We are super excited to announce that I have taken a position with Bay Area Community Church!!
Bay Area is located in Annapolis – the capital of Maryland, home of the Naval Academy, and just 30 minutes from D.C. My main role will be equipping and coaching their 60 Missional Communities (like small groups) to become a missionary family of servant disciples. Bay Area has also invited me to help with their School of Biblical Leadership as well as help equip their residents-in-training for vocational ministry. I also get to be involved in their Sent Network that has already planted 17 churches in the Mid-Atlantic region. Honestly, this is my dream job working with amazing people at an amazing church!
I was told that finding a pastoral call might take 9-15 months. Thankfully we had enough money in the bank to be financially stable until the summer of 2019. So there was no pressure to find a job quickly. God, however, wanted to reveal our path quicker than we expected.
I was randomly connected to Bay Area through a headhunter. She thought we might be a good match, and connected me to Brian Hopper. I had an incredible phone interview with him. In fact, it felt like I was talking to an old friend. After my second interview, Brian and his team invited Sandi and me to visit Bay Area. So within a few weeks, we were packing our bags for a weekend visit.
Sandi and I had never been to Maryland before, so we were curious to see what it was like. From the time we landed, God began to show us his fingerprints everywhere. Sandi and I had prayed that we would be in a community where we felt completely ourselves, and be a family of true friends. That’s what we found at Bay Area!
One of the questions I was asked that weekend was “How do you think God has prepared you for being the Pastor of Missional Communities at Bay Area?” I re-told the story of how I was lifting weights at the gym, listening to the vision talk given by their Senior Pastor, Greg. In the talk, he said that it was Bay Area’s vision for “everyone to be a missionary.” When I heard Pastor Greg say that, I threw up my bench-press, stood up and shouted, “Yes! That’s what God is calling me too: To help Bay Area train their missional communities to be a family of missionaries.” When I told this to the search team, one guy shouted “Yes! I think we need to applaud!”
The next morning, I went to breakfast with the chairman of the elders to see if we were theological compatible. I had written down all my questions, ready to talk doctrinal views. The elder looked over his glasses at me and said, “Allen, there is something you need to know about me. For several years, I served as the headmaster of a boarding school for missionary kids in Germany. It’s my understanding that you have moved your daughters several times since you’ve been back from Peru. So I have a question for you: How are your two older girls doing?” I was a puddle of tears before we could even talk about theology. His true shepherd’s heart was for the well-being of my high school missionary kids. Very few people would have that kind of perception for our third culture kids. I knew that I had found elders who would truly shepherd my family.
That afternoon, I met with the Senior Pastor, Greg, and his wife. Sandi and I found out that he and his wife had served in Poland for over a decade before moving to Annapolis. Our stories were so similar it was spooky! The craziest part is that I found out that my college pastor, Len Woods, led Greg to Christ years ago. Greg then told me, “the position you are applying for is a mission-critical position at our church. Our mission is ‘to make passionate, maturing followers of Christ’ and we want to do that in the context of Missional Communities. However, we are not doing that very well and we would like you to help us figure that out.” And that’s exactly what I wanted to do!
Here’s one more of God’s fingerprint during our visit. There are only 9 families in the world whose children grew up with our kids in Peru. One of those families now lives in Annapolis. It’s been said that missionary kids are the only ones who truly get other missionary kids, so knowing that this family lives in Annapolis was an amazing blessing for our family.
Sandi and I are fully convinced that God is calling our family to serve at Bay Area Community Church. And I haven’t been this excited in a long, long time!