Resigned to Our Fate

I quit my job last week. Well… Sorta.

What I mean is that I gave notice that I will be leaving July first of this year. Well… sorta. I told the congregation of our church last week, but the elders have known for a couple of weeks. And then my fellow staff members have known for a couple of months.

Quitting ministry is complicated.

Oh sure, it’s easy to go one way if you want to quit in a hurry, but then there’s the whole spectacular personal implosion thing to deal with. I have to confess to you all that there were times when I envied my former boss’ journey, where he just got to pack it in and start again. Believe me, I know that of all the many things enviable, this is not high on the list, but I still felt that way from time to time.

Erica and I are trying to transition into the career(s) that we think God has had for us for a long time. We want to remain at the church where I’m currently working. We want to transition well, and give and recieve grace from our small church body, so it’s complicated and not cut and dried. I’ve been wanting to share my thoughts with the Addison Road community as they have formed in the past few months, but as some of the readership here attends our church, I have not.

The word pastor comes from the middle english word pastour, which has it’s roots in the latin word for herdsman. The shepherd and sheep metaphor should immediatly ring sound for anyone who’s studied Scripture. A pastor cares for his or her flock. A pastor will leave the 99 of the flock who are safe in the pasture and go find the one who is missing. The word conjures images for everyone, I’m certain as many positive as negative.

A pastor, in my opinion, should have the ability and the desire to bring out the very best in the people in their care. I think ministry is a true calling, not something that you should stumble into, as I have. I know people who seem to be innately pastoral, even if they are not in a paid staff position. Ash, for example, is someone with a great pastoral heart. (He might scoff, and he knows himself better than I, so what do I know?) Aly jokes about the neon sign over his head that only the needy can see. It says, “Come Talk To Me.” He’s a great listener, certainly among those I call friend.

I’ve fought with the title pastor for the past eight years. See, I’m an artist at heart. I won’t lay claim to being a good or bad artist, as every artist is ultimately judged by his or her patrons. It’s not my job to decide if the art’s good or bad. It’s my job to create as best I can.

The flashing neon sign above my head reads, “Hey! You just voiced that Gminor7 chord wrong!” The sad thing is that I was probably the one who voiced it wrong. I’m an artist, not the MD, man. Well… I guess I’m sorta the MD. It’s complicated, ok?

So, I’m gonna go be a full time artist. My wife, Erica, and I, did this record last year. We blogged about it a bit, and up until recently, there was a link to the iTunes Music Store where you can go buy it. People who hear it like it. People who buy one often come back and buy more to give to friends. Teenagers and people in their 50s and all points in between have responded to it. For me, the issue of, “Will this music appeal to anyone,” has been answered. Now it’s just a matter of getting it heard by more people, and more still. That’s going to be my full time job come July 1… ish.

There are massive implications to this change… none of which I think I should get into now. In a matter of days, we’re going to launch www.thedailiesmusic.com. It will have a news section, a forum, media, all the trimmings. I think I’ll use that platform to keep everyone informed as to the minutae of the process of making The Dailies pay all The Bills. Hopefully there will be a little… synergy… to get all buzz-word about it.

I’ve refrained from talking about this on this blog, due to the sensitive nature of the proceedings. We worship together in a larger family, and they’re all impacted in this, so we had to be thoughtful. As a result, my mind is almost overwhelmed with different things that I want to share and discuss with you all. Observations on paid pastoral staff vs. lay lead ministry. Worship vs. performance. Sacred vs. secular. Jesus vs. James Cameron (Rumble in The Jordan ’07). Elders and artists, search committees and vision casters.

I can’t even decide where to start. I’ve gotten so used to holding my tongue, that I’m not even sure how to get my fingers wagging again.

We are chasing a ridiculous goal, people… absurd, really. We have two young children, and all the responsibilities and trappings of Southern California life. We’re touring a pre-school tomorrow.

I feel like I’m just getting started on something. Our 20′s were rehearsal, apparently.

21 thoughts on “Resigned to Our Fate

  1. michael lee

    I have nothing to add, other than to say this: Godspeed. I think you’re taking a huge leap, but I think it’s a good one. You’ve been thoughtful and methodical, and done all of the due diligence to pursue this dream without putting your family at risk, and that’s no small thing.

    Also, praise God for people who have caught hold of the dream with you, and are willing to throw in their lot with yours, and I’m not just talking about the band.

