What we're up to in Chicago (so far)

July 28, 2021
Life Update
Article Series:

Over the last few weeks, I've had a bunch of people ask me how things are going and what we're up to as get settled in Chicago. It's been an interesting few weeks getting settled and shifting into a new season. After weeks of cleaning and packing, the trailer arrived the last Friday in June. As we loaded up all our stuff, the concreteness of the full change of leaving the place we had lived and where God had done so much in our lives was real and palpable. The trailer was picked up the last day in June, and on July 1st, we drove the 140ish miles to the Chicago area and stepped fully into the unknown.

Trailer & Transition

In the month between now and then, we've been occupied with a few different types of things:

(1) Resting & Recouping

One of the things we've been trying to be very intentional about is creating the space to recoup from a bunch of very intense years. The pace of ministry the last few years was really high, and coming off of that into the turbulence of the COVID season, along with the disruption of the transition God has begun in our lives has left us all feeling worn a little thin. We're taking extra time to just do life together as a family. We've had a couple of great family beach days, a great trip to the Brookfield zoo - which we live 15 minutes from (thanks so much Vineyard Church of Central Illinois for the thoughtful gift of a familiy membership), and lots of fun walks to parks and so forth. As we've slowed, we've begun to feel the stress peel off and our souls renew. It's been so very good, so very healthy, and so very needed. Thank you Jesus!

Family fun at Brookfield Zoo

(2) An Interim Assignment

During some of our final weeks in Champaign, something very interesting emerged as an interim assignment during our season of discernment in Chicago. As I've written in previous posts, we didn't have a super clear plan in heading to Chicago, we just knew we had to create a season where we could focus on tuning into the Lord and what He's doing in us right now. That's great in principle, but it can leave you somewhat vulnerable in practice! Where do you live? How do you afford to live? Well, we had assumed that we would need to take the proceeds from the sale of our house in Champaign to live off of for a while, but God provided something a little different that prevented us from having to position ourselves in a financially vulnerable place. (Yay Jesus! You're so good at taking care of us as we follow you in faith!)

A friend of mine who leads a multisite church of ten campuses in Chicago called The Chapel called me up one day and tell me that he had a campus pastor leaving unexpectedly soon and he needed help covering the campus while they discerned next steps. As Brittany and I weighted this unforeseen prospect, we had the sense it was the Lord, so we agreed to have me take a post as Interim Campus Pastor at The Chapel Hinsdale. It has been a blast to get to know new friends in Hinsdale, as well as The Chapel's wider team.

One clarifying note I want to add: some may ask at this point whether this is a statement of disassociating with Vineyard movement as The Chapel is not a Vineyard church (though it is a kingdom church and quite Vineyard-like). On this point I want to be clear: this is not a move that is a disconnection from The Vineyard movement; indeed I have many ministry engagements coming up in the next few months at Vineyard churches, and I am being intentional to connect with Vineyard leaders throughout Chicago in this time as well. I also plan to attend Vineyard USA's national conference coming up in a few months. I love the Vineyard movement and continue to plan to be a part of the Vineyard family; it's just that this is the step the Lord has put in front of me right now, so I'm taking it!

As someone who advocates for interdependence in the body of Christ, part of my assignment is building bridges between different streams of the body, and I'm curious to see what may be happening here with that. As I shared with Jay Pathak (Vineyard USA national director elect - and friends with Scott Chapman, senior leader of The Chapel) this update, he replied with, "I am really happy for you and this opportunity. I love the Chapel guys and I'm excited for how you will be serving them and continuing to bring a deeper connection between the Vineyard and the Chapel... truly exciting." We'll see what God is doing here!

(3) Connecting

So far here in Chicago we've had a lot of time connecting with people, which has been lots of fun. Whether it's first time meals with the wonderful people of The Chapel Hinsdale, connection points with The Chapel's staff team, connections with the Vineyard people in Chicagoland, or spending time together with friends I grew up with in Chicago, we've had lots of rich times together (and tried a lot of great restaurants)!

(4) Discerning

The backdrop activity that sits behind all of this is the discernment that we are allocating this stretch of our lives to. We continue to ask and pray about what God is bringing us into next. While we don't have a lot of specifics nailed down, there is a growing sense that our next adventure needs to involve stepping towards a building role in the church pioneering passion that God has put on our hearts. What that looks like, where it is, how to go about it - all of those are questions we are holding up before the Lord and asking for his wisdom. Would you join with us in prayer that the Lord would continue to make clear specifically what he's calling us to?

The last month has been a lot of fun! It's been very different than the last chapter, but God-filled along a different trajectory. We loved the last season and we're excited to see what the Lord has ahead in this next one!

Putty Putman's Spirit-inspired innovative insights come from his wild journey with Jesus from physicist to pastor to entrepreneur to author and speaker. His three main passions are the Holy Spirit, effective communication, and journeying toward the future God has for the church and the world.

Putty founded the School of Kingdom Ministry and spent eleven years as a pastor on the staff team of The Vineyard Church of Central Illinois, followed by a year and a half as an interim pastor at The Chapel. In February 2023 he moved to Phoenix, Arizona to church pioneer by planting a new kingdom ecosystem called FUSE. Putty is the author of two books, and lives with his wife and three children in Tempe, AZ.

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Read the whole series:

2021 Season Change

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