Saturday, April 01, 2006

Coming Clean

I haven't shared what I'm about to type with very many people before now. It's been brewing in my heart and mind for a while, and at this late hour it's starting to consume me. I need an outlet, a time to vent, a place to share, and now that things are officially moving forward, I feel more free to discuss it.

I'm quitting the ministry.

It was strange to type those words. It's strange to read them.

I was convinced for so long that this was my life's vocation, what God was calling me to do. Through four years of college and three years of seminary I was convinced that this was my path. But then I actually started doing it. It's a different matter from the dream to the reality. A disappointing reality. A disheartening reality.

I thought I'd be engrossing people in theology and the Bible. They want to believe what they've always believed. No one wants to think. They want to be told what to think.

I thought I'd be leading people to interact with their communities, to work alongside those who need help, to establish connections in the mission field. Turnouts for these events have been absolutely pathetic. People would rather spend their Saturdays at the mall.

I thought I'd be able to provide a stirring message to the masses every single Sunday. Most weeks I barely scrape by.

I thought I'd help make a difference for the kingdom of God. I can't do that unless others are willing to be different, to give new ideas a chance.

I've prayed about this long and hard. I've anguished in secret, behind closed doors. I can't put into words how sick this makes me, how sick I've felt for quite a long time now. But this is the right thing to do. While it doesn't feel as if a burden has lifted yet, I know that in the long run I will feel more free and more alive than I have over the past 14 months. My family and friends with whom I've wept and on whom I've depended throughout this process have been understanding. My wife, who is in the middle of nursing school, is less than thrilled because it puts her education and career in question. I'll need prayers from a lot of people for a long time while we figure this out.

In the meantime, I discussed this with my church's executive council and will be drafting a letter to present to our Consistory this coming month.

As it currently stands, the plan is for my final day to be July 1st, three months from today...

...which is April 1st.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like you still want to minister but maybe with a different, more willing, congregation? I'm not a minister, nor do I wish to be one, but I do know exactly how you feel. When I graduated from college with my accounting degree and took my first job, I HATED it. I hated what I did for 8-10 hours every day. I quit after three months. I took another accounting job a while later and found that one equally disagreeable. I took yet another job that was a tad easier and for a major University and loved it. I'm now in a more challenging position and loving it even more. Every ministry position won't be like the one you're in, although I'm sure you're aware of that. Good luck in whatever you do, I enjoy reading this site.

Rachel Nguyen said...

Gene didn't get it, but I did!


Happy April Fools back at ya!

net said...

Gee PoC, scare me!

Anonymous said...

April Fool's Day or no, there's sincerity in this message. Even if Jeff isn't quitting the ministry, I can't help but wonder about some of the things he said in today's post. I've been there and know what he's talking about.

Jim Jannotti said...

Good one, Jeff. You had me totally fooled.

Anonymous said...

You are a sick individual. :-)

Jeff Nelson said...

Hee, hee. Gotcha.

I'll admit that there are true feelings there...but ministry where I am isn't going the way I describe it.

Maybe I'll write a follow-up to this to separate truth from prank.:)

will smama said...

Gene - You are a good man. You reached out to someone you thought was in need only to get your hand slapped. This is why I HATE all those candid camera shows, etc...

Jeff, shame on you... but glad you're staying. :)

Rachel Nguyen said...

Aw, you guys,I didn't mean to seem like I was slapping anyone's hand! I am sorry if it came off that way.


will smama said...

Rachel - my comment was not on you. I was attempting to affirm gene and tease jeff.

it all good.

Anonymous said...

That was so not fair! As usual, I am a lifetimer behind. it's Oct 16 2007 and I am reading this now, so i took it very serious. Bad Jeff, Bad!

From, George