  2. Morphea

    Here’s the thing: I applaud you and Erica and think that the two of you very much have a leg or two to stand on without giving any ground on my belief that you’re a great pastor. I’ve never, granted, seen you in action, but you’ve pastored me plenty (as a friend, but the unconditional love thing comes through regardless) here at the roadhouse, and I can’t think anything but that you’ll leave behind a gaping void in the ministry field. You may not be conventional or terribly comfortable, but I’ll bet dollars to dog collars that you’re loving and real. And now, onward. Knock the music world dead. Please.

    Cerise

    P.S. That is NOT the neon sign above your head.

  3. michael lee

    [quote comment="54547"]
    P.S. That is NOT the neon sign above your head.[/quote]

    oooo, let’s play that game! Name the Neon Sign.

    I think Cerise’s sign says “To love me is to known me”

  4. Zack

    Good for you, Chad. Seriously. You’re too talented, open-minded, and committed to be floundering in an environment that stifles your creative output.

    Good work, my man. Now, call me so we can get coffee of Friday afternoons, after playing Gears Of War all night. Sweet, sweet, unemployment…

  5. corey

    This is sooo cool. I was just fixin’ to write this long post about how I was going to quit my job because God has blessed us with your band that will pay all of our monthly bills. We did agree on $8k/month, didn’t we?

  6. JC

    [quote post="1236"]We are chasing a ridiculous goal, peopleā€¦ absurd, really.[/quote]

    The best goals are the ridiculous ones! Chad…this is so cool. We are so excited for you. You already know this, but it sounds like you could use some reinforcement. First, I don’t think you are quitting ministry. Your music will minister to (hopefully) thousands of people. The music, your voices, the lyrics will reach people where they are. You may not see their faces each week, but they will be touched. Second, this IS God’s path for you. He has brought many things together at this moment for just this to happen. Finally, you may have “stumbled” into ministry, but your music, your prayers and your banter are a true blessing to those of us that have been fortunate enough to watch you lead worship for the past several years. And when you are joined by the heavenly voice of Erica…it is really something only God could have produced. I am a huge fan of music…vocalists mostly. I am a vocalist and melody snob. If you can’t sing, I won’t download you. You guys can flat out sing. Period. As good as anyone on the planet. And your music and lyrics are better than 99% of the stuff that sells millions of records today. No one can predict all of the variables that go into being “successful”, but you and Erica have the talent and I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for you. Oh yeah…and that band ain’t bad either!!!!

  7. Christy Semsen

    I hear you about the paid staff thing…I work part-time right now at our church and there has been talk about bringing me on full-time. I don’t know how I feel negotiating a salary for a ministerial position, or basically saying “so how much of everyone else’s tithes can I take home with me?”.
    It feels somewhat…wrong.

    So go for it, dude. We left our cushy job in San Diego to do the same thing, come up here and go back to school/try to get work as an arranger/orchestrator. Yay for quitting!

  8. Andy

    I don’t really know you… just subscribed to this blog a few weeks ago after finding it.

    Anyhow, I’m in a very similar situation. My wife and I are the WLs at a church we love, and have been there for 5 years as FT staff. We’ve struggled with a call to missions over the past 2 years, and prayed with the pastor and elders about it for over a year before announcing to the congregation we’re heading to Kenya.

    It is hard to transition well, when it is so messy. How I envy those moving to the mission field with a secular job who can give their 2 weeks notice and be gone. Those 2 weeks of awkwardness are spread out over 6 or 12 months when you do this from a ministry position.

    Anyhow, thanks for sharing your story. I’m there with you, dude. God bless you and your family in your new adventure!

  9. Karen

    Congrats on taking a huge step! Hold on for the ride! Thanks for being transparent Chad. I love reading what is going on with you.

  10. june

    Chad,
    There is no denying that “the ministry” of/in one’s life is significantly different when one is say, a recording artist vs. being employed as any type of minister. But, I think that the only way you and Erica will not be “in ministry” is if you cease to think of what you do (singing, writing, recording, shakin’ what the good Lord gave ya, etc.) as “absurd.” I’m sure we all agree that artists we love can quickly turn into artists we love to hate when they catch the “I deserve this” germ. The absurdity of any pursuit can be argued until the cows come home but my unasked for advice is to pray like the dickens that your current perspective of awe/fright/excitement will be honed into beautiful humility vs. well, ya know. (And if I knew what I was doing, I’d make that ‘ya know’ be a link to any one of a million artists whose egos make the known solar system look puny.)

    And also, good on ya! (My dad says that to me when I do anything from making him a nice fried egg to choosing the moral high ground.)

  11. Chad Post author

    It’s not the Spirit of local church ministry that wears me down… it’s the mechanics of it.

  12. Pingback: 100 Things Mostly About Chad, but Also a Few About Erica, and Most Likely a Few About My Kids. at Addison Road

Comments are closed.