Back in October of 2003 my dad started a short sabbatical that ended in his resignation from (church’s name withheld on purpose) in the town I grew up in. He had been the senior pastor for 7 years prior to that, had led the church from about 700 people on a weekend to over 2,000, and had led them through a building campaign and into the new sanctuary.
There’s so many details to the story left out but in the end the elders asked him to step down to the role of teaching pastor, something he didn’t feel called to do. At that point, all of the pastoral staff resigned, until the next day when my dad announced his sabbatical. That week began the most painful 6 months my family has ever gone through.
My dad was never given a blessing from the staff, the elders, or the congregation. My family was shunned from everyone but the closest of our friends. We quickly went from the embrace of the church to the outcasts.
In many ways my dad’s forced sabbatical and resignation felt like a death in our family. Because of the rough circumstances of his resignation/removal, many friendships ended with no closure.
It was such a painful time. I have a hard time talking about it or thinking about it without re-living those same emotions.
The blessing in all this is God has been faithful and wise with my family. Though it was impossible to see or feel at the time, God was taking my family and dad to a far better place in life. He has been good to us.
This week I’ve gone through all those painful emotions again. I found out about a week ago that the Session (Board of Elders) at my church had voted to dissolve the relationship between the Senior Pastor and my church.
Before you try to read between the lines, let me first say that I trust Sunset’s Session 100%. They are people I know personally and they have been given authority to govern and lead my church, something they have not taken lightly and I do not believe they have taken this decision lightly. The Bible states that elders are to be above reproach and the process they have taken in this decision has been that in my opinion. Before we begin to doubt the motives of elders, we should first expect and trust them to make Godly and wise decisions in the best interest of furthering the kingdom of God and reaching people with Good News.
I know what it is like for a family not to be given their due on their way out. I know how painful it is to feel abandoned by those you poured your life into. The last thing I want to do is have that happen in this case.
I’m grateful that those involved in the decision to end the Senior Pastor’s time at my church are choosing to honor and bless him in every way possible during this transition.
If there is one thing I would say to those of you who are a part of my church it would be to do the same. Honor and bless Ron and his family. I know how much pain it causes when that does not happen. I’ve lived that. God is and will be taking care of Ron and his family, but he will be using us to love them.
Be a blessing to those who disagree with your opinion on this decision and be a blessing to the Kincaids.
Be a blessing.