A New Call

22 years ago, on September 19, 2000, I pulled into the parking lot of Truro Church in Fairfax, VA, riding shotgun in the moving truck that my dad was driving, to move my family and me up from Florida. My dad had accepted a position as an associate rector (i.e. associate pastor) at Truro, and so I found myself uprooted from all that was familiar, and thrown into the deep end of life in Northern Virginia.

I stayed at Truro while I finished high school and began college, and got involved in ministry there as much as I could (worship, kids, youth, etc.). I also met and began dating Catherine – the daughter of the other associate rector at the time – and eventually would marry her!

In my junior year of college I left Truro and joined the staff of The Falls Church Anglican, where I served in ministry for ten years. While there, I began to discern that God was calling me to be ordained, and so I began taking seminary classes on the side, while balancing a full-time ministry position and a growing family.

Eventually, in 2014, to my surprise and delight, God called me back to Truro as Director of Worship and Arts. A lot had changed there since Catherine and I had met as preacher’s kids, and yet we still really loved the place and the people. And over the next eight years, while Truro went through several difficult seasons (plus a pandemic), and while I finished seminary and was ordained into the Anglican Church of North America, we always knew in our hearts that God was telling us to stay.

Now we know why he was telling us to stay…

I’m overjoyed to have accepted the call to serve as Truro’s new rector (i.e. senior pastor). And in God’s providence, my first “official” day was September 19, 2022. A lot has happened in those 22 years since I arrived in the moving truck, and as I look back on God’s faithfulness through it all, I’m full of gratefulness that he would give my family and me the opportunity to serve him and his people at this church that we love.

I would be grateful for your prayers as I begin this new role, especially this week and next as I’m taking time to pray and prepare.

Below is the text of the letter I wrote to Truro last month, after this news was announced to the congregation

Beginning Again

1This is an exciting week for me as I begin my new position as Director of Worship and Arts at Truro Anglican Church in Fairfax, Virginia. This past Sunday I had the opportunity to sit in all of the services and attend with my family, before coming into the office yesterday. I have a great sense of excitement about what God is going to do, and I’m thrilled to be called here to be a part of it.

I told a friend that my plan is to “hit the ground jogging” as much as I can for a while. I don’t have a huge agenda that I’m enacting from day one. I don’t have a long list of changes I’m going to pursue right away. I’m very much coming in and seeking to keep things as smooth as possible, while asking a lot of questions, listening to a lot of different voices, and asking God to begin to give me a vision of how I can be most effective here.

Those of us in ministry, whether it’s full-time, part-time, flex-time, or volunteer, are just stewards of God’s ministry. He uses us for a time, and then he moves us on and uses someone else. We don’t build dynasties – God builds His Church. And whether we’re beginning again in a new church, or looking ahead to yet another program year in the same church with the same people and the same challenges, God is always up to something. He is always working in ways we can’t see. He will share His agenda with you if you listen long enough.

I’d appreciate your prayers as I discern God’s agenda for me and the worship ministry at Truro. And if there’s anything I can do to help/support you in your own setting, please always feel free to get in touch with me.

Here’s what I wrote to my new congregation last Sunday.

Over the last several years, as Catherine and I were sensing that God was preparing us for a new call, we have been open for whatever he would call us to, wherever it would be. We’re delighted that God has called us to Truro, thrilled to be a part of this community, and thankful for your warm welcome.

 When I dream of what the years ahead might hold at Truro as I step into the role of Director of Worship and Arts, several things come to mind:

Musical vibrancy. God deserves it all, so let’s keep offering it all as well as we can.

Christ-centeredness. Jesus is the Cornerstone of the Church, so let’s make sure he remains the Cornerstone of our songs.

Congregational engagement. “Let us exalt His name together!” (Psalm 34:3)

Artistic expression. May the artists and the arts at Truro continue to be released and embraced to the glory of God.

Training and releasing. In our children’s and youth ensembles, and in our raising up of new worship leaders, may Truro be deploying skilled musicians in our congregation and beyond.

My job is to be like a tour guide at the Grand Canyon, simply saying “Behold!”, and then stepping out of the way. It will be a privilege to join you again in beholding the greatness of God in Christ, in the power of the Spirit, every Sunday.

