To My Church Family and Friends,
Let me preface this letter with the fact that this comes after a two-year journey of God doing an immense overhaul in my inner-life. I felt it was time to share where I’ve landed in this chasing down of this illusive thing called success in pastoral ministry.
First, let me say that I’m happier than I have ever been before in ministry and I love the church family I’ve led after almost 5 years. I feel fulfilled and encouraged by the growth I’m seeing in myself and those I pastor.
That being said, I’m writing to let you know that I’m resigning.
I’m resigning from the pursuit of trying to create and pastor a mega-church. If our church becomes one, we’ll lead it; but I’m done with pursuing it. I’m tired of the church growth books and conferences. I’m tired of the latest “Breaking Growth Barrier” tips and articles. I’m tired of gagging on the constant church leadership culture that seeks to pump out stats about the “healthy church growth percentages” you should be hitting. I consistantly watch myself and other pastor friends stuggle under this ongoing comparison game and I’m done with it.
When I first answered a call to preach I was 18. I wanted to preach in stadiums to thousands like Billy Graham. When I became a pastor I wanted to lead a church of thousands like Rick Warren. If I could love and serve some people along the way to that goal that was a bonus. Of course, all of this was more about serving my ego; not serving God’s people.
The desire to grow numerically was so insidious that at times I could only measure Sunday morning success by that week’s numbers. This led to a constant internal frustration in the midst of an American church culture that’s currently shifting under our feet as people are attending church less and less. Talk about a bad time to be focused on numbers!
No doubt numbers are important because each one represents a life. But, for me numbers became everything. I became consistently frustrated with those that hardly came; taking their absence as a personal attack on me and a declaration of their lack of belief in what we were doing. It was sinful and I ask for your forgiveness. Please forgive me if you’ve ever felt that frustration poured out on you. No one deserves that.
So I won’t be doing the latest church growth gimmicks. No more ringing the bell to beg people to come to church or give more. They’ll either continue to come or not…..give or not.
I just want to love, lead, and shepherd our people in a way that honors Jesus. That’s something I believe with God’s help I can do.