Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Homeward Bound

Great Lakes Church Staff 2011
(Abela standing in for Devonee Harshburger)

The Petersons Are Coming Home

It's official... we are moving back to our hometown of Seattle Washington after helping launch a new church in Kenosha Wisconsin over two years ago.

Kenosha, Great Lakes Church, and the people here have been our family and home for the last three years. The adventure began as a dream and passion in our boss/pastor/friend Dave Nelson's head... none of us could have guessed that this small group of friends would become church planters of a church that would grow 1,300 strong in just two short years.

"Sounds like you got a pretty good thing going there... why would you leave?"

Good question.

When Dave invited us to participate in launching GLC back in 2008, we said no way! I was comfortable, employed, and honestly, not sure Great Lakes was going to succeed. After many prayers and fasts, Michelle and I felt God telling us " ". (Yup, that's blank on purpose). We didn't hear anything. We didn't feel "called" to ministry to begin with, and we didn't feel "called" to move across the country to start a church in a place we've never seen.

However, we did feel like we'd be missing out on a great thing if we didn't go. We want to tell our kids someday "we took a risk for God" and be a model for them. If GLC grew or if it closed it's doors in the first month, at least we would have tried.

So, we told Dave "Yes... we'll help you start this new church." He was pretty excited, as were we. We agreed to stay on for two years, which would have been October of 2010. We knew from the start that we weren't going to be pivotal in the long term goals and structure of GLC, but we wanted to assist in LAUNCHING a new church... to have a great big impact right at the start, open the doors, and let the masses come and see what the fuss is all about. And we did that.

Now it's time to let Great Lakes become what it was always destined to become. Michelle says it beautifully... she likens our situation to John the Baptists. John would always refocus any attention on himself back to God by saying "... someone is coming soon who is greater than I am - so much greater that I’m not worthy even to tie his sandals." He knew he wasn't the Messiah, and he was simply preparing the way. We know our part in this was simply preparing the way for those who come after us, incredible leaders and servants who would carry this church forward for generations.

So, now we're here and slowly settling back into our home in the Northwest. Michelle has just started her new job at Timberlake Church as the Groups Director and I get to start working with clients as a freelance graphic designer. We are reflecting on our time in Wisconsin, nearly three years, and it feels like a dream. Were we really a part of such an amazing team of people? Did we really see that many people come to know Christ for the first time? Can you believe the hundreds of people that got baptized at GLC over the last three years? What wonders God did in us, in our little family, during that time! What could he possibly have in store for us next and will we be as brave as the opportunities to take risks present themselves again and again?

Thank you, Father, for this incredible life!


Joey said...

Tony and Michelle,

You guys are such amazing people and we are truly blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know you! We know God brought us from the sunny beaches of Florida to come to the frozen tundra of Kenosha, WI to GLC to not only be a part of an amazing church and meet such incredible people, but it was more importantly so we could learn how open our hearts to him and see what he has planned for our lives! We can't thank you enough for taking the risks that you did to bring this AMAZING place of worship into our lives and the lives of many many more!!

We wish nothing, but the very best for you and your beautiful family!

God bless you Peterson!!! We miss you and will always keep a special place in our hearts for you!!

We love and miss you guys!!!
Joey and Tabatha Bishop

Dave Nelson said...

Thanks for taking the huge risk to help start Great Lakes Church! Hundreds of volunteers are now doing what only a couple people used to do. It's very exciting. Hope the next chapter of your life is just as amazing.

We love your whole family (including your soon-to-be-born baby... David Thomas Peterson)

Dave & Rindy