I recently resigned as Executive Pastor of Mountain Lake Church. I love our church. I will miss our church. I will continue call Mountain Lake home and partner with Shawn Lovejoy as co-founders of churchplanters.com, but I will no longer serve on the Ministry Team. Shawn and I are more excited than ever to see what God is up to with churchplanters.com. To be honest between leading a growing church planting organization, helping lead a growing church, and writing I just wasn’t experiencing the kind of existence that brought life to me. So I made a choice for this part of the journey to let go of the church and focus my time on leading churchplanters.com, and writing, speaking, and coaching a few leaders. It’s sounds busy, but I get to choose how much time, energy, and effort I put in each one.
On the Sunday prior to my resignation I preached a message where I talked about following Jesus. I’m convinced that many of us believe, but we struggle when it comes to following. I’m not sure we even know how to follow or given many opportunities to follow. We know how to attend. We know how to act charitable. We know what to believe. We know what to do or not do. Do we know how to follow?
I decided to follow. I had spent the eighteen months writing a book on loosing my religion and rediscovering the simplicity of Jesus and his ways called Detox for the Overly Religious. That’s what messed me up. My life had become way to complicated and I was busier doing than I was following. Jesus invited me to follow. He asked me if I was willing to follow? I came to a crisis of belief and had to decide if I was going to be a believer or a follower. I choose to be a believer that follows. We live in a world where many believe, but few follow. For me, following meant leaving my nice secure position in a great church without an understanding of what is next. I will continue to work in my church planting ministry, but to be completely honest I don’t know for how long because it’s no longer mine. I arrived at an intersection where I heard Jesus ask me if I would trust him. I decided to do something radical and trust him. By trusting him I mean not with my afterlife that I have no control over, but with all the things I have control over now.
I resigned! I resigned to my ministry. I resigned as CEO of my life and I’m now following. After resigning I felt that it was important to tell my daughter before she heard it from somewhere else (she’s 22). Her response caught me off guard. At first she didn’t believe me. I don’t think I believe I did it. Come to think of it, I get that response out of everyone. She knows how much I love our church. Once it sunk in she said, “You are a radical. You get up there and talked about losing your religion and following Jesus and you’re doing it.”
Later I shared with a friend and colleague the same news. He said something else that got my attention. He went on to tell me that I was the second person he knew, that had stepped out to follow Jesus in this way. By this he meant I didn’t have the security blanket of 100 percent of my salary, a business plan, a parachute, or something else that makes following really easy.
I find both of these conversations sort of strangely odd. What Paul considers reasonable service we have come to identify as radical, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1, KJV).
Since I quit I have had the opportunity to tell a scores of people about my decision. The interesting thing is I get a similar response from each. They stand there with a great big smile and tell me how excited they are. I want to say to them I quit my job why are you smiling? But I think I know. They smile because there is something in them that wants to quit too.