The role of Family Pastor / Minister is somewhat new in the church. Titles can be confusing, and because the title alone is not common enough, like Executive Pastor for instance, we have to clearly define what is meant by that title. I'm referring to a staff person who is responsible for leading a team of people (some stipend, but mostly volunteer) that oversee children and youth ministries, from birth through high school and even the first year(s) of college. While the role is somewhat new, it is rapidly becoming more recognized, as seminaries create education tracks for those who desire a holistic approach to family ministry. 

At Randall, we are committed to equipping each believer for significant ministry by discovering their God-given gifts, talents and experiences. Family ministry recognizes that parents are uniquely responsible for the spiritual guidance of their children, regardless of where they may be on their own faith journey. The church's role is to equip parents with practical tools that they can use at home to lead their children in that effort. 

As we are making steps towards a new hire, we are also making internal adjustments to our structure in order make some of these changes possible. Recently, our children's director, Stephanie Bochynski, and I were talking through the ministry needs of our kids and some of the ways we can be more intentional about meeting with parents. How can we better help parent's be the primary disciple makers in their home that they were meant to be, while still navigating the complexities of life together?

As a result of much thought and prayer, Stephanie let me know that she would like to step aside as a paid employee at Randall Church in order to create more financial margin to bring on a Family Pastor in a full-time capacity. She will continue to be a leader in the classroom, as well as a champion for all thing children's ministry related, but when the time comes, much of the "big picture" thinking will be the priority of this new hire.  

In one sense, all pastors are to be family pastors. God tells us that a pastor is to "manage his own household well seeing that his children obey him with proper respect" (1 Timothy 3:4). Godliness is lived out in the home. But when it comes to a paid staff position, a Family Pastor / Minister will, in the spirit of Ephesians 4:12, be very intentional to equip the flock to live the gospel out in their homes and in their interactions throughout the week. 

This happens on an individual level not only when the Family Pastor / Minister gives oversight to the equipping of children and youth to love God at their weekly meetings, but also in equipping adults to lead the family to glorify God the other six days of the week.

Please be in prayer with us as we seek God's candidate for leading the family ministry at Randall Church. If you know someone who fits this description, or would like to be considered yourself, please submit an application through the job posting listed at our website at jobs.RandallChurch.org  

This is a season of transition for our church. Change is hard. I look forward with great expectancy for what God has in store for his people on the other side! Let us be vigilant! Let us be faithful. To God be the Glory!

-Pastor Milo

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Over the course of our lives, its normal to go through various life transitions. These are changes that are so big that they tend to upend our normal mode of life. Family and occupational changes account for the majority of these. Take these transitions and add in all that life throws at us on a daily basis and it can be a stressful time.

Where can we go? What can we do? We cant do it all, we must simplify, and pursue.

We are entering a time of transition as a church. Memorial Day is coming sooner than you might think, and with it, comes the "official summer" of WNY. A time to come out of hibernation, and be together once again. Similarly, we will use that weekend at Randall as a milestone, for reuniting our congregation back to one Sunday worship gathering, and for returning to a more "typical" summer schedule, including VBS and various Connect Events to gather together for fellowship.

We are also entering a time of transition for leadership in the church. As many of you are aware, Pastor Mario announced his resignation earlier this month, and we will spend the next few months searching for his replacement. Mario and Denise are dearly loved by all of us, and making a change is not easy to do. However, we know that they are following God's direction, and we are confident that there is someone else out there who will faithfully follow God's prompting to come and join our pastoral team in the same manner. Our desire, Lord willing, is to see that all come together by the Fall Semester.

In every season of transition, we must do our best to simplify all the variables, all the possibilities of what might happen, and just do the "next right thing." We can't be sure of anything in this world, but we can be confident that the Creator of this world has everything under control. We just take it one day at a time and pursue His will for our lives, the best we can.

In our own strength, a time of transition will leave us exhausted, overwhelmed, and anxious. But look at the lilies of the field Jesus says... "Take a look at these wildflowers. They don't fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?"

God will take care of you. God will take care of us. God will take care of His church.

