Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Great Adventure, Part 1

Ever since we began in a traveling kind of ministry, I have always thought that at some point I would end up leading worship in a church. It always seemed like it would be the ultimate destination for me. I must confess I never prayed about it, or received that as a word from God. It was just what I always assumed. Then, in the past two years, after watching some worship pastors that I know go through really tough circumstances, I pretty much vowed (an unholy vow, mind you) that there would be zero chance of me being on a church staff. Ever.

I looked at all of the wonderful things to which God had called me. Why would I ever bring a church staff job into the picture to complicate an otherwise wonderful and peaceful picture? So, as I spent most of this past year getting ready to turn 40, I assumed I would just stay on this current train with Jesus and sail off into the sunset...doing basically what I'm doing now for the rest of my years in ministry (traveling, singing, writing, arranging, leading worship) . I love it...I'm happy...I'm busy. No facet of our ministry shows any signs of slowing down any time soon. Ministry is hopping, family is happy, and all is well.

Well.

My team and I were in our final weekend of our Jesus Saves Live Tour for the year. It was Friday, November 13, in Jackson, TN. Great church. We had a great night of worship with their choir of 150 or so, and a full house of worshippers. The worship pastor was a great guy. Open and warm and very encouraging to us about our ministry. I didn't get to meet the pastor. I had heard about him. I heard he was a young guy...about 33...was called to that pastorate at age 30 or so, and had never pastored before. After the concert, the pastor came to the stage, shook my hand…that typical pastor-handshake-on-stage-while-everyone-claps-at-the-end-of-a-concert moment. He thanked us graciously, and left. We all went about our normal post-concert tasks. I never saw the pastor again that night. Never had a single conversation with him.

After the concert, we did our typical post-concert routine…greeting people, taking pictures, talking to new friends, and packing everything up on the bus. When everything was finally packed up and cleaned up, we all hopped on the bus to drive through the night to our next destination. I climbed on the bus and said the strangest thing. Something I've never said before...nor did I have any experiential facts with which to back it up. I walked on the bus and simply said, "I think I could grow old with that pastor." I don't know what possessed me to say it. I think that maybe it's because I had so convinced myself that there was no pastor I could ever work with...or church that would ever have me…and I would be smart to not even consider that I would have a place on a church staff ever again. I THINK that's what prompted my comment. But something quickened my heart to this guy in particular. Hard to explain. I had watched he and his wife worshipping during the concert. I watched them whisper to each other...pray together...raise their hearts in surrender together. For some reason, I had an innate trust in him already. Maybe that's where my weirdo comment came from.

I never thought about that comment or that pastor again. Then two weeks later, I got a call.

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh ye bloggers of cliff hangers. Ugh! Love you Travis!

Amanda

Nate Tallman said...

... left hanging :)

Kris - said...

the story unfolds . . .we're gonna miss you and Ang around here, for sure! Hoping you bring her on the road some with LifeWay gigs.

AnnieBlogs said...

Seriously. Like that you're just gonna stop telling the story? Sheesh.

Kris - said...

at least I'm guessing the rest of the story . . . don't make us wait too long!!!

Your VJ said...

on the edge of my seat. blue coast...NOW!

Anonymous said...

I love this story.......

Anonymous said...

So excited to hear you are coming our way! Check out Medina. We have great schools with an excellent band program and a small town feel but close to Jackson! Congratulations on your new adventure!

Melissa

Anonymous said...

Now that's just mean.
Please finish! :)

Jennifer in CT said...

Wait, wait, wait! What about Living Proof Live? I don't want a new worship leader. I like the old guy.

Anonymous said...

No you didn't just leave us hangin'...

Jessica
Greensboro NC

Anonymous said...

where is part 2?

Andy Atkins said...

Love you, brother, but honestly!

Linda said...

That's just so wrong to leave us hangin'. Wrong on so many levels...

Congratulations on this awesome new adventure (knew something was up!), but PLEASE tell me you're still leading us women in worship with Living Proof. Please???

HisTreasuredPossession said...

ooohhh. this sounds GOOD!!!

Three Fold Cord said...

Thrilled to know that some of us Siestas have been able to pray for you during this transition. if there is one thing I know He is always taking us into unknown territory. I believe it started with a man named Abraham. Man, there must be some pretty awesome promises instore-hard roads too but great and precious promises! Can you tell i am going through Kay Arthur's covenant right now?!? ;)
Love you guys,
Charlotte
ATL

Dionna said...

Oh Wow, Travis. I'm a'sensin God is doing some prompting in your heart to change your course a little?

Leslie said...

Ohhavemercy!

jamie b said...

hmmmmmmmmmm!!! you better come back and finish your story soon. :)

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

I know this is a total girl comment, but that's just like the last page in a chapter of Nancy Drew, but without a facing page and a new chapter to begin.

Tiffani said...

this is a cliffhanger of "Dallas" proprotions...call up Sue Ellen and finish this already!!! SHEESH.

Praying for you...because I'm guessing you may need it!! :)

faithWalker said...

Yeah...what Jennifer and Linda said. Waiting (not)patiently for part 2!

