I quit my job during COVID to pursue whatever God has for me.
If you read between the lines, I quit before knowing where I am landing.
In the words of our accountant, “that was really stupid, but an incredible leap of faith.”
For almost 13 years I was a pastor on staff at Calvary Church of Los Gatos where I started as the high school pastor at 23-years-old. Looking back, it is a little crazy parents entrusted their most prized possession in the most formative years of their lives into my spiritual care. It was more than a joy, it was a sacred calling. For me, I wanted young people to come to a place where they could encounter God on Sunday regardless of the decisions they made of Friday night. I wanted teenagers to come to a place where they were fully known and fully loved because that is exactly how God loves us. For Kate and I, a church is not just my place of employment, it is a community to invest our lives into. Over the years it was a joy for us to pour our lives into this community and invite this community into our family. We celebrated incredible milestones in the lives of families and invited to be a pastoral presence in their most vulnerable moments. I think it says something profound when almost all of my Facebook Memories from the past decade involve people and events from our time at Calvary.
More than anything, I believed we could create a better future for the church. I believe the world of tomorrow can be built on the character and resilience of young men and women rooted in the good news of Jesus. I wanted to raise up a generation of people who held to a conviction that the good news of Jesus is for everyone, can change everything and is worth giving everything. Over the years it was a joy to watch students graduate from our programs, go off the college, start careers, build their own families, but most of all re-invest themselves into the lives of other students. It was like watching a single fruit tree grow to become a small orchard.
As I moved from High School to overseeing all students, all families and then all communities at Calvary, it showed me what is possible in the life of a local church. It showed me the slow work of God’s Kingdom starts as small as a mustard seed, but can truly grow to something spectacular.
So why did I quit?
A few years ago I began to dream of leading a church. Nothing would have been more thrilling than to lead the very church which graciously believed in me.
God had different plans.
It was a painful season of my life. One of the most difficult seasons, if I’m honest. Journeying through cancer was hard, really damn hard, but rejection seeps into your bones and settles like pestilent dust in the tiny unreachable corners of your heart.
I chose to stay. For me, it was a clear call to stay for the sake of the church, but also to accept the possibility my call to lead a church came from rancid coffee than a clear call from God. Maybe I heard it wrong. I continued to serve, to teach and to love the people I had in front of me for 20 months. It was also clear I needed to heal and God was gracious as I journeyed forward. The history of church is filled with plenty of people disappointed, rejected, and hurt, but continued to lead faithfully.
COVID hit us in March 2020.
It upended our entire world, but it also magnified what lies beneath the surface of our lives. The desire and sense of call to lead a church community grew to become something I could not ignore. It was time to make a move. A sense of release became clear. I felt really good about what I had accomplished and built. The relationships were deep, authentic, and enduring, but it was time. So I quit.
Should I and could I have stayed until a solid opportunity came along? Sure. But if you know me, I put my full heart into everything I do. I could not faithfully lead and teach a church with a half-heart. If I wanted to pursue this next calling, I needed time to reflect, heal, and put my full effort in search of a calling. It is an opportunity to sabbath. Calvary was gracious enough to honor me with enough of a runway to allow me to refresh and discover what is next.
It’s difficult for me to simply exist – so I began to set some goals for this season.
1. Sprint to the finish.
2. Gameplan a season of rest until March.
3. Be present with my family.
4. Finish projects in our home 5. Discover where God is leading me (if possible)
So what’s the status?
The past 4 weeks have been a journey to say in the least, saying goodbye staring down a camera and watching cars drive by while I wave like I was a doll from “It’s a Small World” was less than ideal, but it’s where we find ourselves. For the first time this morning, on the last day of 2020, I felt like I could finally clear enough space in my soul to begin a season of restoration by processing my thoughts and feelings in word.
As I continue my journey forward my hope is to process my thoughts and invite others into the journey.
Grace and peace to you as we head into the new year,