Hello Castle folks,
It is with a heavy heart that I write this. I have thought long and hard about how to tell you.
As much as I’ve enjoyed being the minister at Castle Christian Church, the college work I initially took to supplement my income has necessarily become my primary source of income. This was, at first, the best of all worlds for me. I was preaching every Sunday to a church I loved, teaching students about the things I loved, and using some of my managerial skills to help maintain a wonderful adult program. And I was making a living.
Unfortunately, however, my work experience has been very difficult and stressful. I have hinted at this in some of my sermons, but have kept the bulk of it to myself. While there are some folks I work with whom I love and respect deeply, it has simply not been sustainable to continue there full-time.
Further, necessary changes to the pay structure in my current job have caused our family some very difficult financial problems. Between the stress of the job, the change in pay, trying to maintain what is, basically, three jobs for almost six years, and the daily stress of just getting to work my health has actually taken a massive toll. I am very tired.
I tell you all of this because this year a church in Idaho began to pursue Vangie to help them with their children’s ministry. We approached this very cautiously and have spent many months thinking and praying about it. At first, we did not take it very seriously. But, this fall, we both truly began prayerfully considering the option. Last weekend, she accepted the offer to be the children’s minister at Ten Mile Christian Church in Meridian, Idaho. This work will begin in early January—in fact, because we are having to break lease, we will need to leave on the first of January.
This opportunity is a good one for Vangie. In fact, it is very much tailor-made for her. I do fear, however, that, because it is a large church and we have often been critical of some of the things we’ve seen in the churches in our community, folks at Castle will feel we have belied what we have taught. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have spent many hours in conversation with the leadership at this new church and are just convinced that they are a very solid and ministry-minded church. In fact, despite their size, they have been very modest in their approach to some of the things we have always tried to steer clear of. I am very impressed with this church, its members, and its leadership. In fact, many of the conversations I’ve had with folks today reminded me so much of you all.
I am considering a few work options for myself. The job Vangie has taken should be sufficient to support us until I am able to find stable income. She is also maintaining her relationship with PURE Ministry, which I will assist her with. This will also benefit us. I am hoping to maintain some adjunct work and have a few leads on possible part-time work in the area.
Mostly, I’m looking forward to getting some rest!
The truth is, as much as I have enjoyed teaching at the college, that is not what will break our hearts. Our hearts will shatter to leave Castle. You all have been family to me and have welcomed me, my children, my wife, and my step-son with grace and mercy and so, so much love. As much as I have heard folks at church say they’ve learned from me, I can truly say I have learned more about being the church from working with you than in all my years of study and all the books I’ve read. I will forever treasure the time I’ve spent in Georgia with you. This church has changed me, forever, deep down in my heart.
We truly, truly love all of you. But we are in a position in which we just cannot stay. And this opportunity is one which is so good for Vangie and will resolve so many problems for us that we just do not feel we can turn it down.
Therefore, I announced today (11/23/14) that I am tendering my resignation as the preaching minister at Castle. My last Sunday will necessarily have to be December 28, 2014.
I believe that you all will obviously need to make some decisions as far as what you would like to do as a church. I do not know what decisions you will make or how you will come to them. I do not want to presume to give you advice when I am the one leaving. However, one of the things we discussed today was that everyone should think and pray this week and come together next week prepared to discuss possible options for Castle in the future.
I hope that God blesses all of you the way he has blessed us through you.