I've been feeling strange for a long time. I've known in my heart that I was leaving PCC since August. Staff meetings, especially ones where we would look into the future and talk about vision and new initiatives, were increasingly uncomfortable. The pinnacle was back in January when our whole staff went to Marin for our annual overnight staff retreat. I was miserable. I felt like I was lying to everyone, and I had absolutely nothing to say about the upcoming year. It's not that I didn't love or believe in the mission of PCC. I remember telling someone that it felt like I was on a plane with these people, but that they were going to continue on to another destination and I was going to get off the plane at the next airport. It's hard to get excited about Paris when you know you're getting off in London. I was really excited about London, but I couldn't talk about it yet, and it was really lonely and weird. Thank God for Tony. He knew about it and could pray and talk with me...
I feel much better about everything since talking to Gary and letting the church in on everything. I hate living in secrecy. I am the kind of man who wants it all out on the table. I believe that we actually can do things in a grown-up, godly way and deal honestly with one another. So I've been delighted with the response that I've gotten from most people.
Some people just don't get it, and they won't. It's one thing to talk about following Jesus and taking risks; it's quite another to walk away from a community and a job that you love just because you're convinced Jesus is leading you away. Especially when you don't have a job you're going to! I had a good friend (who gets it, by the way) comment on how very "un-American" what we are doing is. I hadn't thought of it that way before. I do fear peoples' reactions, I have to admit. I don't want to be thought of as irresponsible or foolish. I have a wife and four kids to care for!
But I know that God is leading, and it's not just away from something. He's taking us somewhere. I pray all the time that He will reveal His next step to us and that we will discern what that is and obey Him.
I am really excited about my week coming up in Boston. In addition to spending a week in a really cool place, I'll get to hang out with some people I respect and like even though I barely know them. God seems to be up to something, and the very worst that can happen is that I make some great friends and connections for the journey.
So back to PCC. My challenge is this: I find myself so focused on our next season that I have a difficult time being present. I have to pray every day that God will help me to give my best to PCC. And for those of you who are PCC friends, please don't take this personally. You know I love and value you... It's just that this is big for us. It's really hard not to count down the days. It's hard not to focus on the fact that there are only 4 more Sundays for me to lead at PCC. When I look back at the last 8 years, I figure I've led approximately 1,000 worship gatherings. Now I'm down to 12. 24 hours from now it'll be 9. So strange.
God, help me to keep my head in the game! To give my very best to this wonderful group of people. To remember that I am still called here for the next 30 days. Pour your love and life through me and into the people who need me. Help me to say "goodbye" with grace and love and excellence.