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?


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