I wish that title was there for shock-value only, but unfortunately it’s not. Last week at 4:00pm on November 22, 2010, my service as the youth pastor at Alexandria Covenant Church ended.
Here’s a note I posted on Facebook the next evening for people in our community (it’s accessible only by people in our town because I wanted the comments to be a place for us to talk without other chatter):
Wow, for a phone number that none of you knew at the beginning of today, it’s sure been ringing a lot! Thank you all for your phone calls, Facebook messages, prayers, support, and encouragement, even those who stopped by just to cry with us.
First, let me say that it’s been a tremendous joy for Dana and I to serve you guys at Alexandria Covenant Church the past four years. It truly has. We’ve seen tons of life-change take place, not only in you all, but in ourselves as well. Dana and I started our marriage here with you in 2007 and, more recently, our family! The support we’ve received from you all through that has been incredible. Thank you so much! I could go through countless memories of our times together and the spiritual influence we’ve mutually had on each other.
If you feel like you need some answers and justification for my termination, I encourage you to go talk with Pastor John. He loves you guys and this church. We’ve agreed that he will speak on the church’s behalf and that I will speak on mine so there’s no misinterpreting each other’s heart or intentions.
Ultimately, I am trusting God with the decision. Dana and I are looking forward to what God has next for us. I know God’s hand is on this because my conscience before the Lord is totally clear about how I served Him in ministry: with how I’ve used my time, with the values I set, the vision I pursued, the breadth and depth of the relationships we’ve built, everything.
Pray for our future and where God’s taking us. That’s something Dana and I have been praying about a lot and ask that you would join us in that. I don’t have another job lined up or anything, so we’ll be around Alexandria for the time being, although not at Alexandria Covenant Church. Pray also for our hearts and emotions through all of this, as well as our finances.
Of course, pray for the church. God loves it even more than any of us do and He has great things in mind for you all, but it comes to fruition best when it’s bathed in prayer and comes from hearts that are pure toward the organism (church) that He established.
We love you guys! Stay in touch! I don’t have my church cell phone, so if you call or text, I won’t get it. My personal cell number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. This may be the end of my time at Alexandria Covenant Church, but it’s not the end of our story together. God’s still working, even in ways that aren’t comfortable for us.
The transition has been difficult for me and Dana on many different levels. I’m not sure where God is taking us and why He’s choosing to do so at this time, but I trust He’s in control.
In the meantime, please pray for us. Pray for our hearts, for our attitudes, for me to have wisdom in talking with those in the church who are hurt by this, for the church’s leadership, the youth ministry’s future, and my family’s future. This will be tough for us financially, too, especially with all of Zeke’s baby delivery bills coming in now, so pray for that, as well.
We’ve begun interviewing with some churches, but with all my free time now I’m going to invest more into my family. I’m also going to learn more about the business side of blogging and see if Life In Student Ministry can become a source of income for us with advertising, paid writing gigs, and speaking engagements.
If you have a job for me, let me know! I’m open to youth ministry positions, speaking engagements, consulting and training gigs, and providing advertising opportunities here at Life In Student Ministry. Thanks!
UPDATE: It’s been a month since I was fired. Here’s some of what I’ve been learning, experiencing and thinking through since then.
UPDATE: It’s been 2 months since being fired and I’m volunteering in youth ministry now while doing other side-projects for work.
UPDATE: Here’s my 6-month update about where we’re at since being fired.
Posted on November 30, 2010