Just sitting here rather amused today at the comments I’m hearing about my husband resigning his position as Lead Pastor at our church. I thought I would share a couple of them and answer them for anyone who might be confused.
1. “I heard that Phil got forced out of the church!”
If he did, the board did it so well that we didn’t even realize that’s what happened! Wow, Board, you’re good!
Nothing could be further from the truth. Last summer or fall (I can’t remember which and Phil’s not home to ask) Phil went to the board and told them that he felt his time here was drawing to a close. He felt that it was time for new, younger leadership to whom God would give a new vision for JaxNaz Church. He also told the board that he was serious about it and they should start taking steps in that direction. They talked to our interim District Superintendent and he began meeting with Phil and the board to study how to implement this plan in the best way possible.
2. “How is Phil adjusting to being voted out of the church?”
He’s not adjusting because he didn’t get voted out. (Refer to answer to Question 1.)
Our adjustment is in waiting to see where God would have us serve next. I know He has a plan for us but we just don’t know what it is yet. Some people might think we’re crazy for stepping down before we have the next job(s) lined up. But isn’t that what God calls us all to do if He asks? When He called Abraham in the Old Testament to go to a land that he did not know, He expected Abraham to start walking, even though Abraham had no clue what he was doing. (Lest you think this is easy, know that I, at least, am doing this with fear and trembling. No spiritual giant here… and no short jokes from any of you either!)
3. The rumor I haven’t heard yet , but I’m assuming is out there or will be out there: “Pastor Phil stepped down because one of his children came out as gay so he had to leave the church.”
First of all, the transition out of pastoring started before any conversations with our daughter. Those conversations were private, personal and precious to us, so you probably won’t hear about them. However, if you run across someone who thinks we would have to step down because of our child, then assume they don’t know this church! This church has spent 30 years loving our entire family in all ways possible. They have helped us raise our children into good, loving adults who love Jesus. They have been our friends, our family and our loved ones for all these years and they are not the kind of people who love conditionally. They have a Christlike love that reaches to everyone. I am proud of them and the way they have helped me grow spiritually and helped me learn about the LOVE of God which was sorely lacking in my church upbringing. In other words, don’t diss my church!
We really do ask for your prayers for our future. Pray that God would make clear to us what we are to do next and that we would recognize His voice daily. You guys can feel free to ask us in person anything you want about any of this. We’ve tried to be open all these years and we will continue to be so. We love you, we love our church, and we love God above all else. Thanks for being family!
And one other thing: We put a ton of work in this body of believers. Stick with them and help them reach even more people for Christ! You might even grow spiritually in the process! 🙂