Two years ago last summer, I received a call from a friend of mine asking me to send him my resume. I didn’t think much about it but a few weeks later I received a call from the pastor search committee at a church in Charlotte, NC. It was a very impressive business executive and she asked me to send her a DVD of me speaking. I sent the DVD never expecting to hear back from them. Why? Because I could tell the church was very traditional and nothing about me really is. My DVD was a message of me speaking using lots of multi-media and I was wearing Khaki’s and a polo shirt. It was me. Within three days this search committee called and wanted to talk with me further. Honestly, I really couldn’t understand why. In fact, I asked them what they saw in me. Two of the members said they realized that they needed to make some changes in their church in order to reach the younger generation.
They set up a meeting between us for early September and then the unexpected happened-Hurricane Katrina! I was weary and broke from living through three hurricanes in 13 months, as well walking through a difficult situation at the church I was serving. Several people advised me to go and just talk to the committee at DMBC, and so I did. I had a list of 19 changes that I believed were necessary in order for me to consider relocating to Charlotte. To my surprise the committee liked all of my ideas and believed that this is what their church needed. Their next step was inviting my wife Cassandra to come and visit. I’ll never forget Cassandra crying while we ate dinner at Bravo, a restaurant at a new mall near Huntersville. This was because she just didn’t see me” fitting” the mold of the church. But, the next night she fell in love with the committee members and realized that they needed us and how God could use us there. But I’ll never forget what Cassandra said to them.
“You say you want change, but do you really want it?” “Because Kevin will bring change and what you saw on the DVD is him.”
Then she added, “I guess that’s really not a fair question to ask you because only I really know what that looks like.”
My wife is a wise, perceptive woman. She knew this would be a risk and a true step of faith for us to walk through that door!
We agreed to accept God’s call and my 1st three messages were about the necessity to change-the church and ourselves. However, my honeymoon didn’t last very long. Change is very hard unless you are the one implementing the change. Let me say that 99.9% of the people at DMBC have been nothing but loving and gracious. But there were a lot of issues that were out of my control. Yet, I’m the leader so the buck stops with me. John Maxwell says:
“If your are leading and no one is following, you are just taking a walk.”
I won’t go into all of the details, but 4 months ago I realized something else needed to change. My mom was telling me about a message she recently heard from Pastor Rick Warren (Yeah, my parents are that cool) in which he says when churches split it is usually only 7 people who are contributing to it. It became more apparent that this transition I was making was hurtful to many people. Some good people left the church for various reasons-some because of my leadership and some because the area around the church is changing. I didn’t want anything eventually coming to a vote because even if I “won”, who really wins? Cassandra and I spent much time in prayer and realized that it was time for us to move on. We especially knew it after reading this passage from Matthew 9:16-17
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
You see, I’m the new wine and my church, DMBC is the old wineskin. I brought new ideas and a new style of ministry,(new wine) but it was just too difficult for many people. For this, I’m truly sorry. We all tried to make it work but it just wasn’t a fit. Like David told King Saul, his clothes didn’t fit–neither did the one’s expected of me. So, I met with some of the leadership last week and we mutually agreed that it was in the best interest of the church and my family that I go ahead and leave.
So last night, I resigned as Pastor of DMBC. I have no where to go and we have no idea what the future holds. Is it hard? Yes, especially on my family. The last 5-6 years have been very tough. My kids are hurting from all the losses and the moves. I will do my best to make sure that this doesn’t happen again, even if it means I work in the secular world until maybe they leave home. If you want a “real” family who loves God and people, give me a call. I do need a job.
We have so many friends at DMBC who have supported me and my family and we are grateful. I’m sorry it had to end this way. I have many friends literally all over the world who have been praying for me. So many have e-mailed and called me this week-too many to thank by name-you know who you are.
THANKS! I realize I am a blessed man.