Hey, everyone! I’ve not done a personal update blog post in a long time, so I thought I’d do so today. A lot has happened in my life, and I thought maybe a few of you would like to hear about it. Due to the nature of this post, pardon any lack of structure or the apparent randomness, as I’m just typing as I think about each part of the update.
I’m currently in my 10th year as the student minister at Rockingham Christian Church in Salem, NH. It’s hard to believe I’ll be graduating my 10th class this next month! While here, I’ve been able to see God do some incredible things and have been a part of an amazing ministry to teenagers and families. I’ve also expanded my role around RCC in many ways over the years to include communication, information technology, Sunday morning worship planning, family ministry events, and more.
About five years ago, I began serving as a board member for workcampNE, a local mission trip organization where our students serve each summer. If you’ve not checked out workcampNE, be sure to do so, especially if you’re looking for a summer mission trip for your youth group!
About a year ago, I was approached by the New England director for the National Network of Youth Ministries to co-coordinate NNYM for New Hampshire. It’s been a work in progress, connecting with the few youth ministers in the state, but my partner and I are enjoying the challenge. I’m also in the process of reviving the local group for the Salem area, as there has been a lot of turnover in the recent years, which caused us to stop meeting.
Last year, I also started a podcast, which had been several months in the making. God placed the idea on my heart, and it has been a true blessing for me and others. The Student Ministry Podcast is currently on a monthly schedule. You can read even more about it and see all the ways you can subscribe by clicking here.
Now that I think of it, last year was a huge year for new things, as I also started writing occasionally for GameChurch.com, a Christian video game website, which tries to take a deeper look at video games. This means it’s not a site that does typical reviews and tells Christians whether they should play or not play a game. Instead, they look at the deeper issues in games and talk about them from a Christian standpoint, but speak in a way that will appeal to people of all faith backgrounds (or people with none at all). It’s been a challenge for me to think in that way as I play games, but it’s been really good! I also helped GameChurch with game developer interviews at PAX East earlier this year.
I am still leading up the team over at NintendoFuse, too. In fact, I believe this will be my 10th or 11th year writing for them. Over the years, though, my role has evolved to senior editor. We recently went through a big website redesign, cut out regular news coverage, and expanded our YouTube channel to include regular weekly shows. We’ve not gotten to the point where we make any money yet, but it’s really fun to talk video games with lots of people on a regular basis. And it’s nice to get some free games every once in a while to fuel my potentially expensive hobby.
After seven years, my wife recently resigned her job at a local mental health organization in order to pursue her writing career. Through that, we got connected to Fuller Youth Institute, who has hired both of us to do transcription work for upcoming books. It’s really cool to see how God is continuing to provide for us as we take this leap of faith to follow Him. As most people know, a writing career will take a long time to start creating income, but God has showed up time and time again to take care of us! She is also writing a novel and doing freelance journalism, so I’m very excited to see what continues to happen over the next few months and years!
We have also had the opportunity over the past few years to speak at three or four local ministry conferences. It’s been really cool to share with other youth leaders. Every time, we find it hard to believe people actually want to hear from us, but God has taught us a few things over the years, and we are so privileged to share it with others!
On top of all this, God has also opened up some doors for me to connect even more with the local school system and recreation department. I’m serving on the leadership and planning team for a school-sponsored overnighter for the graduating seniors, and we’re going to host our family ministries summer kick-off event at a local park that has been known for a long time to not allow any sort of religious event.
You could say that I’m quite busy with all of these great things, and you would be partly right. However, I’ve been reading through a book with a friend called An Unhurried Life, which has helped me find and make time for relaxation and God-time in the middle of all my projects.
We’ve also had some hard times. Last year was especially difficult. It all started off with losing my great-grandmother early in the year. In the summer, my wife lost her mother and two of her grandparents back-to-back-to-back. And we’ve mourned alongside many others who experienced similar things all throughout 2016 and early 2017.
Overall, it’s definitely been a crazy ride over the past several years, but as my wife told me just the other day, we feel like we are currently right in the middle of God’s will. Sure, we are very far from perfect, but feel like we are pursuing the things that God wants to pursue and focusing on the things on which He wants us to focus. It’s a great feeling!!
Going forward, I’m not sure how much I will be blogging here on stevecullum.com. While my wife is the one truly pursuing a writing career, I’m going to try and write a couple books, too, including at least one with her, which I have spoken about before (here and here). That means that I’m going to put more work into that instead of regular blogs. I’m also going to try getting my ministry-related written work on other sites, as to reach more readers, and possibly open more doors for future endeavors. Perhaps, this blog will turn into more stuff like this — updates on what is going on in my life. It’s really a lot of new stuff that fills me with both excitement and anxiety, but I am choosing to focus more on the excitement! I ask that you keep us in your prayers as we continue to follow God’s will to reach more people with His love and pass along a bit of wisdom to other youth workers.
Random thought… Did this feel like a Christmas card letter to anyone else?