News of my family’s life-changes

Grace and peace to readers of the New Epistles blog.  It’s been a while since my last blog post. In this month of November, our family has been undergoing a big life-change. We have moved to new place (Brampton, Ontario located in the Greater Toronto Area). This change was stressful at first but we are getting used to it. There are different things to deal with: new environment, new home, planning on a new school for our daughter, new church, new working relationships, etc. We have been finding ways to cope with the new changes of living in a new place and getting to know new faces and names. Such life changes are never easy so I have empathy for anyone who has gone through this.

The reason for our move is that I’ve taken on a new call in a new congregation and denomination. I’ve moved from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada to the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec. This means some different ways to “doing” church. At the outset, it may also seem like different ways of “thinking” church, but for me personally, it won’t be that different since my spirituality is rooted in evangelicalism. There will be some things I will definitely miss (e.g., Apostles’ Creed, church seasons, etc.).

On a sub-note, we will be recognizing the start of Advent with the lighting of the advent candles this coming Sunday (which I learned was a recent tradition that was started in this congregation about four years ago). It may even be addressed by someone one of these Sundays during our childrens’ talk (if not by myself).  This Sunday, I will be preaching on Isaiah 64:1-9  and will be titled: “We are the work of God’s Hands”.  I hope to challenge my congregation to think of God’s work in our lives as a vital necessity in our spiritual lives.

The theological language between the two churches may be a little different but through my years worshiping and growing in the Lutheran Church and evangelical churches, I feel that I’ve have been stretched. My wide exposure and experience have challenged me to use theological-speak without losing the crux of the theological idea. I have found that being trained in various ecclesiologies and theologies has broadened my scope of ministry methods. It has enabled me to become more versatile in ministry, leadership, and in communicating the gospel, and sometimes, find myself searching for different ways to bridge the gap of understanding.

I am sure there are many other Christians who have traveled between various denominations. There differences may seem big at first, but as one becomes accustomed to the differences, they seem to shrink as time goes by.

Anyone else out there who has, or is, going through similar life-changes?

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Author: Kevin S.

A follower of Jesus, a husband and a father. Hobbies include biking, keeping fish if they don't die on me, blogging when I can, theologizing and ministry, and pondering about world affairs.

7 thoughts on “News of my family’s life-changes”

  1. Not currently going through that type of life change, Kevin, but I want to encourage you to blog about your experiences as you continue living and learning in your new church. This will make for interesting reading at the very least, and those of us who are going through such experiences, or have gone through them in the past, will enjoy commiserating with you about it.

    In the early 2000s my family and I joined in a new church plant of a PCA church, then after less than a year we came back to the UMC, so I do have some idea what you are dealing with. But I’m most interested in reading about a Lutheran pastor switching to a Baptist congregation. Looking forward to it, my brother!

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    1. Thanks Gary, going through this type of change can be big but for me it’s been good so far. Lots of things to change, house, daycare, family physician, etc. Churchwise, the benefits & pension is just a part of it. The denominational theology has been a smaller change. Taking what I’ve learned in Lutheran theology and applying it in a Baptist church can be tricky but some theological ideas would benefit all evangelicals.

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  2. I grew up United Methodist in rural South Georgia, where the Southern Baptist Convention (not its moderate wing) sets the tone for church life. This did not sit well with me, one who wanted more ritualism, sacramentalism, and a sense of history. Now, as an Episcopalian, I sing out of a hymnal containing some hymns with original lyrics (in Greek or Latin) dating to the 200s. Yet I recall hearing church members speaking of gospel songs from the 1930s as “old.” I also left a tradition in which the Bible is the “Word of God” for a theology in which Jesus is the “Word of God.” I came home to myself when I converted at the end of my Canterbury trail.
    Also, the homemade Marian shrine (behind me) in my apartment speaks to the fact that I am no longer really Protestant. I am aware that many people would pray for my salvation if they knew of all this, but I do not consider my orthodoxy (a matter more of lived theology than of abstract theology) a matter for them to evaluate.

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    1. Kenneth, I’m so glad that God has called each person including yourself, in different ways and into different churches, but God is still present in all denominations and all congregations because we are all made new in Christ. If we all experienced God through the same way, the church of Christ would not be interesting.

      I praise God for doing His work amongst Methodist and Episcopalian brothers and sisters in Christ.

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      1. Of course; variety is the spice of ecclesiastical life.
        I was a fish out of water in my parents’ churches. As I look back on my past, I realize that my ultimate denominational label was a foregone conclusion, based on my personality and interests. Also, the particular congregations in which I grew up were places in which I did not fit in because of my intellectual tendencies. Although I did not even know the term at the time, I was always a Thomist–and, for a while, one with almost nobody to speak to intelligently in those terms in church. Most other people were simply not equipped to engage me on my level and in my interests. Still others were openly hostile to the union of the intellect and spirituality. They preferred something more emotional and less intellectual in religion. (Mark Noll, a great Evangelical scholar who teaches at Notre Dame University, has written critically of this tendency in a book.)
        Ultimately we must all find that place where we are fishes in water. If you have found yours, I am glad for you.

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