When Senior Pastor announced my decision to step down as a pastor of CVCC this morning at the very first service of 2014, it probably came as a surprise or shock to many. Understandably, it is no small thing for a pastor to relinquish his position, let alone one who holds the position of Deputy Senior Pastor. I can only imagine the many questions and/or speculations in the minds of people as they process this development.
After the service, quite a few came to shake my hand, expressing their surprise and sentiments. I am thankful for these who cared enough to approach me and to clarify what stepping down as a pastor meant. I am glad I had the opportunity to share with them so that there would be as little of a chance of any misunderstanding. Even so, I am well aware that word will get round rather quickly and conjectures will also abound. By this evening, a sister-in-Christ from another church had already heard about it. And the standard reaction, as expected, was, “Why? Were there problems? Are you leaving the church? What are you going to do?”
I’d like to address these FAQs in this post 🙂
This decision is not my own. It is a step of faith in obedience to how the Lord has directed me; and not just myself but also Serene. This is not a small decision and I am so thankful that Serene and I are in unity and in agreement, the Lord having spoken to the both of us. What seemed like a sudden announcement is really a culmination of two years’ of seeking, intensified in the last six months. Finally, sometime end-Sept-early-Oct, the Lord’s directive came so clearly.
Immediately, I shared with my Senior Pastor so that we could process this together. And that’s what we did over the past three months. In December, this was shared with the pastoral team, followed by ministry and discipleship group leaders, before today’s announcement to the congregation.
Officially, as of 1 Jan 2014, I am no longer a pastor of Covenant Vision Christian Church; no longer on staff. I am, however, still the Dean of Covenant Vision School of Ministry (under Covenant Vision Centre), for which I receive some financial support from CVCC. Serene and I remain members of the church and we continue to worship and serve there as a family.
We believe that the Lord has asked me to step down so that I can step out to step into a ministry He has prepared for me, to minister on a broader front across churches and organisations. What this ministry is and what it will look like, I only have a vague idea at the moment. As such, being released from my pastoral role and duties, I now have time to seek the Lord more intently for the next steps, and then to develop this ministry as He leads. Along the way, I will teach and preach as and when I am given the opportunity and privilege to do so.
And in case anyone is wondering … no, I am not starting another church 🙂
That’s pretty much what I am able to share at this point … until the Lord reveals the next steps. Please help us share this with others so that there will be as little speculation and negative talk as possible. Pray for us too. The way ahead is very exciting but it is also very scary, not really knowing what is around the bend, with seven children in tow … talk about leaving a comfort zone! That said, Serene and I are just so awed by the Lord’s love and grace, affirming and assuring us of His presence and faithfulness. In that and in Him, we rest.
To all at CVCC, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you as your pastor these past five years. I have learnt a lot and this experience will be put to good use to bless even more. We look forward to your continued support as we enter a new season of ministry that the Lord has prepared for us. To God be all glory!