I have purposefully neglected talking about church stuff here. Now, I would be referring to all things centered around our “stepping down” two-three months ago (seems like longer). Previously, I would have meant things centered around being in ministry. I have preferred not to mention anything sensitive until it is settled in my mind and no longer sensitive. Otherwise, I’ve simply enjoyed not having church stuff that I want to write about, but can’t.
For those that don’t know: Nathan is no longer the pastor of our church. For those that don’t understand: it is a little more involving than simply quitting a job. That’s how it was described back to us and to others in an attempt to avoid lengthy conversation and questions. “He’s quitting the ministry.” Quitting is different than being “called out.” Quitting is different than the involving list of two or three reasons that lead us to even begin to pray about it. We did not resign from the ministry, we chose to obey what God was calling us to do. Is that different to you? It is different to us. Semantics, maybe. There is definitely a different feel, a different connotation.Quitting vs. being lead. Giving up vs. it’s time to move on and God said so.
I was thinking back on our years in ministry and realized that by month six of our marriage we were in ministry. We have been married almost nine years and will have been in ministry for about 8 of those. We were taught and we ascribe to the idea that our ministry priorities are: 1) God 2) family (spouse, kids) 3)ministry 4)self (because we should put others before ourselves). You could get me to argue about the order of three and four, but not the first two. God’s a given, so let’s focus on family before ministry.
Were these heart priorities or practical priorities? It was a heart priority from the start and we knew that wouldn’t always mean a practical priority, but it got to the point where enough was enough. God’s grace was very evident for our marriage and our family. Really, it was. But we’ve never really been married or a family without the church attached. It feels strange that not everyone in the church knows what’s going on with us. We are out of the fishbowl, and that feels good. So, for the record, we did not quit the ministry. If family is supposed to be our number one ministry (after ministry to the Lord–as any “good Christian” knows) we have just begun.