We were given a lot of advice about church planting and we are grateful for all of it! However, one of those tidbits was the knowledge that we didn’t really need to pursue a youth pastor because many church plants don’t attract teenagers…
But then there’s the God factor.
As Mark and I started to pray about the staff situation, a couple came to my mind repeatedly. I did not even know their names…they were just faces that would later on become priceless to this journey.
I went to Mark one day and said, “There was a couple at camp last year. You spoke with the guy’s wife. I think his name is Matt? He was on the drama team at Northwest…you know? I can’t remember his wife’s name either…is it Angel? I think we’re supposed to call them to join our church planting team.”
First of all, that’s not the brillant networking skills that I would like to take pride in. But when you just know something is from God, you don’t question it, you just do it. So, Mark went on a manhunt for Matt and Angel’s phone number, figured out their names were Jeff and Angela, and called them on Dec. 26, 2005. We wanted to wait until after Christmas to mess up their lives.
We met with the Welks in January of 2006 and by May they had gotten new jobs, moved here, and decided to fulfill the role of youth pastor (among a million other things!).
I’ve already mentioned Angela in The Velvet Hammer post, so I’ll tell you about Jeff. He is eloquent, charismatic, funny, and talented in too many areas to list. He’s from a family with a heritage of incredible men. His family is the type of people who puts together puzzles without looking at the box, and that is exactly how Jeff navigates ministry. He’s already got the big picture in his mind and he is a master at manipulating the pieces to achieve what the picture needs to look like.
He is very different than my husband in the way they think, which provides a teamwork that is near perfection. They often remind me of the verse about iron sharpening iron. They are both strong leaders, but there strengths and weaknesses are polar opposites. Together they cover the other’s blind spots.
Jeff chose youth ministry, but I struggle putting him in a box. He is much more than just any one position could define. He is a partner in ministry, a selfless martyr of comfort for the cause, a shining example of a Godly man, and a man whose instincts for leadership are keen.
My gut tells me that God has an agenda for Jeff’s life that is vital to the church…not just our church, but the bigger picture of the kingdom of God. So, remember the name Matt..I mean, Jeff Welk. He’s going to be one of those guys in Heaven with a lot of crowns to cast at the feet of Jesus.