top of page

An Important Life Update From The Mannschrecks

To all of our beloved friends and family,

(and anybody else curious enough to find out more), 

To be honest, a “roller coaster of emotion” doesn’t even begin to truly capture what our family has been through in the last two months. It has been beautiful, it has been heartbreaking - it has been all things holy and terrible and lovely.

Basically, the big news is that I have accepted a new job - an opportunity to partner with a group in Grand Rapids called The Zero Collective. Specifically, I will be the lead pastor of one of the churches - The Center Church. We are SO excited about returning to Grand Rapids and starting this new journey - but of course it comes with a huge mix of emotions as well. My first Sunday at The Center Church will be March 17th, and so I have two Sundays left with Aldergsate, and I'm blessed that I get to spend them both with my Cardinal Square campus.

It makes me think of the end of that Pixar movie “Inside Out” where the little girl forms a “core memory” that is both blue AND yellow, a mixture of both sadness AND pure joy.  Part of the journey for us the past few months has been not just the new job - but also the loss of my Oma (mom's mom) and my grandpa (dad's dad) AND the birth of our fifth child and first daughter, Magnolia.

UP. down. MOUNTAIN. valley. Joy! Sorrow. and repeat. 

We announced 6-8 months back that eventually we were going to transition back home to the west side of the state. At that time we didn’t know when or where - just that God had been tugging on our hearts to move back that way. 

After several rounds of interviewing, the team at Zero Collective decided I was their guy. Sara and I and the kids then came out for a visit - for one final compatibility check, and we had a really great time. The offer was extended and I accepted the position of Lead Pastor at the Center Church. My first Sunday will be March 17th, and I’ll get to work alongside the current lead pastor, John, until his last Sunday on Easter.

For those who don't know - Zero Collective is a family of churches in Grand Rapids that have a goal of seeing zero lives in Grand Rapids unchanged by Jesus. There are four churches in the collective, and one of those is the church I will be serving, The Center Church. Center Church is located down in Byron Center, which is on the south side of Grand Rapids. It's actually a very similar structure to what I’m currently working with here at Aldersgate Church. Zero Collective is a part of the Wesleyan Denomination - so while I’m leaving my Methodist roots, I’m not going far. 

I had some people who were a little confused, and so I wanted to clarify. I will be the lead pastor serving in a church called Center Church. But Center Church is part of a larger organization called the Zero Collective. So I will still have a preaching and pastoral team that I work alongside. It’s sort of like having four campuses, but each campus is still an independent church with a different name and separate website and all of that. My brother-in-law Jordan and his wife Casie (and their family) attend a different church called Frontline, but it’s in the same Collective - so we’ll be part of the same networked church. 

We are so excited to see what God is doing in Byron Center, and with the Center Church. I had actually met with Brian, the lead pastor over the Zero Collective, years ago when I was first looking at the Wesleyan Church. I was so impressed with what they were doing, and after visiting Center Church - I’m eager to be a part of the exciting things they are up to.

Sara and I are blessed to see a dream fulfilled in returning to Grand Rapids. We had been praying for God’s leadership in all of this, and searching for an opportunity that would bring us closer to family. And it just so happens that Byron Center is roughly 15 minutes (maybe 20 with traffic) from the nearest family member. It’s kind of an incredible answer to prayer.

Chaos has become an old friend. I recognize him from a long way off. He's welcome to sit shotgun, maybe even tune the radio - but he must never reach for the wheel. There's a steady hand on it already. It’s one of those things where the roller coaster of life has forced us to trust deeper in God - because we just can’t grab for control any longer, we’re just hanging on for dear life.

There’s definitely a point where you have too much going on all at once, and you become sort of fried. I’m such a flurry of emotions - sadness, grief, excitement, joy, anxiety and hope - all mixed into one bag at the same time. So when people ask, “how are you?” - I’m genuinely at a loss for how to respond.

We are sad for the things we have lost, for the goodbyes we have said already and will say soon. We are happy about the things we have gained, for new life in our world, for friendships and connections that will never be forgotten, and new friends we are about to meet. Above all else, we are hopeful. Not just because we have new and exciting things coming soon - but because we trust that whatever comes, good and bad, up and down, mountain and valley - God’s still got us. And that was all we ever really needed, anyways.  

We are, always and ever, looking forward to the future.

JJ, Sara and the Kids.


bottom of page