5 Reflections On My Upcoming Departure3
As most of you know from my letter a couple weeks ago, I am resigning from Hope Covenant Church on July 5. This means that Kelly, the girls, and I have just under a month left at Hope and as I wrap up my time with you I want offer several reflections.
- I’m leaving on great terms. You know this—more often than not it seems when pastors leave their church it’s because of moral failures, interpersonal conflict, or built up anger. Thank God, there is none of that going on. Duane and I work great together, our staff has wonderful chemistry, and our Elder Board is amazing. Our departure has nothing to do with the usual suspects.
- I love Hope Covenant Church. Two weeks ago I stood before you and formally announced my departure. That was the most difficult time I’ve ever spoken in church. Kelly and I love this church like family. I love my job at Hope and it’s not easy to say goodbye. There is a speicial Christ-like love we’ve experienced in this church that is very special. I hope all of you know and experience the atmosphere of love at Hope.
- I’ve felt a call. Whenever I read the stories of Abraham, Jacob, and the Apostle Paul I’m always amazed at God’s call on their life. He requires each of these men to follow his call in ministry no matter what the cost. They all have to pack and go. They all go into unchartered waters. And while I don’t hear the voice of God as clearly as these men did, I have felt a call. Over the course of the past year, I’ve felt this desire to eventually use my gifts as a Lead Pastor. That is, to spend less time on administration and more time preaching, teaching, and humbly shepherding. Looking back at the past few months, I believe the Lord has matched my desires and spiritual gifts with the needs of this new ministry position in California. He has called me. The match happened sooner than I was expecting, but in God’s “strange providence” he paved a path and I'm looking forward to seeing where it leads.
- Hope is in good hands. Whenever our friend from church, Hayden, babysits our girls I never worry. Adeline and Chloe love her to death. They laugh, read books, do art projects, and are always perfetly safe. It’s good to know that people you love are in good hands. As Kelly and I prepare to leave, I know Hope is in good hands. First and foremost, this is because we have an amazing team of Elders and lay leaders. We have leaders that are not just going to keep us humming along but who will boldly follow the Lord into an exciting new future. We’re also in good hands because we have an amazing staff, including two new first-rate leaders, Anthony Espindola and Timm Jackson. Hope is truly blessed!
- God is in charge. In Judges 8, Gideon helps Israel overcome the oppressive grip of the Midianites. He wins several key battles and then the people ask him to become their king and set up a dynasty. Gideon’s response is brilliant, he says, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” (Judges 8:23) I love that! Hope Covenant Church is much bigger than Brandon, Duane, Ryan, or Barb. None of us run the show, the Lord does. The Lord is our Ruler and our King. This congregation belongs to Him. Because of that I believe that you can have assurance that even though pastors and leaders will come and go now and in the future, God will never leave Hope Covenant Church. This is His church and he will care for it in a way that only he can.