I've been putting this off for weeks. For whatever reason, there's been some resistance to me just sitting down and writing.
That's nothing new. All creatives experience the resistance I guess. Not sure I need to spend any more time making excuses for my procrastination though....
So here it goes. A blog post with a major update on the Fancher family.
For some time (a year in fact) I have been floundering a little. I don't want to get too negative here, but it's basically been a long season of me trying to find my way. I personally knew that God was making some waves in my soul, but didn't have much clarity on the "what".
My wife and I moved here (In Greensboro, NC where this post is being written) in 2010 to take a staff position at a wonderful church. My role has primarily been leading the worship ministry and youth, in addition to wearing a lot of other hats.
It's been an amazing 5 years. We came here believing God was calling us, and when I look back, I see his handiwork proving his faithfulness every step of the way. I also see a young and zealous Nate Fancher being quite humbled and stretched over the last 6 years.
Starting a year ago in February of 2015, I began slowly phasing out of my staff role, as my plate became more full with things outside the church. One of those things was a job with Centricity Music Publishing. I was contracted to help manage their social media, and maintain the CentricWorship website.
Since then, more has been added to my plate with CentricWorship, and I am now Managing Editor of the brand. (I'll be producing a new podcast for them soon, but more on this later).
But most of 2015 was a year of uncertainty. I wasn't sure about ministry or how things would look. I tried to get more clients like Centricity with a digital marketing business that I started, but the more clients I got I just got more stressed, confused and uncertain of my overall direction.
It was hard for us to think about leaving Living Way Church - a church rich in love for Jesus, a faithfulness to the Bible, and rock-solid relationships built on the gospel - but we knew God was calling us out and into something new, we just didn't know what yet.
CHURCH OF THE KING
Things began to shift in November of 2015 when I was prompted by a friend and mentor to connect with a church planter named Jason Robinson. Pastor Jason and I met over the telephone and exchanged our life stories.
Jason had been the student ministry pastor of Church Of The King in Mandeville, LA, for 15 years before moving to the Houston area last August. He was sent out, along with 50+ people from their church, to plant a new church in Katy, TX - dubbed the fastest growing US zip code of 2013.
Here's a short video that goes a little into their story....
HOW THINGS PROGRESSED FOR US
They needed a worship and creative arts guy. And me? Well, even though I said I was open to anything, the thought of moving to Texas was no where on the screen.
In fact, after that first phone conversation, I remember telling Katie something like:
"It sounds like a neat church plant, and a great opportunity for someone. I'm open to whatever God has, but I don't see us moving our family to Houston Texas - that's for sure."
By the way, when you say things like "I'm open to whatever God has", get ready for that to be tested....
Pastor Jason and I followed up again a few weeks later, this time to see if we wanted to take them up on flying us out to meet him and his wife, and to see the church plant first hand.
We took them up on it and went out the weekend of January 10th, a week before their public launch on January 17th.
God really surprised us. We came back home with a sense that God could be in this - and it sure didn't help that these people, and what God was doing in this church was so awesome.
So we began to pray. Over the next few weeks, our hearts began to go out to the people of Katy, TX, but more than that we started to sense God getting our attention in our walks with Him. He was calling us out of our comfort zone, reminding us of our primary call in Christ to surrender our lives to Him.
It's almost as if it was less about Texas and more about the simple question of whether or not we would really follow Jesus anywhere. I started to ask myself if I was really as "open to anything" as I said I was.
Our natural desire was to stay in North Carolina; to raise our kids where we can take them to beautiful mountains in the fall and sandy white beaches in the spring. To continue having all the people and things we love right at out fingertips. For me North Carolina has been my home for the last 14 years. 30 years for Katie.
THE WEEKEND OF FEB 8TH
A month later we took one more trip and viewed it as our final confirmation trip. We were sensing pretty strongly that this was God, but we wanted to go one more time. This time to lead worship with the team and experience the whole setting up and tearing down in a new way (they meet in a junior high school and roll everything in on carts early Sunday mornings).
It was great to be back and see ourselves being a part of the church plant this time around, looking at it through more serious lenses. We were excited, and of course a little scared.
Leaving home and going to a place you don't know isn't easy....
Unless you're following Jesus.
So, yep.... we're packing up everything and going to the Lone Star State.
We put our little house in Greensboro on the market last week (February 24th) and it went under contract 5 days later. That's pretty fast for selling a house. God must be in this....
Our closing date (and Lord willing the week of our move) is April 12th.
This whole thing has reignited something in me where I'm excited again to simply be a follower of Jesus. The specifics of the calling (people, place, job, etc...) are all so secondary to the simple call of following Jesus wherever he says go.
What matters is that Jesus is leading, and he's with us. He's trustworthy.
I'm reminded a lot these days about Jesus' words in Matthew 19:23 where he talks about the reward of following him:
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
In the natural, this whole this is so crazy. I don't have a job, there are no guarantees, and we're moving 17 hours away from everything we know and love.
But when you look at the returns on the investment of following Jesus, and you stop to consider that this life is all about Him anyway, it's the easiest and smartest choice in the world.
I've been eager to write this post for some time as I said at the top here. There are many who aren't connected to me locally who have been close friends for years, who have been in the dark as to what's been going on. I want to thank those of you who have been a part of my own online journey, and supported me through my podcasts and blog.
To those of you who are right in our own backyard, we love you. We're eternally grateful for those of you who have been there for us, praying with us and encouraging us in Christ. Don't forget that this isn't really "good-bye". It's simply "see you later".
And, actually, we'll be taking you with us.... Join us in prayer and be a part of this chapter by signing up for our newsletter here.
A big part of our plan is to raise our own support through a team of dedicated ministry partners that I've already started to build. The church will hire me as soon as they are able, but we felt it was necessary to go ahead and jump in full time.
To trust God for our finances instead of looking for a job in the area has been quite a mind shift. But as I've been praying and studying God's word on the subject, it's the perfect (and arguably the best) way to experience God's supernatural hand on the call that He has called you to. This is His ministry. He's more than able to fund it.
We'll be sharing the journey as it unfolds right here at the blog, and to make sure that you don't miss the excitement, you can subscribe here to be a part of the journey with us.
As we go, I want to share the vision and mission of the church plant with you, and if you would join us in prayer and gospel partnership, we would be blown away.
So here we go. Stepping out of a boat into the unknown is definitely scary, but walking on water and trusting Jesus? That's nothing less than pure excitement.