9/23/2008 02:39:00 pm

Heading Off

Posted by Unknown |

I announced to my church on Sunday that I'm going to be leaving them at the beginning of next year.

It had pretty much been a week of such announcements. I told my leaders on Monday night, my small group on Wednesday night, my youth group on Friday at Camp and then the church found out on Sunday.

I've been making the decision for about year. At least it was in September last year that I told Stephen that I might not be around for 2009 so they should start thinking about options.

It was a big decision to make. I've spent a lot of time praying and talking to people, trying to figure out what was right. I love my church very much. It's been a wonderful place to work, full of lovely, supportive people. And I really like the young people in my youth group. I really do reckon being a youth minister is one of the best jobs in the world, because teenagers are awesome.

But as many people know I am planning on going to the US in 2010. So I had to think about leaving my church at some stage. Having the new minister arrive this year has meant that next year will probably "vision" year. The year he starts the church he wants it to take for the next few years. It makes sense for me to go, and for someone else to come in for vision year, so that they can be better placed for long-term execution of the vision.

Plus next year, I really want to take a year off ministry to do work which isn't too demanding with people who aren't Christians. Living in my Christian bubble is lovely, but you get a little out of touch. Spending all your time talking about evangelism but rarely having opportunities to practice it seems a little hypocritical.

The other reason is that I want a break. I'm pretty tired. Not sleepy, but 6 years of ministry as a single guy takes it out of you. This church, and the youth ministry especially, have been my priority this whole time. It's taken up my weekends and many of my weeknights. And I have no regrets about this, it's been great. But you find that soon there is little outside your job that you're committed to, or able to commit to. I'd love to be able to spend some more time with friends and family. I'd love to be able to be part of my local community. I'd love to be able to leave my work at work. I'd love to be able to have my God not be my employer for at least a year.

I have no plans to leave ministry for good. I still plan on speaking and preaching in 2009 if people want me to. I'm just taking some time off. In fact, I'm pretty sure having a year of will make me a better kingdom worker rather than a worse one.

From here I don't know where God is leading me. I pretty sure I'm still called to ministry work but I don't know what type. But I guess we'll have to wait and see.

For the moment, I need to work hard at finishing well.