A letter from Ryan
April 23, 2014
“a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.” Matthew 26:7
It seems like God uses the season of Lent consistently to grow our faith. Last year, God moved during this season to call KCB to the faith-growing step of buying Margaret’s House and turning it into a family shelter. This year there’s been another faith stretching call.
In late February a friend and former Bellflower Pastor, Moses Chung, who is now the director of a church-planting and renewal agency based out of Michigan, called Home Missions, called me out of the blue. Since November he had been looking for a team member that could help him with the skills and gifts needed to help with the implementation of some significant organizational culture and strategy changes within this agency. He could not find the right fit from among the applicants for the position, and he said the Spirit had led him to ask me, “Is there any chance you would consider taking on a role like this?” I had a quick response. “No.” He said he thought I would be “a good candidate for the role” and asked if I would just look at the position description over the weekend and call him if anything changed in my openness to the idea. I told him politely that I was “about 3%” interested and so while I was honored to be considered he better continue his search elsewhere. “We are living the dream here in Bellflower and it’s not likely that God would change that.”
I was NOT looking, nor could I imagine applying for, any other role or assignment than the one that God has had me on. It would be too costly for us… We’ve lived our entire married lives here in Bellflower, our family enjoys a depth of community with you, the KCB board members, our co-workers, neighbors, and church, that not many get to experience. We do “live the dream”. Our daily lives are so FULL and BLESSED with a wholistic experience of what it means to live as Kingdom people with other followers of Jesus, beyond what we imagined or envisioned when we started out our lives here. We are proud and honored to be a part of a “tribe” of Jesus followers who consistently lay down their agendas and priorities for the sake of God’s Kingdom priorities. We couldn’t imagine that God would want or ask us to give this up.
You have to be careful when you assume that God will not change His assignments. Since that “out of the blue” phone call, God has been making it overwhelmingly (and at times painfully) clear to Rachel and I through a series of “coincidental” dreams, conversations, “divine” appointments, other circumstances, and prayerful discernment that He is calling me to take this position that will require us to give up the “dream” and resign from my role as Executive Director of KCB/OPHS/LH.
The story in Matthew 26 of Mary anointing Jesus has been particularly poignant for Rachel and I in this season of discernment. In the story, Mary, out of her love for Jesus, extravagantly anoints Him with an alabaster jar of perfume. This perfume was extremely costly and valuable, a family heirloom, a source of comfort and security, and she takes it and pours it all out in an expression of her love for Jesus. The disciples can’t understand this “wasteful” expense. They have better ideas for how this precious resource should have been used. At a conference I attended in March, as we were just starting to discern this call, one of the speakers taught on this text and asked pointedly, “What is your alabaster jar of perfume? What is it that you cling to for security and comfort? What do you tie your identity to? Would you pour even that out in an expression of love for Jesus? Is Jesus better to you than all of this?
Many secret tears have flowed in these weeks as it became clear that God was in fact asking us to pour out this offering of love and surrender our ideal life, community, church, home, job, connections and influence in what feels at times like blind obedience, trusting that he will provide for our family and for you all.
God used our 10 year celebration to remind us of all that God has done, and will continue to do amazing things through the ministry of KCB (OPHS and Little House) to advance His kingdom in Bellflower. From our beginning we have professed that Jesus is the leader of this organization and I am sure that He has the right person to fill the leadership role for KCB. KCB has worked because this organization is HIS and because He uses you on a daily basis. Home Missions has said that it wants to embrace missional approaches similar to the one that God has been doing in our midst, to help new and struggling churches and communities engage in similar work.
It has been an honor and privilege to serve alongside you brothers and sisters who are radically committed to this work and I am confident that “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” The leadership at Home Missions has given a generous period of time (start date of June 1) to ensure that we can carefully plan for my transition from the role as Executive Director and I am committed to finishing well. I remain committed to KCB’s mission and vision and want to help as much as you see fit during this season. Please feel free to contact me with any questions as they come up.
Thank you for all of your servant leadership and for allowing me the great privilege of serving as the Executive Director over the last ten years. I am confident our success has been due to our God’s great love for our city and because KCB/OPHS/LH are HIS and He will continue to bless the work on into the future.
To God be the Glory,