I don’t know about you, but I often wonder how current world events and even my actions and decisions will affect the generations and world of the future. Some refer to this as the butterfly effect, a seemingly meaningless event (like the flap of a butterfly’s wings) having enormous subsequent effects. Where should I go for lunch? Should I take this job? Should I move there? Should I marry her? Should we have a child? While the butterfly effect is only a theory, we do know that God sovereignly ordains every event (minuscule and massive) in history and has an intricate plan and chain of events that He is unfolding (Psalm 139:16; Prov. 16:33, Acts 4:27-28). Outside of God’s revelation in His Word we cannot know the specifics of the future, let alone how our actions will affect the future. But we can rest in the comfort that we have a God who knows all things (Psalm 139:1-6), is in control of all things (Ephesians 1:11), and knows the beginning from the end (Isaiah 46:10).
Almost 3 years ago exactly I wrote the above introduction for an article for Faith Bible Church. I am astounded at the relevance and accuracy of these words 3 years on.
In September 2018, my wife and I returned to England eight and a half years after we had left. We moved to Spokane in 2010 with hearts for ministry but the knowledge that I needed to be equipped if I wanted to honor the Lord in whatever ministry He called me to. We landed at Faith Bible Church where, at the time, my brother-in-law was the youth Pastor. I took a job at a bank, and Claire and I served as small group leaders in youth ministry for a year, and college ministry for 4 years, I was also in the aspiring men program. Through this time, the elders and some of my other mentors at Faith affirmed that Seminary would be a good next step, so in 2015 we moved down to LA where I attended The Master’s Seminary for 3 years.
Through our time in the States, it had always been in mind that we might return to the UK to serve in a church there. Towards the end of seminary that thought became a reality. We moved back to England (now with 5 kids as well!) to serve in the church where I was saved as a teenager, with the idea that I would eventually take over from the Pastor when he retired. Needless to say, our plan was different than the Lord’s plan.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.(Proverbs 19:21)
Though we were fully invested in the mission and the work, over my initial 2 years at the church, it became clear that the 2 elders and I had different views on some key doctrines, and vision for the church that meant it would have been very difficult for us to continue together. I made the heart wrenching decision to resign, and the Lord led us back to Faith.
One year ago, moving back to Faith was not on my radar at all, but thankfully I don’t make the plans, and I am not in control, it is God who knows all things, is in control of all things, and knows the end from the beginning.
While the Lord has changed our course in terms of our location, our mission is still the same, to make disciples for the glory of God. Claire and I are thrilled and humbled to have been blessed with another opportunity to serve God in this way in the youth ministry and seminary at Faith.
I don’t make the plans, and I am not in control. It is God who knows all things, is in control of all things, and knows the end from the beginning. Ian Rush
It’s easy to be confused when considering the purpose of youth ministry. I think it’s most helpful to remember that youth ministry is just an extension of family ministry within the church, at least it should be. Youth ministry at Faith exists to support parents, as they seek to honor Christ in their marriages and parenting. We are not here to take the reins from parents, but to support and serve them as they lead their families.
As I wrap this up, I want to leave you with a couple of encouragements.
Though the way He directs is not always the way we would choose, it is the best way, and it is the way that brings Him the most glory
Marriage is the unique relationship through which Christ has chosen to reflect His love for the church. Husbands and wives, your marriage should reflect the love of Christ has shown for His church, He died for the church!
If you are a believer, and you have children, God has entrusted you with the responsibility of discipling your children. This is a weighty task, but you don’t need to do it alone, that’s why the church is here. Through the Holy Spirit Christ enables us; and through the church, God provides the teaching, encouragement, and support we need to do the work He has commissioned us to do.
For more about Ian’s journey, check out this episode of Faith Matters.