Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Letter to My Neighbors: Transition

In 2004, God changed my life and future by bringing Robin & I (freshly married and just out of college) to the Keller Park Neighborhood and Church.  At that time, I thought Keller Park was just a layover for me before moving on to seminary upon Robin’s graduation.  I was arrogant, narrow, & judgmental.  I knew the calling on my life was to see churches do things “the right way”, but had no understanding of what that really looked like.

Over the last 12 years, God used the amazing people of Keller Park and the Keller Park Church to develop an understanding of what it means to love our neighbor.  He helped me to see his beauty in the midst of brokenness and discover the potential for the Church to live in intentional community.  He taught me that some of the most meaningful moments of life are also the messiest.  He took my certainty about people and theology and left me only with the certainty that life is complicated, but God is good.

After a rough first 4 years, it soon became clear that the Keller Park Neighborhood & Church had won my heart.  I was no longer a young kid passing through, but had found a home.  For better and for worse, the people of the Keller Park Neighborhood and Keller Park Church are my people and that truth has come to define me.  I am a Keller Park Neighbor.

And it’s not just me.  Keller Park has been home to Robin and our 3 girls.  They have known nothing else than the open, messy, occasionally loud, exceedingly honest world of the Keller Park neighborhood, and we are so thankful for that.  Further, the KPC has been their primary source for personal connection and formation, a reality that has been a source of great grace for our family.

These past years have provided quite the transformation for our family.  We have gone from seeing the Keller Park Neighborhood and Church as a communities we could change, to seeing our lives changed in return--from seeing this place as a temporary stop to not being able to imagine ever leaving.

All of that makes the next reality complicated: after a long period of discernment, Robin and I have recognized that God is calling us to another place, with the transition coming this fall.

This transition is not coming as a result of any frustration or disgruntlement with KPC or the neighborhood, but purely as a result of trying to be faithful to the call of God on our lives.  I firmly believe the call on my life has always been to see the Church around America embrace values that look like Jesus.  We have seen that at KPC, and now God has been letting me know that he wants to use me to share the lessons we have learned with others.

While this transition will require moving, we plan to stay close.  Our Keller Park relationships are irreplaceable, and we desire to keep them strong.  We love you all deeply.

To the Keller Park Church: I am proud to have been a part of the family.  I am confident that you will continue to keep KPC weird in the best possible ways.

To my Keller Park Neighbors and KPNA teammates: Thank you so much for all of your grace and friendship.  I am forever changed by you.  Keep working hard at being the kind of neighbors you want others to be for you!  I will miss you much.

More information will be shared in the days ahead as to what is next for the Yazels, but for today, I wanted to just focus on the Keller Park part of our journey.

Ryan (& Robin, Kali, Sophie, & the little one)