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.