Big Announcement

I’m extremely excited to be the Senior Pastor of The Summit church in Canyon Texas.

God knows what He’s doing. Two years ago, God begin to reveal to me that change was coming.

We have served at Church of the Harvest for 15 years, and we’ve been friends with Kirk and Nancy Pankratz, Senior Pastors there, for 20 years. So this move is a big change for all of us.

When we came to harvest my oldest daughter Taylor was 3 years old. Today she’s in her freshmen year of college and from that time till this it seems like a flash.

Over that fifteen years we have developed deep, lasting friendships. We have experienced some great memories. We’ve worked side by side with some great men and women of God and God has given us huge dreams and begun to bring those dreams to reality.

I have to say that while I wasn’t really looking for a reason to leave Harvest I wasn’t surprised when this journey began. God has developed some things in me over the last few years for a purpose. And when I realized it would be somewhere else an incredible metamorphosis began.

I’ve learned when God is about to change things externally He starts by changing things internally. I begin to see things differently, I struggled with feeling disloyal to my pastor, I struggled with fear of change, I struggled with being able to see what a new life would look like. But God walked our entire family through this process and 2 years later we couldn’t be more excited, empowered, released and ready to take all that we’ve learned and build the far reaching dreams that God has placed in our hearts for His kingdom.

As we go along I will blog about this two year journey, I know the things we have experienced will help many, especially those in some kind of transition.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to make a change. There is the way of integrity and confidence, then there is the way of dishonesty and cowardice. We didn’t want to leave we wanted to be sent.

We have committed to do it right and be a model for those who are being called out and sent out.

After a year of clear direction and confirmation we knew it was time to tell our Pastors what God was telling us. Their response was everything you would expect from a spiritual mom and dad. Shocked but not surprised. Accepting and loving. Grace filled and mournful. Pride and concern. A true spirit of partnership and release, an empowering response.

After we told them we thought an opportunity would come immediately and we would be on our way, but five months passed and we had no open doors. Those were some of the most educational months of my life. (I’ll write about them later), biggest lesson? Trust God!

Then it happened, through a relationship we were connected to a wonderful church and people in Canyon Texas called The Summit. It is everything God Spoke to us about. The people, the timing, the potential, everything.

I never thought I would live in Texas, and was completely unfamiliar with the panhandle. However when we drove into the community of Canyon for the first time it was like God deposited a love for the place in our hearts immediately. It’s an awesome place. The people are amazing, the church is wonderful and the future vision God has for this place is palpable to us.

We know significant things are coming, for the region, and from this place we will reach around the world.

Janae and I and the girls have never felt more alive, more purposed or excited about our future.

It is our Honor to serve the people of The Summit as their pastor, to serve the people of the panhandle region and most importantly to serve God in doing His will and building His Kingdom!

We look forward to Leading to the future, to the purpose, dreams and , vision God has for The Summit.

So the journey has been long and at times arduous but we have reached the Summit and we are ready to look out over the promise land and finally with all of our strength, energy, and enthusiasm cross over!

So we are saying our goodbyes which are really “see you laters” to the people of Harvest and our hello’s to the welcoming arms of the People of The Summit and we believe that what God has sent us out to do will be accomplished.

Exciting days ahead!

Leadership Training it’s imperative all over the world

Wow! What a day! It’s 7:30 pm and I am leaving kampong Cham and going Phnom Penh. It’s been an eventful day.

It started early this morning in prayer and study looking over the Me kong river. Went from that to breakfast with Pastor Meng Hong. A good man and pastor with a huge heart. After breakfast we went to the hall where the pastors conference was already in progress. There were 54 pastors in attendance. It was a great day of interaction. I taught two leadership development sessions and then we had lunch and when we returned I taught on marriage and ministry. I found that the same relational issues exist everywhere in the world. It was quite funny.

While I was teaching, the team was working at the Hope center. They worked on such projects as painting the gates, creating a new walk way, and two different landscaping projects. Some of the team went to the market to prepare for the party tonight. Buying the clothes, backpacks, school supplies and toiletries. This is not an easy job. Buying for 31 orphans is definitely a major task. A big thanks goes out to signature dental who provided toothbrushes, and toothpaste for all the kids.

So the team and I all met back at the hotel and rushed to get ready for the party. This requires, getting all the elements organized all the gift bags filled all the roles disseminated. Big Props to autumn and Taylor and our Cambodian coordinator Kimmy.

We went to the hall we rented for the party, got the music going, blew up balloons hung up the decorations, set out the stations-coloring, nails/hair/make up for the girls to make them feel special. A balloon station where team members make balloon animals for the kids, a twister station, a painting station, a scarf making session. Just the biggest party you’ve ever seen.

They love it. Every year they just get so excited. It’s like Christmas. We party, dance and then have the big gift give away.

This year I was only able to stay for the very first part so I left to go to phnom penh. I have an early morning meeting with the staff at new life and then a lunch meeting with the expat teams at new life. Looking forward to all of those.

God is so good. All the time! I miss my girls but love what God is doing. At least I have one of my girls with me. The team will finish the party tonight then have a soccer clinic tomorrow with the hope center children.

Then we are almost finished. It’s gone fast. I can’t say enough about this team. Each one of them have been superb in every way. Everything you want in a team.

