Leaving, Grieving and Dreaming

I am sitting at my desk and chair at the church I’ve served for 9 years for the last time. The hugs and goodbyes have been heartfelt and encouraging as we step into this new challenge in downtown L.A. I couldn’t help but be nostalgic as I sorted through books and files that I’ve collected while pastoring here.


One paper I came across was 15 years old. It was my application essay for Fuller Seminary’s MDiv program that I applied to in 1996. What struck me was my description of the ministry I served at that time as the College Director for Bel Air Presbyterian in Los Angeles. Back in the spring of 1996 when I wrote the essay there were about 100-200 of us who gathered each Sunday night for worship, teaching, prayer and fellowship that I helped build as a volunteer. What I didn’t know at the time was that the following fall when I would come on staff full-time, it would miraculously swell to 400 students coming each week. It was nothing that I necessarily did except to continue to be faithful as a leader of God’s people and to do my best to help each student grow in their relationship with the Lord and understanding of God’s big kingdom picture.

What an encouragement it was to me to remember God’s faithfulness 15 years ago to bless a ministry in numbers and spiritual vitality. Those were very good times of God’s unexpected blessings. I am praying and dreaming for a portion of that blessing as I serve Union Church of Los Angeles in the coming years. Our God is faithful to finish the work that He began in each one of us and I believe that applies to me and my family right now and our churches as well. I am praying for God’s blessing as I begin my new ministry this weekend to a new group of parishioners who have already welcomed our family even though we don’t know exactly what lies ahead. Thank you for all of your prayers for us in our new adventure. Lord, give us Your dreams!


5 thoughts on “Leaving, Grieving and Dreaming

  1. Dear Tim,
    I cannot believe you are leaving us too!! Wow, what a change in our lives has been cast upon us. Yet, we all must accept that it is God’s will and desire to grow us closer to Him.
    We are thrilled for you to be able to have your own church. You are most deserving and will be fabulous. They are so lucky to have you. You grew the Saturday night service so rapidly for which St. Andrews is grateful.
    Unfortunately we have been out of town for the month of March so it all came as a surprise to us to have you leaving. Thus, we were not here to celebrate with you upon your departure. I am sure there was a cast of thousands who were able to make it though. We were back in Boston for the baptism of our grandson who had been born prematurely in Sept. at 3 lbs. 13 oz….5 weeks ahead of schedule. It was a wonderful celebration for all of us to see how well he is doing and how God has cared for him.
    We have 2 very good friends in Japan who were with us during our time in Singapore. They seem to be doing well and are such strong people. How appropriate for you to get your calling to Union church at this time of crisis. I am sure you have your work cut out for you.
    We just wanted you to know you will be missed but we do hope to come to Little Tokyo to hear you and see your church one of these days. Our best to your family.
    May God bless you in this new calling.
    Love and gratitude to you,
    Betty and John Middleton

    • Betty and John: I can’t wait for you two to visit our church. I’m already beginning to recognize the Spirit at work at Union Church and would welcome you to see it firsthand. Thanks so much for your support and prayers. I hope to see you soon.

  2. hey- Just ran across your blog. stoked you are doing this. I remember us flying to Seattle for that class (and me actually passing it) I’m only 1 exam (polity) away from being done with my ordination process. Looking forward to finishing and following God’s call. We all have different paths in this process. Mine has been perfect for me. I’m stoked for you and LA. Love your url. Well done grabbing that.

    • Thanks for checking out the blog and commenting! I am on this incredible adventure in downtown LA and already meeting some great people and having some wonderfully enriching conversations. Let me know the next time you are in Southern Cal and we’ll get some time together. I enjoy following your blog posts as well!

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