Thursday, October 30, 2014

What a Ride!

Over the past eight years I have had the privilege of serving at Vineyard Cincinnati and last week that came to an end. For those of you interested, I will attempt to walk you through my journey over the past several months. But just in case you don’t read the entire post, here’s the only reason… it’s time for a change.

In 1996 I started my youth ministry career by hosting a large event in Piqua, Ohio that I had no business leading. After months of planning and networking with area youth pastors we ‘Packed the Gym’ at the old Roosevelt Field House. It was amazing, hundreds of students showed up. I can remember the moment when I saw with my own eyes the vision that God had given me. But, something much more significant happened that evening. When a hot blonde walked through the backstage door ready to go on stage with her ‘girl band’ my heart skipped several beats. That night I met Hope Kesling and my world went from black and white to color.

For our entire 17 years together life has revolved around student ministry. We have both devoted our lives to students… me in the church, and Hope in the public school system. It has been a crazy ride! Students that we have known since sixth grade have now finished college, married and are having kids of their own. We have had access to thousands of students and we spend most of our time on social media seeing the awesome God adventures they are on.

Over the past several months Hope and I have been discussing, praying and dreaming about our future. It has led us to the reality that life is full of seasons and it’s time start another. There is naturally a lot of fear involved when you walk it out, but fear is not of God.

Vineyard Cincinnati has changed my life. When I think about the change, growth, energy, overnighters, games, Spirit soaked worship, shooting donuts in gym, MSSR, building the Student Union, home run derby in the atrium, Fall Weekends students saying yes to Jesus, newspaper games, a little thing called SOS… and the amazing team of staff and volunteers that I’ve been able to serve with over the years… I get choked up, tears of blessing, God’s faithfulness and all of the Fruit of the Spirit.

But, if you’ve been around the Student Union for any length of time you have heard me say… “God has designed you on purpose for a purpose. There are things that God wants to do in and through you… things that would blow your mind… things so specific to you that if you don’t do them they won’t get done.” God has given me a new mission and I need to be faithful to walk that out.

Creepy things grow in the dark. The light of truth is that it’s simply a time for change. It’s really that simple and any narrative that veers from that is not truth.

I don’t have a complete picture of what our future holds as a family, but we do know a few things. We will stay in Cincinnati. We have deep roots here and we believe that God has put us in The Queen City for a reason.

A few years ago three dudes got in a beat up RV with cameras, production gear and not much of a plan.  Right before they left their Rabbi taught them a new way to pray… and four days later everything changed. Now, years later, that same group of guys (along with an amazing team at Rebel Pilgrim) will continue to tell stories that spark hope and action.

I will share more as it unfolds, but when you hear the types of projects that I will be working on you’ll see that it lines up with my calling to ‘commission a generation for life long ministry’.

Also, my family will be at the Vineyard and the Student Union this weekend to express our appreciation and celebrate all that God has done and will do. I look forward to hundreds of high fives, smiles and an awkward hug from Zak.

Until then… You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way!

matthew milthaler


Anonymous said...

Sooo sad to see you go but wishing you all the blessings God has in store for you in your next adventure!

Melissa (Haley Murray's Mom)

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