Deb

Michelle said...

It is a sick individual that would leave his loyal blog followers hanging this way. Praying for you.

Bridgette Jencks said...

ummmmm helLOOOOOO!! WHAT are you trying to tell us!??!?! .... part 2 would be good right about now.

Lisa said...

You've been watching too much t.v., Travis. No commercial breaks on this tale, please! Finish the story...

Cheryl said...

oh no you just didn't!?!?
I can't believe you left us hanging like that!
Praying for you and your precious family!

Deirdre said...

you've been watching American Idol too long.
Get to "the reveal" dang it!

Daniel Semsen said...

OOHHHHHHHH NOOO!!!! To be continued!!!!!!!!!!!

killer.


Not So Quick story:

It was the summer of '98. I had just finished my freshman year at APU and went on a summer tour with a bunch of singers older and prettier than me. I was 18 and a dork (surprise), and the leader was smashingly beautiful and the oldest member of the group at 23 (ooh, she was sooo old...). Us younger folk were terribly intimidated by her beauty-queen status (for real), dark sunglasses that she always wore, and the fact that she was in charge. We were all in awe.

I spent the entire summer sitting in the front seat while she drove the 9 of us around from place to place in the tour's 15-passenger van. We had many conversations in those front seats. She had just graduated after spending five years in college and still didn't know what to do with her life.

We were talking about it one night and she said she was convinced that since she didn't find a man to marry in college that God just wanted her to be a nun. "CELIBATE!", she said...and she was going to go off and be a missionary, nary to marry.
The conversation got a tiny bit heated because I thought that comment was lame and kind of "oh pity me", that at a certain point of the conversation--without ever previously giving thought to dating or liking this girl--I said to myself in utter frustration (in my head), "OH YES YOU ARE GOING TO MARRY SOMEONE, AND IT'S GOING TO BE ME!".

And she did.


The Lord speaks to us in strange ways sometimes...

Anonymous said...

What? And then.......???

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD said...

Will be praying for you and let me tell you it is not cool to leave us seista's hanging here but I will be praying for you and waiting for the other part of the story.
But I know one thing we need you here in seistaville to lesd us into worship.
Love you brother
Carol

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Good grief, this is like an episode of 24....don't leave us hanging for heaven sake!!!

Leah

Susan B. said...

I sure hope you're not going to leave us hanging here long. I've got all kinds of questions! :)

Anonymous said...

We love you and your family....but what about us?! Ha, Ha. "Us" of course being the Living Proof gals.

Anonymous said...

And.......????????

Tom said...

Isn't it strange how Beth has a child named "Jackson"? Just wondering...

Heidi said...

Christy? Celibate? Hahahaha. Ha.

I love Cottrell's Cliffhangers.

Christy Semsen said...

Hey, it could have happened! It was a plan!!

Holly said...

Ah, words...words led by God...really do make some wonderful and amazing things come to pass.

You know what? And before I say it, I want you to know that we talked about you and Angela the other night. My Chris and I think you both are such godly examples. We also said we thought we'd be fast friends if you lived nearby.

I know God is going to bless you and your family! Praying for just that...and especially praying for your sweet Angela to find herself surrounded by godly friends there.

Susan said...

A call or...A Call? I'm thinkin' the latter, according to my bff, Fran Thomas :)

Joni said...

And some folks think God does not have a sense of humor... Sometimes I think He "plays" with me because I get a kick out of it. :) Seriously though, His paths are not always the most obvious but they are the best. Many blessings on your road.

Lindsey said...

Wow! I want to hear the rest of the story!

finding::God::in the everyday said...

God is in the business of shaking things up in our lives!

Just recently He has moved our family from serving on the mission field of the Philippines, to looking for a pastorate job here in the states...definitely learning that His ways are not my ways! Will be saying a prayer for your family as you seek His will!

Excited and anxious to hear "the rest of the story"!

3girlsmom said...

I have had FUN watching this unfold from the vantage point of Fran. :) Then I went to Jackson for her bday and sat in a salon while she got her hair done and listened to the "chatter" that was a'buzz (this was the DAY AFTER the announcement was put on the church's website)! Then I rode by the church (holy moly - loving the Warehouse) and got to put visuals with all that I had been hearing. Now I've watched the video on Ben's blog and I am AMAZED at God's timing, and his "slap you in the face" moments (hello, Angela's journal from 10 years ago!). What an awesome God we serve! And I'm so proud of our favorite Miesta for listening to the call and obeying!
Bless you, dude. You rock.

Anonymous said...

Patiently waiting....

Stephanie said...

Dan and I are thrilled and praying for you! I know you know we are! Looking forward to this summer.

Longmeadow Mama said...

Maybe I missed my calling and need to be a detective because I can't stand a mystery! LOL! I actually found out the rest of the story via internet! So excited for God's work in your life..what an incredible work He will continue to do too! And selfishly, I'm so excited that you are staying on with Ms. Beth!
Many prayers to you and your family.

Angela Gifford said...

Can't wait to hear the rest of your story - and completely identify with your journey.

Mary Lou said...

