Bookends

This week is book-ended by some of the best moments of the Church: the gathering and the sending of believers.

The week began by gathering last Friday/Saturday at Kona Nazarene with students in the district Course of Study, pastors, and some family members for the second weekend of a class. The course was, "Practicing Wesleyan Holiness Spiritual Formation," and is part of the requirements to be ordained as a Nazarene pastor. We discussed some of the rhythms the Church, and Jesus Christ Himself, have used to meet with God and to be formed by His Spirit. It takes about a 2-hour drive to get to Kona Nazarene from our church to give you some perspective on how BIG the Big Island is...and no, that's not sitting in traffic like Oahu. It was certainly worth it though!

This year, we've been piloting a new format for our district classes. We offer each of the 25 required classes in a part 1 and part 2 format over 2 weekends, on 3 of the Hawaiian Islands: Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island. Students gather for learning face to face with their island co-laborers, and don't have to battle against the technical difficulties that we used to constantly face doing class over Skype. Students still have to fly in from Kaua'i and Moloka'i, but currently the number of students on those islands make it more cost effective to bring them to another island. Have you ever had to fly on a plane to get to class??? The learning is crammed into extended sessions over the two Friday/Saturdays with some pre-work, homework in the middle, and some sort of final project.

A happy snapshot at the end of our Big Island class on "Practicing Wesleyan Holiness Spiritual Formation" in Kona Nazarene's sanctuary

We are SO blessed on this district to have so many pastors-in-training who are also serving local as associate pastors or local licensed ministers in our churches. They're committed to Christ and His Church. They take education seriously. It demands sacrifice. It demands relocating work schedules, and often arranging childcare. Sometimes it even involves travel to neighbor islands for a class. It demands ordering books ahead of the typical 2-day Amazon Prime window that our mainland friends benefit from. Yet time and time again, our students respond with faithfulness...sometimes just getting homework/payments in a bit late.

Taking the Course of Study through our closest Nazarene schools online just isn't a time or financial reality for most people in our isolated islands. Even with this perceived weakness, I am thankful for the strong community this creates as we gather for classes on the district together. These are some of the best moments.

We'll also end this week by sending out one of our believers. Pastor Kyle Johnston is moving in response to God's calling back to his home state of Indiana this Friday. He's going without an official assignment yet, but knowing that the Lord has said, "Go." Pastor Ray and I know that feeling! It has been such a privilege to watch Kyle respond to God's call from when we first encountered him during a mission trip team's visit from Olivet Nazarene University a few summers ago. He made a huge sacrifice to come here, and came to learn to be the person and pastor God made him to be. We extended an invitation for Pastor Kyle to come, knowing he was not ours to hold onto forever, but to equip and then send wherever God called.

We are so confident that he is ready, and we are so proud of him. We can't wait to potentially partner in the future with whatever church God places Kyle in to lead. These are some of the best moments...even as it's hard to send away one of our best people.

Our pastoral team surrounding Pastor Kyle on his last Sunday with us

I am thankful for these bookends this week. How is God moving in your church?

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