay, I love being your student pastor, and I’ll miss you, the people of Cross Culture, the most. What an amazing and loving group God has gathered. Allie and I are constantly astonished at the love of Christ that shines through so many in our church. The decision to leave was not an easy one.

Picture Day at Cross Culture

Even while loving my time at Cross Culture I had not forgotten about God’s call to start a church. About a year ago I began a journey that would lead me to a far away land of wonder... Boston. I walked and prayed through the streets, talked to some of the pastors there, and stayed in a really sketchy hotel. When I came back I told Allie, “I think this is it.” Over the next year, I brought the family to Boston and then went back one more time... you know, just to be sure. And I couldn’t get the city out of my head. Just as God had given me the dream to start a church years earlier, he was now completing that dream with a location.

But life’s circumstances were telling us to stay at Cross Culture. We had a new baby. God had given us a church and people we loved. We prayed and wept about staying... and I’m not much of a crier. Finally, one day I understood why my heart was in turmoil. The easy choice was Cross Culture, but the right choice was Boston. None of our circumstances surprised God. We needed to follow through with what God said years earlier. So, I emailed Pastor Clay a few months back, told him our plan, and met with the elders about how to move forward.

Here’s the plan: I will continue to minister at Cross Culture through August of this year. At that point, our goal is to move on to the next step in this journey. Things are still not completely clear, and we are again stepping out in faith and trusting God. We desire your prayers more than anything else. This Sunday (Feb. 28, 2016) I’ll be preaching and talking a little more about what God is doing. I hope to see you there.

Ivey Rhodes