These pages have been silent for more than a month. Believe me, it is not for lack of thoughts about this journey God has us on. However, it was for lack of things that I could share publicly… until now. We’re all suckers for a good story, aren’t we? And the best stories are the ones with the unpredictable ending, the twists and turns we didn’t see coming. Well, for the past month, Suzanne and I have felt like we’re riding a roller coaster in the dark. The twists and turns, ups and downs have been coming at breakneck speed and we have not been able to see them coming. It makes for an exciting, but unsettling ride! Last December, I left a worship leading position with Dogwood Church to pursue a burning passion that God had put in my heart. That passion was the desire to lead, shape and mold an organization that would have an eternal impact on the hearts and lives of people–beyond a great weekly worship experience. I joined my friend Tim Coleman for coffee one day late last August and out of that first meeting, the seed of browns mill church was planted. Over the next weeks and months, we met almost daily to strategize, plan, pray and design a church that would fight against the consumeristic culture that dominates the Church in America today. This church’s vision was simple: to see people embrace a lifelong journey of becoming like Jesus. It is not the quickest way to grow a church, however, this model is tied closely to the heart of Jesus’ commission to make disciples–people who look and act like Jesus.
It has been an incredible ride! We launched core group meetings on January 11th and held our first weekly worship gathering on Sunday, March 15, 2009, in the cafeteria of Thomas Crossroads Elementary School. So many incredible God-things have happened that I could fill dozens of pages! This past Sunday, browns mill church celebrated its first baptism service with 6 people publicly professing their faith and embracing a lifelong journey of becoming like Jesus! In fact, we baptized an entire family of 4 who have all been deeply impacted by the ministry of browns mill church. (For photos and videos of the baptism service, click here).
Now back to the twists and turns. For the past month, I have been sensing that I may have completed my assignment here with browns mill. When I walked away from my 13+ year worship leading career, I told God that if He never had me lead worship again, I was OK with that–I just wanted to do what He wanted me to do. Well, over the past month, God has confirmed that He is leading me back to my primary calling–worship ministry leadership. At first, I resisted. “God, people are going to call me a quitter. They’re going to say I couldn’t take it–that I didn’t have enough faith and when it got tough, I got out.” I wrestled with those thoughts until I realized what they really were–pride. I began to seek wise counsel with leaders I respect and sought the Lord in prayer and studying my Bible. One pastor friend told me, “Kevin, I have never seen God gift someone in an area the way He has gifted you and then tell them not to use that gift.” A short time later, I was reading in I Timothy. I came to the verse in chapter 4, verse 14 where Paul tells Timothy, “Do not neglect your gift…” Other people who had no knowledge of my struggle contacted me out of the blue encouraging me to pursue leading worship as my vocation.
True, leading worship is a part of what I do at browns mill, however, it is a very small part. On top of that, we have chosen the bi-vocational route. In other words, browns mill church is not paying a salary to me or to Tim. Instead, we felt that for the financial health of this brand new church, it would be best not to be saddled with trying to support two families with salaries. So, Tim and I have sought other full-time work. For whatever reason, I have been unable to secure a job that would meet our financial needs. Don’t get me wrong, God has provided! We haven’t missed a meal or a payment and we haven’t had to put anything on our credit cards! However, we realize that this is just one more confirmation of God’s calling on me to return to my primary calling as my vocation, rather than something I do in my spare time.
We don’t know where that will be yet. We have some leads that we are following up on, but God has not yet made it clear where we are to write the next chapter of our ministry. So what does that mean for us and for browns mill? I’m glad you asked. Here are some ways that you can pray for both of us:
Haglund Prayer Requests:
- pray for patience as we seek God’s will and guidance for the next chapter of our lives
- pray for a worship ministry opportunity with a church and pastor that has a missional heart
- pray for our house to sell quickly and at a fair price (btw, if you know of someone looking for a house in the south metro area of Atlanta, they can get info about our house here)
- pray for our family as this transition will be very difficult–especially on our kids–as we leave behind lifelong friends
- pray for our financial needs to be met between now and when God leads us to our next ministry opportunity (we’re living off of my retirement and odd jobs)
browns mill church Prayer Requests:
- pray for God to protect the unity of browns mill church during this transition
- pray that God would bring a capable worship leader
- pray for God to raise up people who will take on areas of responsibility in my absence
- above all, pray for God’s blessing as browns mill continues to impact the Newnan/Coweta County area with a countercultural message of living like Jesus and leading others to do the same
Whew! I feel better now! Keeping these kinds of things in are never fun. Just so you know, I’ve kept Tim Coleman, our lead pastor, up to speed each step of the way. In fact, we met yesterday morning and decided together that is was time to take this information public. Just so you know, I will continue in my role with browns mill until God moves us to our next assignment. We covet your prayers for us as we hold on for the ride! Feel free to contact me with any thoughts, concerns or questions.