This young pastor has come and preached at our church ..Bellevue Baptist and we thought he was very, very good. He has the Hand of God on his ministry. What a blessing it will be with the two of you, working together...I am thinking you accepted the call. If I am wrong then God has other plans for Ben and for you...but I'm thinking you accepted....what a great adventure. Life is never dull with the Lord. Hope you still get to travel some with Beth... Blessings on your ministry.

a la carte said...

seriously excited and ready to hear the rest of the story...

Julie said...

Travis, my husband and I were members of EBC for almost 10 years before we moved for career reasons. Ken was a deacon the last year we were there. Englewood holds such a special place in my heart. It's still "our" church, and Ben is "our" pastor. I'm sending out prayers of blessing for you and your family. There's something indescribable going on at that place...I'm so thankful I was blessed to be a part of it for a short time. (We still visit from time to time, and may "crash" choir practice and say hello!)

Anonymous said...

Oh, for crying OUT LOUD. I'm a Preacher's Kid..I could right the rest of the story, but I also hate shows that are "to be continued"..guaranteed ratings for next week....well, you got me....hanging on the cliff here......

Sincerely,

A very blessed sister who had the opportunity to sing with you @ FBCartersville (GA) and was from the choir that you never could get the name right...Eastside, Marietta....a wonderful night of worship..now on with Part II before I get "so old, so old"

Anonymous said...

Didn't take me very long to find the details on this but I am not giving it away!! Travis gave enough hints in his story.....

The B's said...

SO EXCITED!!!! FINISH THE STORY!!!! :) Praying for y'all!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh..to be continued from the Cartersville concert comment above.....you were headed to sing with US the next night after Jackson!!! Oh, and I love to dig around for facts...found Ben's blog...love the "Oprah" chair interview....sorry, I can't stand not knowing...and I know where we will be visiting church when we're coming through TN! Blessings!

ocean mommy said...

dadgum you! I need part 2....

Margie said...

Praying for you!

Kim and Asa said...

Your music moves me so much. I was at the concert in Jackson and it wasn't just a concert....it was a worship experience! I'm sure that I wasn't the only one having a visit with the Father that night!

Kim
www.celebratinginchstones.blogspot.com

Debra Critcher said...

And that's it? Are you kidding me! You have lost your mind at 40. You can leave us hanging like that at the peak of the story!!!!! well blow up! ha ha

Three Fold Cord said...

Well, based on one of the other siestas comment about googling it I thought I would go myself. Just finished the interview on Ben's blog and I am thrilled that our God has miraculously showed up and spoken to you and your hearts. You guys inspire me and I am still laughing at the banter between you and Ben and your reference to Walk the Line.

I will pray for you as you continue to press into His heart about what it means to Worship in Spirit and truth!

My heart if filled with love for you and your family and the people you are moving to!

Alisa said...

How dare you to stop there! Finish the statement PLEASE?!?! :0) Alisa in Cheraw, SC

Sylvia's Song said...

Travis,

I am so ready for you to finish the story...this cliff hanger is too much. I pray God's Presence to continue to be upon you and your dear family where ever that leads. I wait anxiously to hear the rest of the story.

Blessings as you seek God's will and direction.

Sylvia V.
Jersey Village, TX

Cindy- My Life HIS Story said...

Oh!!! I know!! You are going to start a writing cliffhangers!!!
Gheez, dude, you trying to kill us out here in blogworld?

Melissa May said...

Hilarious. I bet you were GRINNING from ear to ear - maybe even laughing at all of us - when you hit publish on that one!!!! I love God stories. Can't wait to hear the rest of this one. : )

Nancy said...

You've got to be kidding...that's it???

Fran said...

Oh, you know I'm beyond thrilled about this story!!! I won't spoil anything here, but let me just say that there is nothing better than a great big ole unexpected God story that just blows me away!!!!

((hugs))
Fran

connorcolesmom said...

Oh my!!!
God is amazing isn't He
I can not wait to hear the rest of the story :)
God bless
Kim

Anonymous said...

I know all about your visit to Englewood. My sister goes there. I can't believe I may be able to go visit her and possibly get to worship with you while I there visiting. That will be a great! Pray the Lord's will and blessings!

Jan

Keri said...

Before I even finish this story I have to comment. My sister teaches at Jerusalem College with 2 Master's degrees in OT studies under her belt. She is incredibly gifted in teaching and very smart and has always SWORN she would never work for a church.

This past Fall she was in Houston for 6 months and a church that had sent a group to Isreal that was taught by her, asked her to do some teaching while here. She agreed and they promptly put her in the bulletin as a "visiting scholar". She asked for several copies of that first bulletin and the pastor was convinced it was because she felt she had "finally made it" with her name in the bulletin. On the contrary, she told him her friends would just not believe it had happened.

As I draw this overly long comment to a close I will say that I'm guessing how this story will end and I will tell you that the months she spent on staff at that church were some of the most rewarding for her. Amazing how something we thought we never wanted can turn out to be the exact thing the blesses us most!

P Hutch said...

So glad your call to lead a church in worship is my church!!!!!! Can't wait to worship the Lord with you and Ben directing us toward Him:)

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