PARTING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW

Tomorrow they are turning off the cable, which means I will have no internet, and the day after that I’ll be on the road to our new house so it will be a while before I can blog again, so I jolly well better do it now.

I have been intending to write for the last two weeks but honestly, I’ve been so busy with packing, cleaning, painting and transitional things that there literally has been no time.  Even here alone in the big empty house with only the idiot dog there have been too many dreadful things to do.  Its hard work prepping a house for a new owner.  But I am very thankful that the new owners are people we know and love, so this home will be filled with joy and peace.  That makes Mrs. Greenbean I very happy.

Now, to the topic at hand.  Two weeks ago I resigned my church, my beloved church of 14 years.  It was a very painful day.  You can hear my final words in the podcast for a full rationale, but here are some key reasons.

1.  We achieved all of the major goals I knew God called me hear to accomplish.

2.  I feel God is calling me to focus on my writing ministry full time.  It is impossible to pastor 60 hours a week and do this.

3.  The church no longer needs me.  If I thought it did, I would stay.  It doesn’t, so I must go.

4.  An important part of leadership is knowing the right time to exit.  The church is at peace, growing, and by every measurable marker healthy.  Only leave when things are good.  Never leave when things are bad.

5.  I have been here too long.  I can no longer see the changes that need to happen because I am a part of the system.

6.  The most important reason is my family and I feel that the time is right and that the Holy Spirit is moving us toward something new.  If we stayed, it would be an act of disobedience and control.  The church belongs to the Lord, not to me.

 

I knew that leaving would be hard, because I love First Baptist Church and have given so much of myself to her.  What I didn’t expect was that the sorrow would come in such intense waves.  My last Sunday (9 days ago) was very hard, but he hardest day was Thursday (5 days ago).  That is the day I cleaned out my office and turned in my keys and left the building for the last time as the church’s pastor.  That same day my wife left with a friend on the cross-country drive to meet the movers at our new home and that afternoon I sold my truck.  I know, I know, it sounds like a bad country and western song but in many ways I lost my job, my wife, and my truck all in the same day.  I was a mess all evening.

Periodically the sadness rolls upon me and drags me out into the surf of of salty  tears.  I don’t know if I will ever pastor again as I know The Lord has new adventures for me in different kinds of ministry, but I loved being a pastor, and I love FBCPO and so much of me is still emotionally connected to her.  There have been ups and downs over the years, but I don’t regret anything.  The future is exciting, but FBCPO is always a part of who I am and who I have become.

I DID A VERY, VERY, VERY HARD THING YESTERDAY

As I posted on Twitter and Facebook, yesterday after worship service I resigned from First Baptist Church.  There are many reasons for this, and I will blog about it coming up in the future.  For now, let me just say that it was one of the hardest–definitely in the top 5 hardest things I’ve ever done.  I had announced to the staff and deacons the previous Wednesday what was happening and I cried and cried and cried.  They were very gracious and prayed for me.  Somehow I managed to get through Sunday without breaking down, although Mrs. Greenbean rightly spotted a couple of times during the sermon itself when I almost lost control.

Here is a copy of my resignation letter.

Resignation Letter

7 July 2013

The Lord gives.

The Lord takes away.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

For 14 years, in fact in three weeks it will be exactly 14 years, I have served as your senior pastor.  My tenure has been marked by change, and this process of change has not always been easy, but the church has bravely, and necessarily, moved forward.  Where other churches have shrunk back and lived in fear with comfortable truth, First Baptist Port Orchard has lived by faith.

It has been a privilege, an honor, and a joy to be your spiritual leader during these years.

When we came here in 1999, we knew that the Lord had called us here to serve, work, learn, and share life with you.  And we have, all four of us Greenings, served, worked, learned and shared a good life.  But now, the Lord is speaking to my family and I again, and it is apparent to us that more change is in store for both us and for First Baptist.  He is speaking to us about new adventures that lay ahead and different kinds of ministry.  Jesus is calling us away.

Therefore, I resign as your pastor, effective July 20, 2013.  Next Sunday will be my last one with you as your senior pastor.

Peace,

Dr. Jamie Greening