A New Call

1After 10 years of a being on a wild ride with The Falls Church Anglican and having the privilege of serving them as Associate Director of Worship and Music, God has called me to Truro Anglican Church in Fairfax, Virginia, to be their next Director of Worship and Arts. Catherine and I are sad to say goodbye to our community at TFCA (though, graciously, this new call doesn’t involve us moving!), but we’re thrilled to start a new chapter of ministry at a church that’s so dear to us.

Truro is actually where Catherine and I met each other (our dads were both associate pastors at the same time), where we first led worship together, where we got married, and where we have many fond memories and close friends. I was a member there and helped lead worship in multiple capacities for about four years. We never imagined God would call us “back” to Truro. But that’s the thing: he hasn’t. He’s called us forward to Truro. And we’re thrilled.

I came on staff at TFCA on July 6th, 2004. I was excited and anxious. I was grateful to be called to such a wonderful church with godly leadership, but a bit overwhelmed by the challenges that faced me. There hadn’t been anyone on staff before to lead any of the contemporary music elements, or to take ownership of the “informal services”. It was all new to them. And to me! But I dove in to the deep end, with a lot of help and a lot of grace from the amazing people at TFCA, and it’s been a wonderful adventure. It’s been a full decade: full of joys and trials, and I’m deeply grateful to God for the opportunity to be at this amazing church with such sweet people, gifted musicians, and committed volunteers for as long as he’s let me. The last two and a half years have been especially exciting (losing/leaving our campus, becoming portable, etc.) And now God is bringing this chapter to a close.

My last Sunday at TFCA will be July 6th, 2014. Exactly a decade. Time flies!

I’m looking forward to four weeks off with my family after that, before starting at Truro on Monday, August 4th. I’ll be diving into a new deep end, and again hoping for a lot of help and a lot of grace from the amazing people at Truro. I’m looking forward to building on the solid foundation that’s already there, and has been there for several decades now. It’s an honor to be called to this new position, and I’m grateful to Tory (Truro’s senior pastor) for the opportunity.

I’d really appreciate your prayers over the next three weeks as I seek to finish well (I sure do have a lot to do!), as my family and I process the emotions of saying goodbye to our time at TFCA, as I attempt some sort of brief “sabbatical” starting on Monday, July 7th, and as the Browns begin a new chapter at Truro in August.

Over the next few weeks I hope to share some more reflections on the last 10 years, so for now I’ll just leave it at this: it’s been an incredible honor to serve The Falls Church Anglican for the last decade. I will always be grateful.

My Mom’s Example in Worship

1“Mom, why are you showing Jesus your hands?” I asked her one morning during church when I noticed her lifting her hands to heaven. I don’t remember her answer, but I remember her example. She modeled to her young sons (and now models to her 5 granddaughters too) heartfelt worship springing from a life of love for Jesus. I’m grateful on this Mother’s Day for my Mom’s example in worship.

In church. She sang. She raised her hands. She clapped (even though she has the least amount of rhythm that I’ve ever seen in a human being). She was faithful in getting her three boys to church. She showed her children that she thought Jesus was worthy of praise.

At home. She saturated the atmosphere of our home (and car) with worship. She was (and still is) the first person awake, with a cup of coffee, her bible, and her prayer journal, every morning of the week, reading the Scriptures, praying, and listening. She still does this, and her list is probably several pages long. She made/makes worshipping Jesus not just a Sunday morning thing, but an every day thing.

Through trials. She’s come through profound trials with an even greater tenderness, sweetness, strength, and Christ-likeness. Jesus is her center, her rock, her joy, and her friend. Her love for Jesus causes her to reflect Jesus. She shows that worshipping Jesus will sustain you even through darkness.

My Mom bought me my first guitar, paid for all my lessons, encouraged me to keep practicing, and affirmed me when I began exploring a call to worship ministry. Those were huge contributions. But her greatest and continuing contribution to me (and her family and all who know her) is her example in worship. Not only with her voice, but with her life fixed on Jesus. Now if we can only teach her to clap on the 2 and 4!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Thanks for loving Jesus above all, and through all, and for that first guitar too. I owe you!