Can I just say that ministry is hard? Though, extremely exciting, and rewarding...there are several days that are harder than others. I would most definitaly consider today as a hard day of ministry. Today I officially announced my resignation as Worship Arts Minister of Venice Church of the Nazarene. After much prayer, I recieved and accepted the call to serve as Worship Arts Minister at First Church of the Nazarene in Hutchinson, Kansas...as know as Hutch.
I will confess that the Lord has been dealing with mine and Ashley's hearts for a while. There was a since of unrest, but not sure what it meant. So we waited and prayed. And just when I was ready to make a plan on my own, God presented this opportunity to us. An opportunity that we did not seek out. And so we had conversations, and prayed; more conversations and more prayer; and finally leading up to an actual interview in Kansas. Going into the interview process, I knew that this ministry possibility would be a challenge for me and that it would take me out of my comfort zone. Even still, God made small confirmations throughout the journey that this was the plan He had in store for us. Now here's where it gets difficult.
We love our Venice family. This congregation and staff will mean more to me then they will ever know and more then words can describe. We have been blessed for over five and half years. But I understand that we are not called to location. My desire and goal is to live a life of worship. A life that is responding to who God is and what He is doing. I truly believe that true, genuine worship requires sacrifice. That is evident when read about Jesus. Honoring God with all that we are and all that we have requires sacrifice. For us, leaving behind good friends, a great community, a place of comfort, to journey into the unknown....is a sacrifice. But I also know and believe that God will bless the journey and bless both the Venice and Hutchinson congregations. So, with excitment, we begin this next chapter in our journey; never forgetting the time that we have shared with so many and celebrating how we have grown through grace. Below is a copy of my official resignation letter:
Dear Loved Ones,
“To God be the Glory for the great things He has done.”
That is one of my favorite hymns lyrics because it reminds me of the greatness of God and how He works and moves and shapes all things for our good. For over 50 years, Venice Church of the Nazarene has been a faithful community of Christ. As a community, VCN has worked well and we have shared our gifts to respond to God’s call in each new day and time. It is amazing to see how we have grown as pastoral staff, as lay leadership, and as a congregation. Over the past five and a half years, we have had an amazing partnership because we have lived, loved, worshipped transparently, where we are, and I believe that always leads us into God’s surprising future.
With that being said I would like to inform you that the First Church of the Nazarene in Hutchinson Kansas and its leadership have asked me to assume leadership in the Worship Arts ministry as they pursue its calling of making Christ-like disciples in the community of Hutchinson. Now, I must inform you that I have received and accepted the call to serve as the Pastor of Worship and Creative Arts. First Church is an established congregation that is eager to grow in relationship, discipleship, and community. It is clear that the worship arts ministry, and the congregation, have a desire to become Unquenchable Worshippers and to deepen their passion to make worship more than music…but a lifestyle. And Ashley and I feel that God has called us to unite with their ministry and continue alongside them through this journey.
Ashley and I, along with several others, have been praying for weeks about this entire situation. This decision was not made lightly as Venice has been a blessed community in which to serve and raise our family. You have embraced and loved our family deeply. That love was displayed instantly with the birth of Keller. We will NEVER forget how you saturated us and Keller with prayers, and your encouragement and support. Because we are confident of God’s promises, we are excited and empowered to take on this new venture in faith and in ministry. We ask for your prayers in the weeks ahead.
VCN, you have much to be thankful for. The warmth of this fellowship, the depth of our ministries, the creative ways of worship, the outreach, service and creative engagement with the local community is all inspiring, is known throughout the surrounding communities and the Church at large. And while a member of the Pastoral team leaves, a vibrant and blessed ministry continues. Ashley and I will be praying for all of you as you begin this new chapter of faith.
In closing, my feelings the VCN congregation and the community of Venice are best reflected in the letter from Paul found in Philippians 1:3-5
“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy for all of our, because of your sharing in the Gospel from the first day until now. I am confident that the one, who began a good work among you, will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.”
May God-who is able to do immeasurably more then we could possibly hope or imagine-continue to extend grace and give peace to you.
You are loved,
Thank you to all those who have prayed for us during this process and for your continued prayers as we make this transition. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing post on reasons I will miss Venice; the church, the community, the coast.