Dear MBIC church family-
For those of us who were not able to be at MBIC today, June 23rd, this is an announcement about my role as lead pastor:
In the BIC, lead pastors serve 5 year terms. At the end of each term, the denomination approaches both the pastor and the church to get a sense of continued calling for the role: Does the pastor feel led to continue serving? Does the church feel led to continue calling the lead pastor to serve?
As many of you know, I stepped away in October of last year to begin to discern how God might be leading me as I entered into my 5thyear of service to MBIC. You all have been incredibly patient in not pushing me for an answer. However, the formal term renewal process is due to start very soon. To that end, Lisa McCoy and Matt Burkholder (Leadership Board chair and vice-chair) met with me about 3 weeks ago and asked that I give them a sense of what I was feeling led to. As I thought through what I wanted to share with them, I came up with these words. I shared this with them and I’ll share the same with you:
My heart’s pull is to go deeper with smaller groups and individuals and I find that a challenge with my current role’s pull to the big and strategic and over-arching concerns of running a church of this size and complexity, added to shaping and taking part in Sunday corporate worship.
The crux of forming healthy followers of Jesus is captured so well in something that Dallas Willard once said: “Followers of Jesus find ways to be with Jesus in order to become like Jesus.” Being super-intentional in helping people grow as apprentices of Jesus and discover ways to be with Jesus is (at best) small scale if not individual work. Yet so much of my current role forces me into larger-scale, corporate contexts and so I feel a disconnect between what I sense as my personal calling and what this lead pastor role demands.
To that end, I am looking for opportunities outside of MBIC and while I don’t have anything concrete lined up yet, and therefore no concept of timing, I do feel that God is calling me beyond and out of the lead pastor role at MBIC.
I’m sure this raises some questions for you. It sure does for me! Here’s what I can tell you now:
- This is not a decision that has come easily for me. I have wrestled with this decision even into the last few months and have only arrived at this conclusion as a result of continuing, prayerful conversation with God, several mentors in my life, and friends.
- At the end of this morning’s service, Lisa McCoy (as Leadership Board chair) shared a few words and read a statement from Bryan Hoke, our Atlantic Conference Bishop, about the search process moving forward. (Read at link below)
- My timing for stepping away from my role is currently end-of-the-year-ISH. This gives me time to figure out where God is leading me next, yet this timeline could speed up once I find a new role and depending on when that needs to begin.
- MBIC is such a special community of believers and I know that God has an incredibly rich future in store for this church. As pastors, we have practiced a “flat” leadership structure. We are currently well-staffed. We have actively emphasized healthy teams and team leadership. We have an active, engaged, and capable Leadership Board. The level of engagement and buy-in from you, our church family, is beyond robust. We have a strong and compelling vision centered on Christ and a DNA that drives us to share Him with our community. Ultimately and most importantly, this church family is under the leadership of Jesus, regardless of who sits in the lead pastor’s chair!
- Your prayers for both MBIC and for my family and I are greatly appreciated. I’m excited to see who God leads to MBIC next to serve as the lead pastor. At the same time, I’m excited to see where God leads my family and I. For both MBIC and myself, I pray that we continue to pursue with abandon both God’s calling and the beautiful life that He has for each of us!
Serving with you,