In the past nine months, I haven’t been very public about all the details of my internal process. I was in a long transition to my next ministry assignment, and kept my internal process to trusted friends and mentors. I wanted people at my last church to know that I was fully present and onboard with them, until my final day. I love Cornerstone and a bit of my heart is still for the people there.
I am excited to share what is on my heart, and what the Lord is leading me into in greater detail.
Here it is…
I have become Anglican and am being trained as a priest.
That is right!
Collar and all!
My Journey to This Moment
At age 21 (2005) my buddy Mark Tedder told me about a church called “International Anglican Church”, in Colorado Springs, that was without a worship leader. I met with the priest who led the church named Ken Ross. While we were praying through if it was a good fit or not, I led worship for them.
In that time period, I received an offer for a worship leader position at another church and pulled my name out of the running at Ken’s church.
My brother in-law and sister began to attend “International Anglican Church” where my brother in-law became the youth pastor for a while, was mentored by Ken Ross, and then became a priest.
In 2007, I read the book “Surprised By Hope” by N.T. Wright. At that time, Wright was the Anglican bishop of Durham in England. He has become one of the most influential authors and theologians in my life.
When I was in high school, I became friends with a worship leader named Glenn Packiam. His ministry had a profound impact on my early ministry years. Over time Glenn moved from assistant worship pastor to taking over the Sunday night service at New Life Church. This service became a liturgical service. They moved the Sunday night service to downtown Colorado Springs as a multisite campus.
Ken Ross, from “International Anglican Church”, became the bishop over a diocese (group of churches) on the western half of the United States. He ordained Glenn as an Anglican priest in this diocese.
My brother in-law Jeff moved to Modesto to take over an Anglican Church in Bishop Ken Ross’s diocese, where the current lead pastor (rector) is transitioning into retirement. They called me in October of 2017 and asked me to prayerfully consider joining them in Modesto.
In January of 2018, my wife and I flew out to California to meet with Bishop Ken Ross and the leadership of “Wellspring Anglican Church” in Modesto. There I met with Bishop Ken personally to talk about moving forward to become a priest.
Last month (June of 2018), we moved from Gilbert, AZ to Modesto, CA. I now serve as the the Associate Pastor for “Wellspring Anglican Church”. It is crazy to look back at it all and see how God has made all of these relationships connect to this moment.
What is Anglicanism?
Here is a great article “9 Things You Should Really Know About Anglicanism”.
The “Via Media”
“Via Media” translates “middle way or compromise between extremes”. Anglicans celebrate diversity of different preferences and views.
The symbol for this idea is the compass rose. It represents the different tensions that we live in as Anglicans.
We are conservative in some ways and liberal in others.
We are orthodox in some ways and charismatic in others.
We are evangelical in some ways and Catholic in others.
We are activists in some ways and contemplative in others.
We try to avoid the extremes. While clergy, a congregation, or even a congregant can find themselves in different places on these spectrums, all are welcome as part of the Anglican family. For me, this brings healthy unity to the church.
Are We Catholic?
Clergy and leadership come from apostolic succession (or leadership has been handed off from one person to another since the apostles), in the same way that the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church does. It’s liturgy practice is similar to the Catholic Church, except it uses a different prayer book.
However… Anglicans consider themselves reformed protestants.
You can find out more about how we are similar and still set apart from the Roman Catholic church, by reading the 39 articles.
Isn’t Anglicanism Overly Ritualistic and Religious”?
Christian religion is the practices of prayer, worship, scripture, creed, sacrament, and justice that form us into Christ-like people. Christian religion is what binds us to the Christian faith Only by the practices of Christian religion will we survive the tsunami of secularism. – Brian Zahnd
Let’s face it… some things that modern evangelicalism lacks are:
-Tying into our past as we worship corporately
-Formative/contemplative practices of prayer and meditation
-The understanding of faith formation while worshipping
-Grace in differences in theology and expression
-Focusing on community and not just individual faith
-A care for theology rooted in scripture and influenced by history
Anglicanism is rooted in history and liturgical worship that ties us to more than our individual selves. These elements and practices, that I believe are present in the fabric of Anglicanism, are essential for the shaping of a deep rooted faith.
I am seeing more and more Christians who were raised in church choose to leave evangelicalism (or fundamentalism) for a more historic and liturgical expression. I have also met many burnt out ex-evanglical ministry leaders that are finding refreshment and refuge in churches and traditions like (and including) Anglicanism.
So why would a mega church worship pastor leave a giant, successful, and well known church to join a non-flashy, contemplative, traditional one? I have found myself resonating with Brian Zahnd over the last few years. He is a mega church pastor who’s church was also once one of the fastest growing churches in America. He went through a similar process that I have gone through and am still in. This is what he wrote about the moment that he knew he needed to pursue something different and lead people in something different.
I was wrestling with the uneasy feeling that the faith I had built my life around was somehow deficient. Not wrong, but lacking. It seemed watery, weak. In my most honest moments I couldn’t help but notice that the faith I knew seemed to lack the kind of robust authenticity that made Jesus so fascinating. And I had always been utterly fascinated by Jesus. What I knew was that the Jesus I believed in warranted a better Christianity than what I was familiar with.” – Brian Zahnd – from his book “Water to Wine”
I resonate with this deeply!
Here is a great video from Glenn Packiam. This is an album and book that he wrote and is helpful in understanding historical liturgy and worship.
Here is the book (click to purchase):
Thank you all for reading. Please continue to pray for me and my ministry.
If you have questions or comments, please leave them in the comments below. I will respond!