As we enter a time of transition, when we don't know where to go, when we don't know what to do, may we do our best to simplify and pursue. To God be the Glory.

-Pastor Milo

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Whether its for your computer, your car, or your annual physical; its important to run a diagnostic check from time to time to make sure that things are working properly. Sometimes, the feedback is encouraging, and other times it can be difficult. But all feedback, when it is given in a constructive manner, is valuable to consider. This is why we will be conducting an all-church survey, this Sunday April 18th.

So let me say this to those of you who call Randall Church home. These questions matter. Our church wants to be a place that shepherds every man, woman, and child find their place upward in Christ, inward at the Church, and outward in the Community. Our church’s guiding principles ask us to do this on a regular basis in order to asses our intentionality in doing these things. Therefore, we want to ask some hard questions of ourselves, and we want to ask some hard questions of you in order to evaluate the following: 

1. We truly want to see how we are doing when it comes to spiritual formation in this church.  
2. We truly want to see how we are doing when it comes to engaging lostness in this church.  
3. We truly want to see how we are doing when it comes to stewarding our lives for the Glory of God in this region. 

Practically speaking, we are making room within our order of service for a 10-15 minute window to fill out the survey. Most people will complete the questions easily in this amount of time, but some will finish at home later. Also, we are asking you to have a digital device, (preferably a smartphone) with you in order to complete the survey completely online. 

Finally, it is our desire to have these surveys completed and tabulated in a timely manner, in order to have the results be part of our annual report coming up in May. This will be a very useful tool as we look ahead to what God has for us in the coming future. Thanks everyone.

Be blessed.  Be encouraged. Our God is at work!

-Pastor Milo

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For the Christ follower, this week leading up to Easter, is one of the most exciting times of the year. In our Bibles, we read the 1st hand accounts in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John from the apostles who walked the roads with Jesus Of Nazareth over this Holy Week. When you read their accounts, feelings of amazement and wonder drip... and ooze... from the pages. These men were experiencing something awe inspiring that would change the trajectory of their lives!

Back in 2012, I took part in a music writing collective hosted by singer / songwriter Aaron Ivey, from a church called the Austin Stone. Back then, he did something every year called the 7in7 challenge. The idea behind it, was that over a seven day period you were to challenge yourself to write seven songs. Even further, in those same seven days, you were to open yourself up and post those songs to social media platforms for all the world to hear. Now, eleven years later, one of the songs I wrote: The Mystery of Christ: A Benediction has been listened to approximately 14 times! Yes, staggering to take in, I know... 

I chose to tackle the project by writing seven songs inspired from the book of Ephesians. This was seventh song, the last one written for the challenge. Before I share it with you, I want you to look at a couple verses spoken by Paul the apostle when he prays: 

I pray that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 And to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19  

What a prayer! He's saying, "I'm praying that you can comprehend something that is incomprehensible, that passes knowledge. I want you to know something that's impossible for you to know."  You can't know it unless God reveals it to you. And the only way we get that revelation is in the cross. Can you picture it?

Width and length go left and right... it's horizontal; depth and height go up and down...it's vertical. Can you see it? It's a picture of the love of God in the cross of Jesus Christ! Deeper and wider than we can ever possibly know! Yet, simple and clear enough to be accessible to every man, woman, and child! What a beautiful mystery!

This Good Friday... this Easter, I pray that you might understand; the mystery of Christ
I pray That you might find it beautiful; The mystery of Christ.  

Praise be to God for this indescribable gift!
- Pastor Milo 

I pray that as I kneel before the Father of all things;
His Spirit might resonate with you.   
I pray that he might strengthen you with power from The Lord;  
That Christ may dwell in your hearts  

That you might understand; the mystery of Christ
That you might find it beautiful; the mystery of Christ   

I pray that you'll be rooted and grounded in love; 
Show mercy to your fellow man.  
I pray that you'll have boldness and confidence in God; 
Even when you can't hear His voice.

