Dear Kansas City District:
Hello! Diane and I are looking forward to meeting you! Since you may be wondering who in the world we are, we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves and tell a little bit of our story, so that when we arrive in Kansas City we can focus on listening to your stories.
We have had the privilege these last 12 years of serving the Nazarenes of the South Carolina District, where we have been blessed with a strong team of pastors and laity and have focused on starting churches, strengthening churches, and developing leaders.
While we are deeply saddened to leave South Carolina, and are experiencing a season of grief, we are excited about the opportunity to serve the Nazarenes of the Kansas City District and are energized by the challenge of increasing our effectiveness in reaching lost and broken people and our fruitfulness in making Christ-like disciples.
Diane and I grew up in the same little river town in West Virginia (Paden City) and met at church when I was in college (MVNU) and she was in high school. We dated for two years. Six weeks after we were married we moved to Kansas City, where I attended NTS, and Diane worked at 'headquarters." We loved our time in Kansas City. It was formative for us - a season in which we learned to depend upon God and each other, and made many friends.
Our pastoral journey led us to Ripley, WV (4 years), Maysville, KY (10 years), and Columbus Shepherd, OH (6 years). While at Maysville I was able to complete a doctorate at Asbury Theological Seminary. Along the way, God blessed us with two sons. Josh is a MVNU grad, lives in Columbus, OH, works for Nationwide Insurance, and is pursuing a MBA degree. Josh is dating Kortney. Jeff is married to Brittany and lives in Mount Vernon, OH, where Brittany works for MVNU in admissions and Jeff is a graduate assistant (MVNU assistant baseball coach) while working on his master's degree as an intervention specialist.
Diane loves spending time with family, sports (especially the UK Wildcats), shopping and travel. She has an identical twin. Her passions are mentoring younger women, marriage, and family, and she often speaks at conferences and retreats. She is an incredible partner in life and ministry, filled with energy and joy. To be honest, almost every good idea I've ever had has come from Diane.
I enjoy running (plodding), canoeing, hunting and fishing, and flying (I am a very rusty pilot). I've been able to run a marathon or half-marathon each year for the last 15 years, but knee surgery last year broke my string. My passion is leadership development, and I enjoy investing in experienced and emerging leaders on the district, in the USA/Canada, and abroad.
While we have become fervent fans of southern cuisine, we understand that we are in for a treat when it comes to exploring Kansas City BBQ. Can't wait!
Diane and I have sensed the strong leading of the Holy Spirit in this process. It is with the confidence that comes from knowing we are following the will of God that we embrace the opportunity to serve the Kansas City District. We look forward to living into a future created by Christ as we explore opportunities to follow him even more closely and advance his Kingdom.
Throughout its rich history, the Kansas City District has been blessed with tremendous district leadership, great pastors, and strong laity. It will be a privilege and an honor to serve alongside such a gifted and dedicated team. We are especially grateful for the ministry of Dr. Jeren and Starla Rowell the last twelve years. We also recognize the significant service of Dr. Jesse Middendorf as interim district superintendent.
The Kansas City District has many of the same challenges faced by the other districts in the USA/Canada Region. We also have several unique opportunities, including our relationship with several institutions of Nazarene higher education, our proximity to the Global Ministry Center, and the number of credentialed ministers in our fellowship. We believe God has given us this opportunity "for such a time as this" and are trusting that He will help us share His love with our mission field.
Many of you have offered to pray for us in this transition. here are some specific requests:
- That we will finish strong in South Carolina and help prepare and position the district for healthy transition.
- That our house in South Carolina will sell quickly.
- That God will direct us to a home in the Kansas City area where we can be a blessing to our neighbors.
- That God will provide the wisdom, strength, and grace necessary to start well and serve well in Kansas City.
We will spend February focused on finishing well in South Carolina and look forward to beginning our service to the Kansas City District on March 1.
Warmly Yours in Christ,
Eddie & Diane Estep