We find ourselves saying this often lately, but following God is never
boring. The past month has been quite an unexpected adventure. About a month
ago Awakens lead pastor, Jay Hardwick, sat down with us to share what he
believes are the next steps for Awaken Church. What he shared with us looked
very different than what was communicated to us when we were asked to come
on board. The more we ask questions about how this change was going to be
implemented the more unsettled we felt. Jay was certain that he wanted to
move forward in this direction the Sunday after Easter.
We spent the next three weeks seeking God’s peace and guidance through
prayer, fasting, seeking wise counsel and discussing our concerns with Jay.
We committed to hearing from God and not relying on ourselves. We did not
take this lightly as we believe God has called us to plant a missional
church and we believed He brought us here to Columbia, SC because of the
call and vision that we had in common with the Hardwicks. Had we not
believed so, we would have never left everything to come here, especially in
the midst of a pregnancy. We also take seriously the responsibility that
comes with shepherding the people God has put among us. Our hearts are for
them and what God is doing in their lives. God has put us in the midst of an
amazing community of believers, many of which are new to an authentic
growing relationship with our heavenly Father. God is doing great things in
and among this body, ourselves included. Which made it all the more
perplexing and sad when God made it abundantly clear and repeatedly
confirmed that we are not to follow Jay in these new next steps for Awaken
Church. Jay is just as convinced that this is the vision and now is the
time. For either of us to go against what God has shown us would be
disobedient. Because we do not want to hinder anything God may be doing and
we seek to bless the Hardwicks and Awaken Church, it was mutually agreed
upon that as of the first vision re-casting service on April 19, 2009 we are
no longer with Awaken Church.
We are still called to plant a church that is missional; our calling has not
changed. If anything, the call on Jamie’s life to be a pastor has been
confirmed. We are filled with hope as God is giving us stepping stones day
by day to what that looks like. God has taught us so much in our time here
about leadership; the importance of integrity, wise counsel, systems,
discipleship, accountability, stewardship, vision, communication and prayer.
We are better equipped for the future plans God has for us because of our
experiences here at Awaken Church.
As far as what is next for us goes, we are most likely headed into a time of
transition as God prepares all things for the next steps in ministry. We are
actively waiting on God to guide us. We are due to have our son by c-section
June 10 in Atlanta, GA. God has graciously provided a place for us to live
during that time and has also granted us favor with our landlords to let us
out of our lease here in Columbia. We are planning on moving the first
weekend in May.
About a month ago, it became necessary for Jamie to get a second job to
supplement the income that Awaken Church was able to provide. He had looked
for a part-time job, but God in His sovereignty only provided a full-time
job. Although it is not financially sufficient, it is what we have for now.
We are fervently praying that God would give Jamie a job in Atlanta so he
can join Jennifer and the kids as soon as possible. We are also in need of a
SUV or van that will hold three car seats. So let us know if you have leads
We appreciate your prayer and support and would ask that you continue to
pray as God brings us to your mind. With seven weeks left before the baby
and all that is involved with packing and moving, we will need lots of peace
and grace! We would love a chance to talk with you if you have any
Finally, during this season God has spoken to us through His word constantly
both through our individual time with Him and through words given to other
brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. Below are some of the places God
has shown us as we have sought His presence and direction that we would like
to encourage you with.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by
the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he
trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
4: 5-7 Philippians
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious
about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with
thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 25:3 None who wait for you shall be put to shame.
Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen
against me, and they breathe out violence.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of
counselors there is safety.
1 Peter 5: 1-11
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the
sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be
revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising
oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not
for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge,
but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you
will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be
subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward
one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the
proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he
cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls
around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in
your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced
by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a
little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory
in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To
him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
God has also spoken to us through the biblical accounts of Abraham and Isaac
in Genesis 22 and the account of Gideon in Judges 6-8.
A pastor friend of ours in Atlanta said, “If we are not willing to trust
someone who loves us enough to die for us AND knows the future, where do we
go from there?”
All our love and thanks,
Jamie, Jennifer, Bella, Emery and little man Brewer