The Wilson Family Big Move

Pastor Brendon Events, Marriage, Moving Forward, Stories 2 Comments

In mid 2012 we started our journey to South Jersey. It was such a God story and what faith should look like that Danielle did a fantastic job writing it down. We have placed it here for your to read and have your faith strengthened and challenged. Know that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think. Ephesians 3:20  – Pastor Brendon 

By Danielle Wilson

The past couple of years have been such a blessing… I would almost say life has been as close to perfect as it can get! We have an amazing marriage, 2 beautiful children, a beautiful home, an amazing church, incredible community/ neighbors/ friends; financially secure…. it has truly been the blessed life!

However, don’t we all know… God doesn’t tend to keep us in those seasons for long because those are not seasons we really grow in. Last October, I started feeling God was stirring in my heart and I can remember vividly washing dishes and telling God to go away! Then I thought these were just crazy thoughts coming into my head but wondered where they were coming from

God didn’t let up…. it is a VERY long story but the past 9 months God has been stirring in both Brendon and I’s heart that we were to move back into a lead pastor position.

It is a long story but it needs to be documented and it might encourage you in whatever season you are in or might go through one day in your life.  Brendon really felt that a lot was going on in his life, heart, etc and he needed to talk to someone so he found Dr. Al Ells  who heads up an amazing organization called Leaders that Last.  Brendon decided that this would be someone who he would consider his “Life Coach.”  After their first meeting, Al said that he wanted to meet with Brendon and I together.  So, the first week of December, we both sat down with him…. it was amazing.  For the first time, I was able to verbalize what I thought were these “crazy thoughts” that maybe there was something more we were supposed to be doing.  I hadn’t even told Brendon…. Al looked at Brendon after I verbalized what I was feeling and Brendon said, “I have been feeling the same exact way.”  Well, that meeting was pivotal!

When we got in the car after the meeting, I told Brendon… You know how I feel?  Remember when we got in the car after our doctor’s appointment and they told us we were pregnant with Daniel and we were SHOCKED!  We thought we were pregnant, thus the reason for the visit but when the doctor confirmed it… we didn’t really know what to think… we were excited but we really weren’t planning on getting pregnant so fast.  We knew that our life was about to change forever… we knew/ thought it would be for the good but we were going to be moving out of our comfort zone by being responsible for a little human being.  I told Brendon, ” I feel like Al just told us we were pregnant but pregnant with a dream that God has placed in us.”

Well, for the next several months we prayed A LOT… we had no idea what to do with what we felt was deposited in our heart.  But life got super busy too… it was December!  The busiest time of the year for a church, pastor and family so we were busy!

In December, Brendon was driving to the church for a morning prayer meeting and he had a very clear vision of a group of people meeting together and praying for a senior pastor. It was so emotionally overwhelming for Brendon that he walked into the prayer meeting with tears flowing down his face.

Then we took a cruise in January and we used that time just to process what was going on in our heart.

In April we went to the Catalyst conference in Orange County, California…. Brendon really felt it was time to meet with my parents and tell them about this stirring we were having and about this vision…. of course, they were devastated at the thought of losing their children and grandchildren but decided to journey along with us.

Brendon started contacting his sphere of influence and just letting them know what was going on with us… one guy that Brendon felt to contact was a consultant that Christ Life Church had hired several years ago.  Brendon and this guy totally hit it off and stayed in contact but on a very minimal basis.  So, Brendon looked him up and found that he was on full time staff at one of our favorite churches Gateway!  (As a side note, the senior pastor of Gateway had just been at our church in October speaking and he preached a message that Brendon and I will never forget!)  We love Gateway music; I actually have two friends from college who work at Gateway… so lots of connection to Gateway!

Anyway, Lawrence (the consultant who Brendon looked up) got back to Brendon and recommended that he speak with Ed Funderburk, who oversees the Gateway Connect department. Basically Gateway Connect works with over 600 churches who need support of any kind.  Lawrence felt that Ed might know of a church who is looking for a senior pastor.  So, Brendon contacted Ed and it was like a divine match.  Ed and Brendon really hit it off and guess what?  Ed knew Al Ells and Ed recommend that everyone read one of Al Ells’ books.  Ed really believed in Brendon and in Brendon’s future… however, he says that he usually always has several churches who need a lead pastor but he didn’t know of any at the time.  He told Brendon that his resume was on top and the first church he finds that would be a good match, he was calling Brendon.

