So… a few weeks ago, I stood in front of the church where I have served since 2005 and told them that I would be leaving before long. I was pretty short on specifics, but the gist of the moment was that the youth pastor who’s been here for 16 graduations will not be here for a 17th. I resigned. (And for those who appreciate a good timeline, my last day will be July 3.)
The first question posed to me after the service was a little unexpected, partially because it came from someone I’ve never really met before: “Have you ever thought about teaching in a Bible college… in Zimbabwe?” Complete with a long pause before naming the nation! (Full disclosure… I can’t say that Zimbabwe has been at the front of my ministry search.)
Most of the questions were a little more expected… “Where will you be going?”
“What are you going to be doing?”
“How long until you leave?”
“Can I have your office?” (just kidding)
Let’s back up a little bit… I remember when I got my first job, my dad told me “Don’t ever quit a job until you have another one.” That’s wisdom that I mostly have lived up to, but not always. I quit my K-Mart job because everyone was grouchy and slow and Subway was friendly, fun, and fast, and I didn’t have to wear a tie. I quit Subway to get married and move away to college, where I found 3 jobs right away. I quit Hy-Vee so I could keep working at the YMCA and JCPenney and stay awake for 8:00 classes. I quit those when I finished college to go find a full time ministry. I quit the car lot because my boss wanted me to rip people off and I wouldn’t. Then I quit Perkins because God showed me what He was waiting for me to find – my first full time ministry in the last place I would’ve looked for it and the best place I could’ve found it! (That sounds like a lot of quitting, but I really don’t quit well… that’s a 30 year work history that started as a teen!) I quit my first full time ministry in Auburn to move to my second here in Scottsbluff… and that brings us to now.
For the second time, I’m telling a church that I love them, but it’s time for me to go. But this time, I don’t know what’s next yet. I have officially quit a great job with a great church without having a better offer on the line! What an idiot. Why would I do something like that?
The short answer is an inexplicable knowledge that this is where God has led. After a lot of conversation with the leadership here, I know that the ministry that WestWay needs done right now is not the ministry God is calling me to do right now. There have been years leading to this point, and fits of wrestling with God, searching for alternatives, and waiting for answers. I have had “windows” where the timing was right for us to move on, but the next step just never materialized. Today, the next step has still not been revealed, but there are some good possibilities coming into view.
I once wrote a song with a lyric, “If I jump can I know you’ll catch me?”
Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for more than a few years have noticed that I’ve written a lot less over the past few. The space between posts has grown significantly as I’ve toed the ledge and wondered and waited for an answer to that question. Most of my writing here has been me processing my experiences in a way that I’ve hoped would be helpful to you. As I’ve wrestled through this particular season, there was a lot that I just couldn’t process outside my own head, but I’ve learned some things that I hope to share more moving forward.
So, where will we be going, what will we be doing, when exactly will we leave??? Again, a short answer, “We’ll see.” God hasn’t showed us that step yet, but I’m confident that He’s asked us to take this one, so “we’ll see…”
Another line from that same song was “I wonder where this road is taking me…”
Wonder with me…