I don’t think I was looking for you when I found you, but maybe I was.
We walked in, weary from six months of shopping around on Sunday mornings for a place to learn, a place to worship, and a place to call home.
We were not looking to move to Hollywood. We were not looking to enter into a season of bivocational ministry (we didn’t even know what that meant). We were not looking for a reason to stick around Los Angeles after finishing up grad school.
But somehow we found those things and more when we found you.
A creative and eclectic community.
Risk takers and question askers.
Open to ideas and input.
A piece of clay willing to restart the potter’s wheel when a new shape was more conducive to faithfulness on mission – even when painful and disorienting.
It was a Saturday morning and I was sitting beside the little pool in our student housing apartment. My phone rang and it was JR, asking me if I’d be interested and able to preach the next day at our Kairos gathering.
It had been about a year since we had first walked in the doors. Sure, why not?
Psalm 80 was the text, and I spoke about lament as a communal practice. Restore us, not restore me. This is about us, together. Mistakes and gifts, pain and grace all swirled about in the mixing bowl of life together in community.
I broke some rules I’ve since set for myself. I used too much Hebrew. I spoke too long. I used a lot of umms and you knows which, umm, I still use a lot. You know?
But you let me speak. You were encouraging, you pushed back, and we kept moving forward.
And you let me lead. Or, more accurately, you challenged and expanded what I thought leadership was, and then invited me into that.
You are the type of community that does not pedestal its pastors. Sometimes I had the mic and sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I answered and sometimes I questioned. You did the same. It was always a conversation and never a monologue.
I was a pastor but I was also a husband and a dad and you didn’t ask me to put those things to the side for any greater cause. The cause was simply our life together and inviting and seeing how God worked in our midst. To be a dad, a husband, a friend, an employee, a neighbor, a patron, a servant – these were all deeply embedded in my job description as a pastor in our community.
The greatest compliment I received during our season with you, Kairos Hollywood, was not about speaking, counseling teaching, administering, budgeting, hosting, or teaching. It was that the three of us who were called to equip, lead, and pastor the community, equipped, led, and pastored alongside. Not from the front, not from behind a microphone or podium, not from a high and lofty place above – but alongside.
So I am grateful to you, Kairos Hollywood (and, also, to our brothers and sisters in Kairos Los Angeles churches across the city) for helping me find my voice, for allowing me to guide, equip and shepherd, for showing me that to pastor is to walk alongside.
I’m grateful for who you are – a group of people centered on Jesus, listening to the voice of God and responding in the faithfulness made possible through the power of the Spirit.