This past Sunday marked my final day as lead pastor at Calvary Pentecostal Church in Lindsay, and in a greater way concluded twenty-two years of full-time pastoral work. I guess you could say that it was a pivotal event.
Now, right off the hop I need to make it clear that the decision to step away from pastoral work was not done on a whim or due to external pressures or circumstances. Yes it is true that the pandemic has initiated many changes across many landscapes, churches included. But for me, these past couple of years revealed a path that would allow our family the opportunity to stay, work and live within the community that we have come to love.
Approximately nine years ago our young family moved to Lindsay because ‘dad’ was going to be the pastor at Calvary church. Unbeknownst to us then, our little family would grow and make connections with people in our church and community that would run deep and wide.
Now for some who may not fully know the process of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC), a lead pastor does have the flexibility to remain or leave a church when they feel that their time has come. Apart from being ‘voted out’, many pastors remain at churches for as long or as short as they would like. Our denomination is a little different in that there are normally no marching orders of packing boxes delivered to pastors from an organizational head office. In this way, PAOC churches are able to govern themselves and their staff independently at the local congregational level. It has been my privilege to work pastorally within this fellowship for the past twenty-two years. It will also be my pleasure to stay connected from the sidelines and help support pastors and churches where and when I can. But for now, my path is leading me away from the church building.
Without rehashing what I said to the congregation during the live Youtube video feed this past Sunday, I will simply say that approximately three years ago the Lord began to prepare me for a change in perspective, and it all began with a dream.
Now, I am not sure if there are other pastors who have resigned their position because the Lord gave them a dream. It almost sounds contradictory for a leader to say so. However, who am I to argue with the Almighty. It’s His church by the way. All I knew is that following Him now meant letting go of the congregation that I had been leading and passing the leadership baton to someone else. It meant that my season was coming to an end.
Then the pandemic hit.
It’s been said that the pandemic has been a great revealer. There is no doubt that the pandemic has revealed many things about people, businesses, organizations and societies. I think that we have all learned a lot of things these past few years, and hopefully even a thing or two about ourselves along the way. For me, I’ve learned the value and need to journey through life with people, and none more important than family.
As a family we came to Lindsay nine years ago, and as a family we will remain here even though my ‘job’ at the church has concluded. I know that there are some who will balk that I have referred to pastoral ministry as a ‘job’, but let’s be real, it is a job just as much as it is a ‘calling’. But I digress. The point is that after twenty-two years of working within a ‘company’ I am starting over at age 45, and to make matters even more interesting, I decided to go back to school too!
I did not make this announcement from the pulpit because I did not feel that it was ‘church’ related, but I have told enough people that most are probably aware that I have gone back to school to become a Funeral Director. Thanks to the online learning options, I was able to enrol at Humber College and start the program this past September. I am now in semester two of a five semester program. Semesters three to five begin in May and continue for another year while learning on the job during a full-time internship. Thankfully, a local Funeral Home owner was gracious enough to take me on and promise me a job. I spoke with Linden a couple years ago about this potential pathway, and it’s clear to me now that he has been an answer to prayer.
So I write this blog to try and help answer some of the questions, texts, calls and emails that I have received during this past week. I appreciate many who have reached out to inquire and express concerning thoughts. Thank you.
But I also am writing to let you know that although things have changed regarding my ‘job’, things have not changed in terms of my ‘work’. As a follower of Jesus, my work is to do whatever He asks me to do. This is something that I have tried to model and do since re-dedicating my life to him over twenty-five years ago. Then and now the journey continues. Then and now the call to being a faithful witness to Him remains. Then and now I rely on His Spirit and power to operate in and through my life for His glory and kingdom purposes. Then and now I fully rely on Him.
I realize that the journeying forward here on earth is going to look a little different now than before, and I acknowledge that I probably did not see this change and transition coming three years ago. However, a very important thing for me is knowing that He has opened this path and will be walking with me along the way.