So, one day in June…. Brendon through a set of circumstances connected with a church in New Jersey that was looking for a senior pastor.  It looked like a church that would fit us AND they said they were connected with Gateway!  So, Brendon thought how is this possible?  Ed would have told us about this church if they really were connected with Gateway… so, he e-mailed Ed to find out if he knew anything about this church.  Ed got back to Brendon right away and said, “Yes!  We have supported them in a huge way but I had no idea they were looking for a senior pastor.”  He said the last time he had talked to them; they were not in a financial position to hire a lead pastor.  Well, when the church heard that Brendon had been connected with Gateway, they were amazed too as that is a church they really look up to!

So, remember Brendon’s vision?  Well, the same week of Brendon’s vision, the group of elders at this church in New Jersey decided to start meeting together to step out in faith and pray for a senior pastor. They knew they didn’t have the finances to support a senior pastor but they felt God was giving them the faith to believe.  Wow!  Right?

So, Ed and Brendon started talking to the elders at this church in New Jersey… it all was really crazy that we were even talking because there was no way that our family could live on the salary they could offer us.  BUT, we felt so strong that we were to pursue this… everything was PERFECT except for the finances and we knew that if this was  a “God” thing then that part would fall into place!

On June 28th, 2012 we visited the church and it was like the minute we walked into the church there was a “Welcome Home” banner hung! I wept through the whole weekend as we met the people and heard the vision of the church…. we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was what God had in mind.

But still, we had no idea how our family would survive there?  Sunday night, one of the elders and his wife in the church talked to us… this past November their mother-in-law had passed away and they had inherited her house in Ocean City.  It was actually scheduled to go on the summer rental market the next day…. BUT the Friday night we were there a hurricane came through the area and ripped the chimney off and the awning so they had to take it off the rental market.  She really felt that God had spoken to them that they were to let us use that house for a VERY MINIMAL rent!!!!!!!!!!!!  Wait until you see pictures of this house as it is my childhood dream comes true!  My whole life I have had a dream to live on the water… to have water view property!  I never thought in my wildest dreams that would ever come true!

Then get ready for this?  Brendon called Ed from Gateway and said, “Do you think Gateway would be willing to support my salary for the first year we are there in order to give us time to build the church back up to  a place that it could support us?”  Ed said that he couldn’t guarantee it but that he would put the request in…. yesterday we heard they have agreed to the request!!!!!! There are a still a couple more churches that are also considering supporting us for the first year…. our goal is to raise above and beyond our salary so the church can have money for community programs like a “Back to School” event, Christmas, etc.

So, our moving truck is coming Monday, July 30th and we will be living in Ocean City, NJ.

So one of the major questions, I have been asked recently is,

“Are you excited?”  The answer is YES!!!!  YES!!! YES!!!!

However, will this be one of the hardest decisions of my life?  YES!!! YES!!! YES!!!

Why?  Well, New Jersey is not exactly a place that I can put my two precious babies in the car and drive 4 hours to see my parents/ their grandparents and my sister -in-law and brother-in-law who live here!  It would be 40 hours to drive here!  So, that means flights every single time… and have you priced out flights for a family of 4 from West Coast to East Coast?  It is not like we can make that trip every other month….

The other really hard thing that I had not anticipated was when we have told our friends, neighbors and church family the news that we are leaving, the hurt and devastation that comes to their face.  Like our next door neighbor who text me to tell me she cried all the way to work and then came over that night to tell me it was one of the worst days ever for her!  That hurts…. they were dear, precious neighbors that we love so much and they are hurting that we are leaving.  That is only one story…. we have amazing people in our life that we were so sad to leave but I was not prepared for how sad they would be that we were leaving.

Another question that I have been asked is, “Have you really thought this through?”  “Have you had any second thoughts?”  “Are you sure you are making the right decision?”

Oh, we have thought this through!  We have prayed this through!  We know beyond a shadow of doubt that this is the right thing… in fact, we know if we don’t go…. we would be completely out of the will of God and we would be make a decision that I would never want to know the consequences of.

To end… remember how I told you that when we left Al’s office and I told Brendon that I felt like we were just told we were pregnant with a dream…. well, it will be exactly 9 months of Brendon’s last day at Christ Life Church since that 1st thought came into my mind while washing dishes!

The funny thing, is that when I have called friends and family to tell them we have news for them… the first thing they ask me is if we are pregnant again… I kind of want to say, “Yes, but not with a baby!”  LOL!

Friends, I know that the Wilson Family is about to step into their “Promised Land”… the very destiny that God had ordained for us from the moment we were born.

I pray that our story encourage you on whatever journey you are on!