That you might understand; the mystery of Christ
That you might find it beautiful; the mystery of Christ   

(c) Milo Wilson, 2012

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I had waited too long. That was particularly and painfully clear, now that we crested the hill into an area where the sun had been shining all day. It was too late in the season, and too warm of a day for this ride to go very well. We were snow biking, a fairly new sport built around mountain bikes with incredibly oversized tires... designed to ride over the top of the snow, nicknamed: "Fat Bikes." 

My brother-in law had been inviting me to take an afternoon off all winter long and join him on the trail, and I had procrastinated right up until the very end. The snow melt was on in full force, and what was left for a base on the hard snow packed trail was quickly deteriorating. With 60 degree weather forecasted for all of the following week, this was definitely the last fat bike / snow biking day of the year. We had to ride... today.

Fat biking trails are groomed in the winter, much like cross country skiing trails. There is a machine that comes through the network of paths that tamps down the snow, and gives it a solid 4-6 inch frozen base that ranges from 24-36 inches wide. If you wait too long like I did however, the melt narrows the trail tighter and tighter, until all that is left is a 8-12 inch wide balance beam of ice... 

I recently read a chapter in David Jeremiah's "Shelter in God," about the North Yungas Road. It's a mountain highway in Bolivia that offers drivers breathtaking views of the Andes mountains as it descends 11,000 ft from the mountains into the adjoining rainforest. The North Yungas road is not famous for the scenery however. It is famous for danger. In fact, that particular stretch of highway has earned the terrifying nickname in recent years: "Death Road."

What makes it so dangerous? For one thing, the road is unpaved, which forces drivers to ascend and descend the mountain on nothing more than loose gravel. Also, the road is only 12 feet wide. The entire road. In the United States, 12 feet is the current standard for a single lane of traffic on our interstate highways. A single lane! On my fat bike ride, I was constantly falling or sliding off of the 10-12 inch wide base, and walking the bike because of the ridiculously narrow trail, often landing quite uncomfortably on the top bar of my bike frame. I had definitely waited too long. This wasn't what I signed up for. This trail wasn't fun to ride today, to be sure. In fact, it was downright painful.  

And on the North Yungas Road, while the entire road is only 10-12 feet wide, it negotiates around hairpin turns and dangerously steep grades with what is truly the most terrifying factor of all: the lack of guardrails. There are no barriers, fences, or barricades to keep drives from plunging up to 15,000 ft to the valley below. In contrast to my silly bike adventure, the North Yungas road is not just uncomfortable, or painful. It's tragic. Up to 300 people will lose their lives this year alone, on Death Road.

In many ways, our lives can be a lot like this road. There are days the road isn't any fun to travel. We can experience breathtaking views and peaks of joy, but we can also experience terrifying days through dangerous descents. On top of that for many, this pandemic, this Covid-19 crisis was a removing of the guardrails from the sides of the road. And yet, the road of life continues on.... 

What lies ahead will rise to many more peaks, and navigate through many more valleys. Fellow passengers will offer deep friendships, and companionship for the journey. For those engaged in biblical community, we will laugh together and we will weep together; but we will seek solace and refuge in Christ... the author and finisher of our faith. 

All in all, my bike ride was a success. After the sun went down, and the temperature dropped, we were able to find a frozen loop of trail to ride by the light of our headlamps, with glint of moonlight coming through the tree branches high above. The day's events In total are a peaceful memory for me now. A moment of stillness and beauty in the midst of greater chaos and concern. I was reminded Jesus is always my refuge and strength! He is the place of stillness and peace I can go to, when the road of life is difficult to navigate.

Perhaps the words of Pastor David Jeremiah summarizing The words of King David in Psalm 30 could encourage you today like they did me? Here's how he put it: 

"Lord, I've been taken by surprise. Life has thrown me a curve, and its a hard thing for me to cope with. Even so, I praise Your blessed name. Whatever comes my way, in sickness and in health, in joy or in sorrow, I will stubbornly and confidently praise your name! You are my refuge."

May you find rest in the Lord today. If you need encouragement for the journey, if you need a companion for the trail. Please let us know. I'd love to help. 

Pastor Milo

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