Stephen (Clem) and Jenn Clemens have been married 10 years. They have three boys, Aiden, Liam and Keagan. Clem and Jenn have served in ministry for the last 6 years including leading worship, youth and children. Next week they are moving from San Angelo, Texas to join the staff team of Life Bible Church in Canton, Georgia. Clem has been called to serve as Children’s Pastor for children ages birth through 5th grade. They both have a passion to come alongside and equip families to become the spiritual leaders of their homes. You can follow the Clemens on their blog.
1) So tell us what you guys have been up to in ministry for the past several years.
God has blessed us with the opportunity to serve in various roles in ministry. Weʼve led worship, a vibrant youth ministry, and also served as children directors. We love the fact that, over the past 6 years, God has uniquely equipped and prepared us for what He has in store for us next.
2) We pursued a dream together (planting San Angelo Church). It didnʼt end like we planned. Iʼve shared my thoughts on the emotional process of closing a church. What was closing the church like for you guys?
Itʼs always difficult to let go of a dream, much less witness a church close its doors. Honestly, we were hurt and had many questions and frustrations that we were left with to try and work out. But, knowing that God was ultimately in control of the situation, gave us tons of comfort in the weeks and months ahead. For us, the closing of San Angelo Church left us asking why God would call us to something, just to turn around and remove the ministry that we were called to. We had served 6 years in different ministry environments and finally felt that we had a firm grasp on where we were supposed to serve in the church. Then suddenly it was gone. We were confused as to why God wouldnʼt allow San Angelo Church to continue. We spent many months after that pursuing the Lord and trying to make sense as to what we were supposed to do next. It wasnʼt until the dust settled, and in the next few months of whole-heartedly seeking the Lord, did we realize that God really did have a plan all along.
3) Even though you have both lived in San Angelo your entire lives, you are now moving away. Where are you moving and why?
First, let us just say that Godʼs ways are not our ways. God needed to do a work in our hearts to prepare us for where He was calling us next. We believe that San Angelo Church played a big part in helping us to discover our God-given passion to help equip parents to lead their children into growing relationship with Jesus Christ. This passion for the family, as well as Godʼs leading, enabled us to accept a ministry opportunity at Life Bible Church in Canton, GA. God has given us a peace about moving half-way across the country, and our move date is set for February 15, 2012. Life Bible Church is a growing 2 1/2 year old church about 40 miles north of Atlanta. I, Clem, will be serving as the Childrens Pastor, alongside my wife, Jenn, as the Childrens Director.
4) This move continues to include steps of faith for your family. Briefly describe the process up until now.
God has been in control of every detail of this journey. We originally applied to a job posting that was already closed for a part-time chilrenʼs ministry job at Life Bible Church. Another guy was hired to be the Children/Youth Director back in May 2011. The church thought that all the job postings had been removed, yet we discovered the posting in September and applied. Little did we know, the church had been praying for several months, that God would send someone specifically to focus on children.
In October, we still hadnʼt heard anything, so we followed the Holy Spiritʼs prompting and decided to contact them. After several e-mails, we set up a conference call with the pastor and his wife. The first call lasted about an hour and a half and as soon as we hung up we looked at each other and said, “Weʼre moving to Georgia!” (We hadnʼt even been offered a job, but felt the Holy Spiritʼs leading VERY strongly.)
After that we had several other phone conversations with the elder and other members of the staff. Each conversation went well and we felt the Lord leading us in the churchʼs direction, but we all agreed to continue to be in prayer. The first part of December, we decided to go ahead and put our house on the market in hopes of selling by March or April so that we could begin preparations to move to Georgia. After being on the market only 5 days, we accepted a contract on our house for above the asking price. It looked as if God was really beginning to move this along, even though we had not even visited the church, met anyone face-to-face or received an official job offer. We closed on the house and moved in with our parents and finally went to visit Life Bible Church the first weekend in January.
Everything about that weekend was just more confirmation that God was, in fact, calling us to be a part of this body of believers. In fact, we felt completely humbled that God was calling us to such a special church with such GREAT people! The official job offer came the week after we got back from Georgia and we accepted the part-time Childrenʼs Pastor & Director position.
As with all steps of faith, God still has had many details to work out. Since the church was only able to offer a part-time position, we have needed to raise support to be able to make the move and take care of our budget expenses until we get there to find another part-time job to supplement our income. We also have had to find a rent house, as no mortgage company will loan money to a family with only one part-time job. Having said all of this, God continues to provide, as we have found a rent house, all of our moving expenses and most of our living expenses have been raised for the first 3 months that we will be there!
5) What stands out as the greatest lesson God has taught you or is teaching you in this season of your life?
Complete and utter dependence on God. God alone has been Our Provider, and He continues to supply all of our needs and more. His peace has been very reassuring. Through this whole process we have caught ourselves worrying about little things, only to turn around and see God turn all that worrying into blessings! This experience has really reminded us to go to Him first and ask before worrying or trying to do things in our own strength.
6) For others who might be considering a big step of faith, what would you encourage them to do?
We would encourage them to spend time on their knees in prayer, asking God to give them clarity and understanding of who He really is. We would also encourge them to make a commitment to daily search the Word of God and pull out scripture that encourages the soul, and claim His promises as their own. Itʼs not easy to go where God calls you to go, or daily surrender everything in your life to His will. One of the biggest sources of encouragment has been our small group. We had a group of friends that we studied Godʼs Word and prayed with together, and basically lived life together. These people encouraged us, asked the tough questions and interceded on our behalf before the Father. And last of all, commit to seeking godly counsel from someone in your life that knows you well, someone who will tell you the honest truth about a decision that your wrestling with, and who will stand in the gap and pray for you. This always a good decision.
7) As you guys take this next big step, for the person reading this blog is there anyway they could help?
Please pray for us. This transition is going to be HUGE for our family. We have never lived away from our family. Life has always been in San Angelo, TX, and so Georgia will be very different. Pray that God will bless our efforts as we minister to the people of Canton and the surrounding areas. Pray that lives would be changed and that people would discover a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Pray that the Lord would provide another part-time job to meet our familyʼs financial needs, or that we would raise enough support until the church can bring us on full-time.
If you would like to give to help Stephen & Jenn, click here and mark your contribution “Clemens”.