Why I Stepped Down as Senior Pastor

In honor of my 4 year anniversary at work, I am writing a 4-part blog series reflecting on the past 4 years. You can view all of the blog entries here on my website.

This month I celebrate 4 years in my current job. While 4 years is usually not a milestone one celebrates, I feel I’m at a good place in my life to reflect on things. What’s so important about celebrating my work anniversary? Well, it’s because when I took this current job, our entire world flipped upside down. We had our second child Elisabeth, changed jobs, changed churches, and moved all within a span of a few months. So remembering when I started my current job also helps me reflect on the life change that occurred.

This blog post will be the first of a four part series documenting my journey over the past 4 years. I hope this brings you encouragement and help you see how God has moved greatly in my life during this time.

4 years ago I was living out my “dream.” When I was in college, my ultimate goal in life was to be a Senior Pastor. I remember writing down a list of goals in college, one of them was to be a Senior Pastor by the time I reached 30 years old. I was able to achieve this goal when I was 27 years old. Though I was bi-vocational (working a second job at Starbucks), I enjoyed ministering in my skill sets and strengths. I love working with people, leading people, and most of all preaching. All of these things bring out the best of me.

However, I failed to realize that the “fit” was not right. I failed to come to grasps with the fact that the church was not a right match for me and I was not a right match for the church. They were looking for someone different and I was looking for a church with a different philosophy of ministry. Obviously this issue was bound to cause conflict. When conflict plays out and is not dealt with in a healthy manner, there is a tremendous amount of collateral damage. Without going into too much of the details, this caused a burden for myself and my family.

When you include not being a right fit for a position, conflict, working 2 jobs, getting up at 4am and going to bed at 11pm every night, things took a toll on me physically, spiritually, socially, and emotionally. I was dying inside and outside, but I failed to come to grips with the reality of the situation because I treated my position in ministry like an idol.

It wasn’t until my wife (pregnant with our second child) asked to attend a different church that I woke up. Not a request you want to hear from your wife when you’re the Senior Pastor! I realized that I could not bring my new baby into this world of chaos. My wife needed her husband back and my kids needed a father. I realized that the way things were, I could not continue being a pastor.

More importantly, Jesus needed me back. You see, I lost touch with my primary calling – to love God with all my heart, mind, and soul. Because of how crazy my life was, I could not do that well.

So I was physically a wreck – not eating well, not getting enough sleep. I was emotionally a wreck – not dealing well with not fitting in or succeeding. I was socially a wreck – not having enough quality time with my wife or my kids. And finally, I was spiritually a wreck – not focusing on my relationship with Jesus.

So why did I step down as a Senior Pastor after 2 ½ years? I did it to save myself and my family. Because ultimately, my walk with God, my relationship with my wife, and kids is way more important that checking off a box on my career goals.

Stay tuned for Part 2: “How God has Shaped Me over the Past 4 Years

Part 1: Why I Stepped Down as Senior Pastor
Part 2: How God has Shaped Me Over the Past 4 Years
Part 3: How God Has Used Me Over the Past 4 Years
Part 4: What Will the Next 4 Years Look Like for Me?

The Beauty of Routine

Vacations are great for the obvious reasons.  This past Christmas vacation we were able to go to Oregon to visit my family, my girls got to do a lot of fun things, and I took a week off for work (not typical).  My family and I really relaxed and enjoyed the break.  While the vacation was needed, I really missed the beauty of a set-schedule and a routine.  I find myself not being motivated without a set schedule.

This week I really feel that life is getting back to normal.  I missed being at work, missed getting my daughter ready for school, missed the weekly church activities, etc.  With the routine, comes discipline, organization, and accomplishments.

I know sometimes we can complain about the routine, complain about the activities in our lives.  What if we stopped complaining about our lives and marvel in the beauty of the routine in our days?   I like the activities, the tasks, and the challenges that come with each day.

May we cherish everything that we do and do it for the glory of God.

How I Scared a Random Kid at the Playground

I learned the other day that when you are around random kids, it’s important to watch what you say.

The other day a friend and I were watching our kids play at the playground where we had the following conversation:

Friend: “Ask Siri to tell you where to bury a dead body?”

Me: “What?!?!”

Friend: “Yeah, ask her, it’s really funny”

Me: “Um…ok.  Siri, where can I bury a dead body?”

After I said that this little girl (maybe 7 or 8 years old) came up to me with the most horrified look on her face.

Girl: “Who died?”

Me: “No one, it’s nothing”

Girl: “But who died?” (with an extremely sad look on her face)

Me: “Oh, nobody died, I was just joking.”

Girl: “WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT?!?!” (with almost tears on her face as she ran away to probably tell her parents).

As she’s running away, my friend and wife are hysterically laughing as I am at a lost for words with this girl.

Lesson to adults: when we joke around, be careful because little ears are around us! 🙂

Crossings

 

 

 

 

 

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