Brent & Lori in their brand-new state. I think.

It’s a sad day at the Summit Church offices.

Today, a four-year era comes to an end.  Today, Lori Perdue says goodbye to Durham and hello to Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Lori joined our team late in 2006.  In that time, she’s worked for several pastors and staff members, but I’ve been her favorite.  And by “favorite,” I mean “the one she can’t escape no matter how many times she asks to be transferred or mercifully thrown off a cliff.”

I’ve always hesitated to call her an “administrative assistant,” because in a lot of ways she’s the secret sauce behind the First Impressions, Starting Point, and Church Planting teams of the Summit.  She keeps calm when I’m flipping my lid.  She keeps my schedule realistic when I’m trying to overdo it.  And she’s the friendly voice on the other end of the line every time you call with a question (and she gets lots of calls with lots of questions).

Lori is the person on our staff that wins first place every time we play the “Name Something About You We Don’t Know” game.  Ready?  Here are just a few: college eloper.  Lebanese food maker.  Pretty-close-to-professional cake decorator.  Motorcycle rider.  Once-saved-a-guy’s-life-in-the-mountains-of-Nepal-by-putting-in-an-IV-line doctor imitator.

We’re going to miss Lori, because Lori kept the office stocked with antibacterial wipes and the faint smell of Lysol (she’s a fellow germ freak).  We’ll miss her because nobody else can solve our occasional math problems (she has a bona-fide degree).  But most of all, we’ll miss her because she’s a part of the family.

Lori’s not just a part of the staff team, but she and her husband Brent are part of the fabric at the Summit, as well.  Brent is one of our tech gurus serving in the sound booth.  They’ve both worked with our marriage mentoring program.  They’ve led stuff from small groups to international church planting trips.

Tomorrow morning, Brent and Lori will pack up their last few boxes and start the nearly 1,800 mile journey to New Mexico.  (Their earlier packed boxes contain all the clocks in her house, which explains why she was late to work last Friday.)  Brent recently got his Ph.D. in nuclear physics and will be working for Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory.  I’m not sure what he will be doing, but I’ll bet it will involve some Jack-Bauer-style-anti-terrorism-hand-to-hand-combat if any bad guys show up.

Editor’s Note: You’d think I was making that up.  You’d think wrong.  That dude is freakishly smart, and really strong.

So, while I’m really bummed for us, I’m really excited for the Perdues.  This is a great next chapter in their lives, and I’m asking you to pray for them.  They’ll be across the country from both their Georgia and North Carolina families.  Pray for a great church.  Pray for great friendships.  And pray that Brent never pushes the red button.

“So who is replacing Lori?” you ask. And of course you’d expect that I’d answer “She’s irreplaceable,” which is true.  But stick around, because next week you’ll meet the new person who has to put up with me.

You can keep up with the further adventures of the Perdues on Lori’s blog or by following her on Twitter.