A place of writing and reflection…
When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
This week we say goodbye to a very prominent family in our community and worship leaders of our church, Dan and Felicity. They moved to Heartland about ten years ago, not expecting to be here for very long, let alone expecting all that God had planned for them during their stay.
They had expectations—obviously—but I highly doubt they were anything in comparison to what has happened since the move.
Dan has been our ‘piano guy’ and almost always on stage leading the worship portion of services. He’s got, as his wife has put it, “a Rolodex of songs in his head” of which he pulls from for any service or chapel. He may seem ‘laid back’ but he really is a ‘go getter’ with setting up stuff, leading and all his other duties like helping in the Bible college or just being a dad.
Felicity, our “Disciplines of Life” and “College Comp” teacher sings is also often found on stage in the midst of worship and chapels. Whether it be for the school, the college, or the church you can always count on seeing her rocking it out with a mic in her hand and a song in her heart. When she’s not doing that she’s either busy with teaching, studying or looking after their children.
(The two have a real testimony in that I hope to have them share some day here.)
During their time here, God has used them to raise up and train a worship team possible three times what was once here. Others have come and gone in that time, training those here or Dan and Felicity themselves. All of it has been a growing, and shaping time for the team.
More recently, they have been working with those under them to raise up a leadership in the team to take over in their absence—boy do they have a team!
There’s a person for schedules, a group for chapels and services, sound guys, bass and guitar players, pianists, drummers and singers.
This week was a worship team meeting in which we were able o listen to Dan and Felicity share their hearts and set people into place. We prayed for them and in turn, they prayed for us.
A common theme throughout the night was Elisha and Elijah, two prophets recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible. Elijah was the first who served God and worked a myriad of miracles during his time on Earth. Under him was Elisha, his apprentice. The two worked together for quite sometime until the time God told Elijah his work was done—God was going to take him.
The funny thing is everyone knew it and thus reminded Elisha the whole trek, “Do you not know your master is leaving?” (See 2 Kings)
That’s got to hurt, don’t you think? Being remind that the person close to you is leaving? But not just leaving—you have to fill his shoes. A daunting task indeed!
But Elisha did it. He had his moments of struggle, but he pulled through and completed the task God had given him.
Now our Elijah’s are moving on; Felicity to obtain her masters and Dan to pursue more ministry work. We have no idea how long they will be away or if God may change their plans yet again while they are gone. We have no idea all that he has laid out for them—or for the team.
The same was true for Paul, a converted Jew and Pharisee who once persecuted Christians turned church planter after a close encounter with Jesus. Being the radical he was, he went about preaching, getting stoned and even beaten, ship wrecked and kicked out of cities. But he didn’t give up. Eventually he settled in a city named Ephesus in which he spent the last few years as a free person. There he did more than plant a church.
He stayed and trained leadership to fill in the gap for when he was no longer there. He knew he would not always dwell in that city, but he knew others would. Others would come to the church. Others would try to teach what they wanted whether right or wrong. Others would need to train and lead.
And that’s what he did.
When it was finally time for him to leave he gathered up the leadership, reminded them of their call, purpose and duties and gave his farewells to the people. These were people he had lived and worked around for quite some time—years at least. Imagine all the memories they had together?
“Hey Paul? Remember that time message you taught us about staying strong in Christ?”
“What about that time we helped sell all those tents?”
“Or the time I tripped over those pegs?”
The memories brought tears—of the joy to have such a friend and the sadness to see him go. They knew there were things he would face—things they had yet to deal with themselves.
So there they gathered to bid the friend farewell with tear stained cheeks, knowing one day, they would see him again. (Acts 20)
Thus it is now our turn, Dan and Felicity. With tears, and hugs and prayer we bid you Adieu and send you off to the great things God has called you to do!