November 30, 1994, my family (Lynette, Enoch, Caleb in Lynette’s womb and I)
left Watertown, MA to come to Houston and serve as a youth pastor at Seoul
Baptist Church. We loaded our belongings into a Budget rental truck while it
was snowing, towed a white Honda Accord LX, and drove 1,850 miles in four days
and three nights. We made stops to sleep in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and
Alabama. We arrived in Houston on Saturday, December 3. The church helped us to
find an apartment on Jones and West Rd. Several deacons and their wives from
the church helped us unload our belongings so we could move in quickly. One
deacon took us out for dinner at Seoul Garden that evening.
as the youth pastor began the next day, Sunday, December 4, 1994. While serving
as the youth pastor, I and about 20 post-high school age people began to lay
the groundwork for New Life from 1995. After nearly three years, we began New
Life on Sunday, August 10, 1997. I continued to serve as the youth pastor until
have been serving at New Life for more than 24 years. We have had some
challenging moments, particularly recently with changes in our pastoral staff.
Since then, we have added three good staff: Jabez for our youth ministry, Mia
for our children’s ministry, and Paul as our Property Manager. I am considering
whether New Life should add two more staff, one for pastoral and one for
administrative. All around, ministry has been a tremendous joy for me. I am
greatly privileged to participate with God to help plant and build New Life
over all these years.
I feel that I am due finally for a sabbatical break. Our church policy allows
pastoral staff to take different types of sabbaticals every five years. I am
planning to take a sabbatical according to New Life’s policy. I am finalizing
the details as to what I will be doing during this time. Lynette and I plan to
go to Korea for one-week internship at a church that has been doing house
church ministry very well. We will also travel through Turkey and Greece to
follow the footsteps of Apostle Paul, who carried the Gospel in these regions.
I also plan to read extensively, do some soul care, visit other churches to
observe and learn, spend some time with family members and, of course, do some
fishing. I will share more details about my sabbatical as my plans finalize.
thing I plan to do before I leave for sabbatical is hold a vote of confidence
on my role as senior pastor of New Life. I believe through the Scripture that
God usually speaks directly to the senior pastor in regards to the direction
and issues that pertain to the church. The senior pastor is called and given by
God the serious responsibility of caring for and shepherding over the souls of
church members that will last for eternity.
your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men
who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy,
not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17)
instructs church members to obey their pastor not because he is better than
them, but because he will have to stand before God on the final day to settle
the account as to how he shepherded his flock. Being a pastor is a serious
calling and responsibility.
God at times also speaks to pastors through their church members. The vote of
confidence will serve this purpose for me in hearing God’s voice. This vote of
confidence is not a vote that measures a pastor’s popularity or approval
rating. Rather, the purpose is to discern the will of God in regards to whether
a pastor should continue to stay and shepherd the flock, or leave and possibly
move on to another place of ministry that God has for him. The vote will be
taken from New Life’s registered members, at the time of the vote. The vote
will present two choices: 1) I believe it is God’s will that Pastors
to serve as the senior pastor of New Life, or 2) I believe it is God’s
will that Pastor Eric stops serving as the senior pastor
of New Life.
vote of confidence will take place on Sunday, March 31 after each worship
service. We have about a month to pray and seek God’s will together. I trust
that all the members will pray much and fulfill your responsibility as a fully
functioning part of the body of Christ here at New Life.
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