Don’t Quit

Posted on: July 6th, 2016 by E-Free Lethbridge

Just because I quit at this church, doesn’t mean you should too.

2 years ago, God started stirring in our hearts. And He helped us see that there was change coming on the horizon.  We did not know if that change was going to be a change here at E-Free, or if it meant somewhere else at the time.  We just knew something was coming.

Lethbridge is home. All of our family is here. We love our church family and so, when God began to open a door up in Edmonton, (even though it is the promise land of my beloved Oilers) we didn’t think much of it, but we opened our hearts up to the possibility. At that point though, we turned down the position in light of the transition and challenges that were facing our E-Free church family.  And several months later – when the door remained open, and the role began to change, including more of our dreams and vision, we went to see if this was where God might be directing our path.  Spoiler alert: it was.

Transition in church leadership is never easy.  For either side.

We have grown to love and appreciate so many in our congregation here.  We have been treated like family: prayed for, believed in, entrusted with great responsibility.  We have failed and had others help us pick up all the pieces.  This part of things sucks for us.

And we know it can suck for you too.  You have enjoyed us (most of you I think!) You have seen us grow. You have invested in us, hugged and held our kids, and now you have to watch us pack up and find a new home.  A friend of mine here at the church worded it well when he described it like breaking up with 1200 people all at the same time.  At least, we are leaving Lethbridge and you won’t have to see us with our new love at the grocery store!

It sucks for us, it sucks for you, but in the grand scheme of things it will actually be ok!

I had the privilege of sharing some of these thoughts with our youth ministry team, as we gathered for what would be my last celebration of a ministry year.  Our youth ministry is in a season of transition, that much is obvious.  We are welcoming a young new youth pastor, who will join the team with another fairly new youth pastor.  And there are loads of questions as to what it will be like? And I have to believe though it will be different, it can still be really good.

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he writes to the church regarding some divisions that were taking place.  There were people within the church who were planting their flag of allegiance to the ministry workers and missionaries that they felt most connected to.  Rather than finding unity as one body, they were starting to splinter based on who they preferred as their pastor. And so some were stating “I follow Paul” while others “I follow Apollos”.  And so to help them correct their understanding, and see the bigger call that was upon their lives, Paul stated this in 1 Corinthians 3:5-7:

“After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.  I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.”

It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.

Translation: ministry workers are all entirely replaceable and interchangeable.  Why? Because it doesn’t matter who does the planting, or who does the watering, because it is God who makes growth and transformation happen.

E-Free will continue to plant and water.  To proclaim God’s great gospel, and to create environments where believers can be cared for, nurtured and supported.  Whoever joins the team will be charged with these 2 realities, because these are, at their very core, the great commission that Christ has called us all to.  And though the parts are interchangeable and replaceable, the work and ministry that God will do is a constant.

Will we like the new guy as much as the last guy? Well, probably not – we were pretty special.  Just kidding.  Of course you will, if you allow yourselves to love them as much as you loved us.  Keep in mind we had 7 years to earn that love and trust.  We came here young, inexperienced, and naïve as well!

But my genuine hope, and prayer, is that you will love, embrace, and serve alongside of the new guard with the same passion and vision that you did with us.  Because the mission remains the same, God’s work is not changing, and there are still so many teenagers in this city who need to know and experience God’s great gospel.

Thanks Church, we love you. – Brod.

Brody Jespersen is the outgoing Pastor of Youth Ministry at E-Free. In August, he will be joining the staff of Sherwood Park Alliance Church, in Sherwood Park, Alberta. He has shared his gifts of preaching, youth ministries and missions at E-Free for over 6 years.

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