Missed Part I?
The pastor had visions of a new building, with increased fellowship space, new offices and a new place for the youth ministry to call home. The existing youth space was the original sanctuary and had been renovated by the students. They didn’t want to see it go away, but the reality of a decaying structure had rendered the building passe. So what did I do? Spent countless hours drawing up plans and drawings for a new structure.
What about my job? Oh, right. I was still leading the youth ministry, planning events, teaching Bible studies and keeping that train moving. In and of itself, it seemed to be an uphill battle.
When a renovation of the Sanctuary came around the following spring, I worked hard to give the Facilities Team a proposal for a video projection system. “That will help the church move forward,” I thought.
Following an intense Bible study on poverty with the students, we planned a huge community concert/fundraiser. The schedule included bands all afternoon, food and entertainment, with the proceeds benefitting poverty-fighting organizations. We raised a few thousand dollars, energized the congregation and brought much of the church out to enjoy the afternoon.
By that point, I was looking for jobs. “I can’t go on,” I reasoned. “I can’t keep putting this much energy into this.” The night after the fundraiser, I had an unofficial interview at another church.
A week later, I was to fill in for the pastor while he and his wife got away on a much needed vacation. He would miss two Sundays, and I would preach both times, serving Communion on the second Sunday. Deacons in the congregation cried “foul”: I was not ordained, how could I possibly be serving communion? One of them even boycotted communion while he was sitting in the pew!
I interviewed officially for that job in early June, but didn’t get it. I had another opportunity pop up, but the logistics were too difficult to solve. I returned to my office each day dismayed, tired and frustrated. My boss’ kids were in high school and college, so our discussion often turned to keeping it going, for the sake of his kids.
The pressure was mounting, and I was finding no release. My family visited during that fundraising concert and had a conversation with the Pastor. He knew most of my frustrations, and I knew some of his. He voiced some of that to my family, letting them know he hoped I wouldn’t leave.
Check back tomorrow for the finale, Part III.