Last week Bob shared in his eNote about my decision to leave Schweitzer. I’m thankful for all of the wonderful people I’ve gotten to serve with and everything I’ve learned in these past six years. I thought I’d take a moment to answer the most common questions people have been asking about this transition. Read on for more details.
Why are you leaving?
The decision to leave Schweitzer is really a decision to be faithful to my calling. This fall Sarah and I started a conversation that involved the possibility of leaving Springfield. As part of that conversation God gave me a lot of clarity about what I’m supposed to be doing in ministry. What I realized is that continuing to serve in a tech-focused ministry is not representing what I’ve been called to do. Six years ago when I joined the staff at Schweitzer as the media director I was exactly where God wanted me to be. Over the past several years that has been shifting. I’ve been preaching almost every weekend at The Green Room and working in more missional, relational and discipleship focused ministry with college students. Right now my role is half creative arts/tech and half college-age ministry.
I first started to recognize that something was off kilter last summer. I started to understand part of what was wrong last fall while I was at the Adobe MAX conference in October and God really smacked me around during Refresh in December (when the decision to leave finally clarified). Over the past six months I’ve experienced that Mark Batterson really is right when he says that a change of place and a change of pace result in a change of perspective.
So what is your calling?
I feel very strongly called to serve in a missional setting. I’ve had the opportunity to do that with The Green Room in a part-time capacity and hope to be able to continue in that type of role – spreading the Gospel into the mission field. I’m also aware that there is something unique about the experience on the college campus. If I had to pick a mission field it would be the campus. In the future that drives me towards continued college-age ministry, to church planting or being part of a multi-site church.
What are you doing next?
The next chapter is still up in the air. In December when we made the decision that my time serving at Schweitzer was coming to an end there were about 10 options for the future. That list has narrowed down to three. I’m incredibly excited about all of these opportunities and still a bit freaked out to not know where I’m employed July 1. It’s all part of stepping out in faith knowing that there will be a next chapter – it’s both exciting and scary.
No more tech, aren’t you a geek?
Absolutely. What I really learned through the process of figuring out what God wants me to be doing is that all of the tech stuff is really my hobby rather than my calling. The more involved I’ve been in tech at the church the less I’ve wanted to explore creative areas that are my own passion.
When are you leaving?
Right now my appointment at Schweitzer extends through the end of June. I imagine I’ll use some vacation time near the end of the June as part of the transition, but I’m still around for awhile. There’s quite a bit of transition work to be done.
Are you upset with Schweitzer?
Absolutely not. Schweitzer is a great church. It’s the church Sarah and I chose to join when we moved to Springfield. It continues to be an amazing place. There is a lot of outstanding ministry happening at Schweitzer today and I anticipate God doing even more through the congregation. My time at Schweitzer has been a great learning experience that was critical to understanding how God wants me to serve in the future. There is a lot I’ll miss about serving here.
What about The Green Room?
The Green Room is going to continue. At Schweitzer the college-age ministry has been funded by a grant from the Missouri Annual Conference. After I shared the decision to leave Schweitzer with Conference staff there was a lot of conversation about the future of the UMC ministry at Missouri State. A decision was made to transfer the ministry of The Green Room to Wesley UMC, another Methodist church in town. The senior pastors of both churches and Conference staff have talked about this transition and I was involved in developing the grant request to secure funding allowing Wesley to continue the ministry of The Green Room.
What about the tech ministry at Schweitzer?
The tech team at Schweitzer is made of up both staff and people serving in ministry. Other than my leaving all of that should continue. We’ll be restructuring some existing staff roles and will be adding a part-time Coordinator of Technology Ministries to work alongside the current team members.
Serving at Schweitzer has been a blessing. The decision to leave is bittersweet. I know I’ll miss serving alongside an amazing team of people and committed followers of Christ within this congregation. I’m also anxious to see what will unfold with new opportunities in the future.
If you have any other questions post them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.