I've been holding off on writing down my thoughts on Mitch, Rebecca and Cooper leaving. To be honest it's something that I chose to ignore, for now, thinking that the weeks remaining would go slow, and I didn't have to face it. Well, time was unusually cruel and passed super fast, and last night we had our last rehearsal with Mitch as our leader, our last rehearsal with Rebecca and me laughing about something crude, or arguing about who's singing the tenor part on a song. Our.... last.... rehearsal.... I can't even type the words without wanting to cry.
First, let me start with Rebecca. There is not a person on this earth with a more compassionate soul. She inspires me to see the good in people and give them second chances. I've watched her grow from this newlywed, newly everything girl, into a strong, loving wife and mother. I will miss her dearly (She is crying by now reading this.)
Cooper. Awe man... Ole Cooper... People that know me, know that typically me and kids don't get along. But, Cooper and I, we have this love/hate thing going on. One minute we are high fivin', and the next he won't give me the time of day. But, he is an independent soul who is going to grow up to do great things, and I can't wait to see what God has in store for him.
So now I get to Mitch. A friend, a brother who I love with all my heart. When he started 5 years ago and he would listen to everything I said, soak it in, but over the last few years, he has grown into his own leader with his own vision and ideas. He has pushed back on some things that I thought would flop. But it never did. It has been phenomenal. Now that I know he is leaving, it is so
obvious how God has developed his heart, his talent and his leadership skills for the next chapter in his life. His heart is on fire for God, and I am sooooo jealous that he gets to start this church plant! It is going to be one of the most exciting times in his life, and I can't wait to keep track of the progress and see the lives changed as a result. He has promised me that if my work travels ever lead me to North Canton, Ohio, that I can come sit in with the Worship team. (I'm going to hold you to that)
Another way to describe what I love about Mitch is to tell you some things about his personality...
Heart First, Talent Second.
Mitch never, ever required a musician to be at a professional level to start on his stage. His thought was that if you love God with all your heart, have the raw talent, and are willing to make the commitment to serve Him then you're good enough to play by his side. That doesn't mean he settled, he would work and develop talent with a patience I've never seen before, that will serve him well as he goes forward with his ministry.
Mitch has lead us through so many creative events. One of his first things as our new leader were the Christmas carnivals. I've never seen so many "un-churched" people attend a Christmas event. His thought process was to put on an event that would give our Crossway folks a chance to pour out love on top of them and "Change the way they feel about Sunday".
Special Worship Services. I remember the special services. Like the one in the picture below where we setup the band in the center of the room. His creative mind is always looking for new ways to present the message. To not stick to the old religious traditions, or "that's the way we've always done it" mentality.
His Stage Designs. Mitch had strong ideas about how he wanted the stage to look, and we were happy to help him execute it.
Nights of Worship. His two special nights of worship where we all got together to praise and worship were so special.
Heart For God. Mitch is the real deal, the complete package. Talent that is overflowing, and a love for God that is takes that talent and makes an offering to God each and every week. I will miss these guys with all my heart, but we send them off knowing that Crossway is better off for the time they gave us, and God has only begun the works at Crossway Church and Missionview Church!