Four years ago, I was privileged to join the pastoral staff at Church of the Living God in Manchester, CT. My primary role was that of worship pastor, overseeing 4 to 5 weekly services and being involved in leadership/pastoral decisions for the church at large.
Every pastor wears multiple hats and I was no exception. I certainly spent much of my time overseeing the worship department, but I also counseled, discipled, participated in weddings & funerals, and a whole lot more. So here’s what I’ve been doing (some work-related, some personal):
- led worship at approximately 1,000 services
- preached at approximately 75 services
- helped transition from 2 to 3 Sunday services
- recorded and produced three full-length live worship albums
- overhauled the sound/video booth to where it should be
- re-branded the church and website (it used to look gross…seriously)
- wrote a book
- finished my Master’s degree
- mentored 2 interns who have gone on to be vital staff members at their churches (love them both)
- Christmas presentations (’nuff said)
- pioneered a conference for the Hartford regional area called Outloud
- launched a training week for young musicians called BandCamp
- created/implemented infrastructure and policy for our worship ministry
- raised up three full worship teams
- traveled alot of miles to minister at other churches/conferences
- got a few people a job
- never overslept for a Sunday (greatest fear ever)
- became dependent on coffee
- aged four years and gained weight
So I’ve been mildly busy, I suppose. This past week, I announced that I would be stepping down from my role as a pastor at CLG at the end of 2011. It’s bittersweet…my wife and I made great friends here and our time in Connecticut changed our lives forever.
Some may feel it’s crazy for us to move. After all, we were well provided for, I had a measure of success in my work, we were part of an influential church, and for the most part (I think) people liked us. My leaders gave me room to grow and experiment. My team is amazing and our congregation is full of rabid worshipers and are some of the most generous people I’ve ever known.
So why the transition? The only answer: God’s will. There is no grievance, frustration, or offense cloaked in religious language spurring our move. I loved our staff and never once did I take for granted the camaraderie and relationships I had here. They are who they say they are, and though that can’t be said of many people today, it can be said about the people I worked and did life with for 4 years.
So what’s next?
First I’m going to take a short break. When we moved to Connecticut, my wife Iris and I spent Christmas Day packing boxes to get up there in time. Now we’re going to take some time off to make up for that! Once things settle down, I’m going to take all the experiences and things I learned to help other churches and ministries.
I’ll continue to preach, write, and lead worship, but I will also lend more of my time to offer consulting to other worship leaders and pastors to frame out worship ministry in their churches. We have a grace to travel and I will enter into a season of itinerant ministry. I’m a relational guy so my accountability will continue to be with several pastors, friends, and mentors. We’ll be moving to New Jersey just outside of New York City where she’ll be working in the laboratory of a major university. For her, this is another part of the journey towards what we feel God has called her to.
Before we got married, we heard a pastor say that one thing that keeps a man and woman married is when they can look at the person and say “they are helping me achieve my dreams.” I promised Iris I would do this, and I will continue to keep my word to her as she has also done for me. And of course, we are keeping our word to God…that we would go where He would send us and do what He says.
Since we’ll only be living a few hours away, we’ll be back from time-to-time at CLG as the leadership sees fit. My senior pastor Dave Mullen touched on that a bit during the announcement. If you missed it live you can listen here:
For those of you from CLG, we are forever grateful and will miss you (even the Red Sox and Patriots fans)…we were blessed beyond words to have been here. Here’s to a strong finish to 2011!