Sunday was a day of encouragement for us. We had no idea how the congregation would react to the letter* Pastor Dale sent out to them during the week informing them of our impending departure for seminary. Happy? Sad? Angry? Frustrated? Excited? Indifferent?
*if you're interesting in reading said letter, it can be found at the bottom of this post.
Last Sunday evening at youth group Kevin made the dreaded announcement to our beloved teens. As he transitioned from his poignant message about Abram leaving his homeland for the land God was calling him to, the tears began rolling down Kevin's cheeks. My husband is a sensitive man--much more so than he lets on. But he's not much for crying. He simply couldn't speak, and as the anxious silence filled the room and the clocked tick-ticked in the background. I went to him quickly, and held his hand, willing him composure.
At least five minutes went by, and finally the words came out. God is calling us to seminary, to New York, away from you. We are so sorry. You are our lives. You're all we do, all we talk about. We've poured everything into each of you. But we must go out of obedience to the God we serve, just as you've taught us to do.
Tears. Tears. Tears. They were streaming down many faces, and others sat dumbfounded, unsure of how to process this life-changing announcement. We passed tissues, shared shoulders, hugged sobbing girls, willed our eyes to speak the depth of our love for them.
And I truly believe they understand. They're not happy about it, but they're cautiously optimistic. God wouldn't call us to something great and leave them high and dry, right? They are clinging to the teaching of the Parable of the Seeds, believing that Kevin and Melanie have obediently planted seeds of the Gospel in their hearts and watered them faithfully, but only God can make it grow. They are rooted in Christ alone, not in their youth leaders. Our job was to show them to way to passion for Jesus, for making Him life, purpose, eternity. And with or without us, their roots can go deep and remain firm and established, continuing to make disciples who make disciples.
The adults had such an encouraging response to our announcement. There was message after message of sadness to see us go, but excitement over what God has in store for us. What a blessing! Thank you, Jesus, for continued affirmation as we've walked in obedience to the best of our ability.
April 29, 2010
To the people of M----- FMC,It is with mixed emotions of regret and joy that I must announce to you that our youth pastors, Kevin and Melanie, will be following the leading of God for their lives, a leading which will be taking Kevin to Northeastern Seminary in New York in order to pursue a Masters of Divinity degree in preparation for full-time ministry.
Of course, this means that Kevin and Melanie must leave their ministry here at M------- FMC, and will be moving to New York in August. I am joyful, because they are pursuing their calling from God and will be receiving invaluable training and teaching in order to be more effective ministers. However, I am also filled with regret, as Kevin and Melanie have done an outstanding job at our church, and have been an integral part of our church body for the last two years. They have taken a small group of five to ten teens, and have grown a ministry triple in size, as well as being instrumental in leading teens to Jesus, and in discipling them towards spiritual maturity. They have formed a strong and loving bond with the SpiritFire teens, and have ministered to them in powerful and life-changing ways! They have also lent their talents and energies to bettering the worship ministries of our church, have developed an award-winning Bible Quiz program, and have been leading a weekly Young Adult study group. In addition, Kevin has assisted with the financial ministries of our church, and this year was elected to the new position of Financial Secretary. Their enthusiasm, love of Jesus, love for our teens, organizational skills, and spiritual vitality will be greatly missed.
I would like to invite you to attend a special Society Meeting of our church on May 22, at 6 p.m. During the meeting, we will be hearing a resolution adopted by the Leadership Team and Pastor’s Cabinet of our church as to the future direction of the youth ministries of the church, and you will have opportunity to take part in the discussion. If you are a full adult member of the church, you will also be eligible to cast your vote in regard to the resolution we will be discussing. I hope that you will be able to join us as we seek God’s direction at this exciting crossroads of our church!
Please join me in prayer for Kevin and Melanie as they follow God’s direction for their lives. As the process of their transition to New York unfolds, we will stay in communication with you, and I trust that you will take opportunity over the next couple of months to express your appreciation to Kevin and Melanie for their ministry among us.
If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call, or send me an email.Thank you, and may God richly bless you and your family!
In Christ’s love,