My church turned 30

My parents were called to start a church 30 years ago. Thirty years later, that little seed has grown into a mighty congregation full of life and faith and service to our God. It's probably the coolest thing I've gotten to be a part of. I've been reflecting on the role this church served in my life, and it's huge. Really huge.

We had a celebration last night at Shepherd of the Valley. A trip down memory lane with lots of pictures and stories of days gone by when the church was much smaller...when I was much smaller. It was an awesome night filled with music and laughter and catch-up conversations with old friends. So much to be thankful for.
My dad asked me to speak, which I always love. Especially when I get to tell stories about the church that made me. Here's what I said:

All my life I’ve been asked if I like being a pastor’s kid. And the answer to that question has always been an easy one for me. I adore being a pastor’s kid. There are perks with this role that I’ve never taken for granted. For example, I always knew where the tins of hospitality shortbread cookies were stashed. And I utilized this knowledge. Often.

I also had full access to the Christmas costumes, so that when I decided to be Little Bo Peep in 3rd grade for Halloween, I was able to complete my costume with a shepherd’s staff.

But there is a part of being a pastor’s kid that is a bit unnerving. And it happens on Sunday morning in churches around the world. Pastor’s Kids are listening closely to the sermon, wondering if their parent is going to drop their name, and if so, what damaging story is about to be told.

Now to be really honest, there was a season in my life when I was eager to be a sermon illustration. I would ask Dad early in the week what the gospel was for that weekend. And I would respond casually, “Oh the feeding of the 5,000? Have I ever told you about the time I…”

But it was the unexpected stories that you had to be ready for.

I was 16, and on a Friday after school I went to Lifetime Fitness in Eagan to workout. I was going straight to a dance at Rosemount high school and got ready at the club but stopped by Subway to get supper before going to the dance to meet up with my friends. When I got there I decided just to eat in a booth instead of in the car. But as I ate my sub a group of peers walked in.

That night after the dance, I went into my parent’s room and told them how strange it is to feel so fully confident, but then to worry so much about what you look like from the outside. I knew I had plans. I knew I had a fun night. But I still just felt so dumb.

The next night I was sitting with the High School Praise team at the Saturday night service. Dad was telling of mountaintops and valleys in our everyday lives. He told about my sister Annika who was traveling in Thailand at that time and how each day brought adventure and excitement and something new.

Then he transitioned to his daughter Rebecca…
who had just learned the loneliness…
of eating alone at Subway…
on a Friday night.

Can you imagine?! I died. I was sitting with friends. Kendra Rick was buckled over in laughter. She thought this was the funniest thing she had ever heard.

That was 15 years ago, and I guess I just wanted to take this time to clarify on this, the 30th anniversary of Shepherd of the Valley, and be sure you all knew that I had plans that night. Ok? Okay.

***

The night was so fun. Can't get over how powerful it is to relive your roots, remember your history, and celebrate all God has done in all of our lives.

If you missed the night, there are tons of pictures on flickr and are so fun to see. I identify so strongly with the growth of this church. The picture below is when the church and I turned four.

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