The following was announcement was shared with the Lakeview congregation during service this morning (3/7).
It has been just over a year since Deborah and I packed up our family and moved across the country to become your pastors in January of 2020. We were welcomed with open arms and hearts. Our family has been, and is, honored by your prayers, hard work, and dedication shown to us.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Free Methodist pastoral leadership process, it is an appointments based system.
Pastors are appointed to a local church at the conference level by the Ministerial Appointments Committee.
Annually, as part of a regular review with the pastors and the Ministerial Appointments Committee, they will together discern through conversation and prayer about renewing or changing their appointment. The Appointments Committee asks the pastor, “What is Jesus saying to you?”
It was through this discernment process that Superintendent Michael Forney, the rest of the PNWC leadership team, and the Ministerial Appointments Committee asked Deborah and I to pray about a new appointment opportunity.
As we prayed we felt the Lord was leading us to a new place of ministry. We are trusting Jesus through this transition process. The current plan is for this transition away from this appointment at Lakeview to take place in June.
The conference leadership team will work closely with your board regarding the future of this church. We invite you to join us and them in prayer regarding this transition.
This is a bittersweet announcement for us. While we trust Jesus for our future and what lies ahead, we are saddened to say goodbye to friends and relationships we’ve established here at Lakeview.
For me personally, Lakeview FMC holds a special place in my heart as my first Lead Pastor position. My faith has grown this year as I learned to trust Jesus in a deeper way.
As I challenged the Lakeview board this past week when they were first informed about this transition, I want to challenge you now, “Will you trust Jesus in the face of your fears, worries, and uncertainty?”
To be clear, although we will be relocating in a few months, we are not gone yet. And we commit to continue to love, pray for, and pastor you as long as we are here.
The board and I also commit to be being honest and upfront with as much information as it becomes available.
We want you to know that Deborah and I make ourselves available to you. We would love to meet with you for lunch, a cup of coffee, or simply a walk to hear your concerns, answer your questions, and process this transition with you.
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Addressing Questions and Concerns
Pastor Abe handed out some pie for Pi Day (3.14) and then addressed some questions and concerns that he’s heard regarding their upcoming transition.
WHERE ARE YOU MOVING TO?
- We can’t tell you where we’re going yet, but anticipate being able to do so by the end of the month.
ARE WE BEING TAKEN BY CONFERENCE, OR DID WE CHOOSE TO LEAVE?
- We were approached with an opportunity, but asked to pray and discern what Jesus was asking of us. We were neither looking to leave, nor are we being pushed out.
DOES THE CONFERENCE JUST WANT OUR VALUABLE LAND AND MONEY?
- This building and money doesn’t belong to me, doesn’t belong to the board. You/I/we are stewards of the land/money, this does not belong to you. You relinquish your right to control when you give to God.
ARE WE LOSING OUR PASTOR BECAUSE LAKEVIEW WAS EXPECTED TO GROW THIS YEAR? (EVEN DURING COVID?)
- No. The goal has always been a healthy church. Growth happens natrually when there is health.
BUT WHAT ABOUT…? OR DOES THIS MEAN…?
- Don’t jump to conclusions about Lakeview. A direction hasn’t been decided. The options aren’t binary. Conference will work with Board.
WHO’S TO BLAME FOR OUR PASTORS BEING TAKEN AWAY?
- Stop playing the blame game. If you’re looking to blame, it’s because you feel something was stolen from you (Pastors, security, Lakeview). We hold on to things of this world loosely. We follow Jesus wherever he leads.