Team:

Autumn Ellis -harvest Okc Campus
Taylor Gadberry – Harvest Edmond Campus
Louie Hamilton – harvest Okc campus
Micah Nimmo – harvest Okc Campus
Chandler Boyce- harvest Okc campus
Lauren Lee – harvest edmond Campus
Mariah Johnson – Your Place Church Pryor, Ok
Rachel Strange- Your Place church Pryor, ok
Angela Tracy – harvest Stillwater campus
Jordan Hodgden. – harvest Norman Campus
Chad Raunborg – harvest Okc campus
Ashley Newey – St Luke’s Okc
Adrienne Jefferis – harvest Okc campus.

You should be proud of these committed people who have given their time and treasure to this cause and they have made a difference.

We love you all who have made this possible. Thanks

Almost There

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Arrived in Tai Pei about an hour ago. The long flight seemed short. Most of the team slept most of the way. We are so excited to finally be on this side of the world.

We will be here for about another 2 hrs then off to cambodia. Because of the lost time we will need to take off to the province almost immediately.

So pray for us as this will be a long and tiring day but well worth every second. We can’t wait to see Pastor Sokhan and Esther and all the kids.

We are expecting a great time and to be able to help them significantly with the time we have. These pastors are so committed, it is our pleasure to come along side and support and resource.

Team is doing well, and we
Are moving forward.

ACTION

Ethnolinguistic map of Uganda.

Image via Wikipedia

As I sit here at the watoto village called Subi I realize the difference between talk and action.  It is clear that much of the church world can talk with the best of them.  We have a tendancy to tell about the things we are going to do, or cast vision about what we should do, but There is a significant difference between talk and action.  We all know this, but when you are in Uganda and you see the results of acting on what you say it is an eye opening experience.

It seems to be this simple for the Skinners.  Uganda has an orphan and Widow problem, we are going to do something about it, lets take them in.  Now what ever that means in terms of practically building facilities, raising leaders, creating a philosophy is merely steps of action on the way to doing something about the problem.

James said, I’ll show you my faith by my works.  Yes we must talk, we must share, we must cast vision, but at some point for things to change, action has to be taken, and if we just keep it simple the “way” to do it will become clear, as long as we are committed to ACTION!

Power in Partnership…

Well, we only have two and half days before we head home.  That seems so fast, but I think everyone will be ready by then.  I would say that the key word to this years global reach to Africa is Partnership.  I have had so much fun this year in building some new relationships and partnering together to make a difference around the world.

God has partnered us with some great people who have a heart like we do to reach the world.  God has put a new friend in my life this last year, that I have grown to value a great deal.  A man named John Osborne.  He is the director of ROC (Rwanda Outreach Coalition), and works at OC in their program to help Rwandan Students as well as working with Christ Church Rwanda.  He has connected me with some more new friends.  Brian Hixton a great man, who has a heart like God.  He cares for people, and is an exceptional planner and details man.  Which just means, he cares a lot.  Pastor David The Senior Pastor at Christ Church and His team, Pastor Rusty, Pastor Eddie, and Pastor Moses.  What a great team.  These men and their wives have made commitments to the cause of Jesus that few have, and it is apparent that God is using them in a mighty way.

We partnered with them in Rwanda, partnered with Watoto in Uganda, partnering through the local church is where its at.  The only way to make a long term impact is to partner with long term local church teams.  I urge all short term missions programs out there, to take a hard look at the way you are doing what you do, make sure it is connected an partnered with a long term local church partner.  If you don’t, you may feel like you are making an impact but in the long run, it’s a shot in the dark.  You can know that your efforts are not in vein and have a long term impact through partnership.

I urge you long termers to use the energy, passion, and gifts of short term teams to help train your teams and give you a big momentum bump when you can.  Ive always been a partnership person, and now more than ever.  Church its time we took the limits off, joined hands, and let God do His thing.

I’m inspired and truly appreciate the power in partnership.  Its a divine principle established by God, lets do it, partner.

Latest update from Uganda

Downtown Uganda

Image via Wikipedia

We have had a great time so far here in Uganda. The team went out and built today at the Watoto village. What an experience. It is so moving to know that building a classroom in a Watoto village can impact generations. I would like to say thanks to all of you who have been praying for us, and for those who contributed to the cause of Global Reach Africa financially. You have made it possible for us to fulfill the mandate God has given us to right wrongs where we can.

There are over 2.5 million orphans in Uganda, and partnering with Watoto is the best way we can do something about that. They are truly the real deal. They are reaching out now to South Africa and looking forward to the sudan in the near future. My world enlarges and dreams get bigger just being around these great people. They are the best kind of dreamers too. Unassuming, humble, and relentless. Let the devil do what he does, let the circumstances be what they may. We will use obstacles as opportunities and see the promise in the problem.

The team is doing so well. The chemistry on this team is so incredible. As I type this up, I can hear them upstairs playing cards together and laughing and enjoying life. Work hard, play hard, its the only way to be. God is so good.

Everyone is doing fine, feeling well, and can’t believe the trip is almost over. We are missing home and anxious to see everyone but God is doing some great things here.

Tomorrow we build some more, then dedicate the building, then thursday we get to visit the different villages, and those who have sponsored Watoto kids get to visit with their sponsored child.

If you are a part of harvest, let me encourage you, that you can change your world right at home right now. We are right in the middle of our summer server opportunities, and their is a mission field in your back yard through our major outreaches that go on all summer. Kids camp, Foster kids camp, and Youth America. Share your faith today, with your words, and with the expression of the Love of Jesus.