Before the holidays I informed the elders of the Ithaca Church of Christ, where I serve as the evangelist/preacher, that I am looking for another ministry location. This past week I informed the rest of the congregation.
My reasons are due to the need for financial stability. When I agreed to come hear, I knew I was taking on a full-time work for what amounts to a part-time salary. The hope was that I would raise the rest of my expense needs. However, I have not been able to raise the necessary funds. With a the birth of our 3rd child expected this March 10th and a large student loan payment that I must begin paying this next year, my wife and I decided that it was necessary for me to find a ministry opportunity where I could be financially supported full-time by the congregation I serve.
As a result, I have submitted several resumes to congregations. One congregation, in South Carolina, has already invited me to come for a visit the first weekend of February.
I am looking forward to the future but I am also sad for the Ithaca Church of Christ. This is a good congregation. Imperfect… Yes! But so is the preacher J. Despite there imperfections, they are a wonderful congregation. The people love God and each other. For a small, 40 member church, they minister to the community with more frequency and tenacity than some 100 member churches do. They are committed to the Lord yet also open-minded to new ideas and not afraid of change. There is a core leadership there that cares enough to try and to be the best servant leaders possible.
As I transition away from here, I want to be faithful to my commitment and give them my best service until my official resignation takes effect. I pray that the transition will take place in a healthy manner for both my family and the Ithaca Church of Christ as I know times like these can be good or bad, depending on how people deal with such difficult times.
My preaching for the next few weeks looks something like this: Romans 8.31-39, Good News – More than Conquerors; 1 Corinthians 9.24-27, The Christian’s Responsibility for Finishing the Race; Ezekiel 37.1-14, Re-Converting the Church A; Luke 18.18-30, Re-Converting the Church B. I finished 2007 preaching through the Gospel of Mark and now I hope to address some individual issues. After I finish these lessons I may address some more leadership issues (I start this week teaching the Sunday Morning Bible Class on the subject of Congregational Leadership) or I may address some core Christian values (e.g., scripture, cross, hope, etc…).
Please keep my family in your prayers and also the Ithaca Church of Christ.