Hey friends! I'm coming at you with another dramatic blog post yet again (sighhhh)! I promise I am not an overly-dramatic person. In fact I am a Type 3 on the Enneagram, which is the type that is least in tune to their own feelings. Plus I am an ENTJ on the Myers-Briggs, which is a "logical thinker", and I find myself to be very far from a "feeler" so I tend to dismiss emotions and retreat and not deal with them, so believe me when I say, all these highly-emotional situations have not been fun for me at all and that's why it's taken me a while to write this out.
Anyways, let me get to it... Some of you may know that a couple weeks ago Ryan and I stepped down from being the leaders of Anchor Oneonta, the night church service of Community Gospel Church that we started 2.5 years ago. In addition we also stepped down from leading Oneonta BASIC, the college ministry that we have been the advisors of for several years. Ryan started advising in 2011 and I actually have been the Oneonta BASIC advisor since I was a freshman in college in 2005; 13 years ago!
So needless to say this has been a very difficult time for us with tons of change. Ryan wrote a letter to all of Anchor that he posted on the Anchor blog and read aloud in church a few weeks back. Since then we have had several people asking us questions who are confused and upset about this turn of events that was so sudden. So I thought I would post something from my perspective plus clarify some things Ryan left out from his letter.
Since the beginning of 2018, Ryan and I were feeling pulled in a different direction in our ministry concerning theology, leadership, and government, etc within church. We thought and initially hoped Anchor and ultimately Community Gospel Church (CGC) could go the direction we feel called to go but after many months of talks with the church leadership and my dad (the pastor of CGC), it was made clear that this was not going to happen, nor should it necessarily. Eventually it got to the point where my dad asked Ryan to resign because he noticed that our mission and vision for church was too different from CGC. Honestly, this was pretty shocking at the time, but in retrospect it makes sense. Out of respect for my dad, Ryan decided to peacefully bow out, and ultimately we know it was the right thing to do. The elders decided collectively to have Ryan step down immediately. This was rough for us since we have been so invested in both our church and college ministry for so long and love all the people of CGC/Anchor. We would have preferred a slow transition and to be able to talk to our leaders and meet with our students before the announcement was made. It all just happened so fast, but again, as we start to reflect on everything a few weeks out now, we see how God is in control of the situation and trust that the elders made the decision that God ordained.
Sidenote: I know you may be wondering at this point, why can't Evangelical Christians all just get a long and go to one big happy church and love Jesus together? I would say just because someone is part of a different denomination and going to a different church doesn't mean they aren't getting along and aren't part of a big happy family because we are in the universal Church together that loves Jesus. I think we all only have a piece of the pie. We all see in part until we see Jesus face to face. I think there is so much beauty in differing denominations, worship styles, and various church services. I think just how God has given me certain passions and talents so I can reach my "tribe" and then gave you your different passions and talents so you can reach your "tribe" is just like different churches reaching different people groups. A super charismatic, non denominational church can reach the people who really love that type of church and a super traditional liturgical church can reach others who do not. Neither one is the best way but all of them together can come together to praise the name of Jesus who is right in the middle of it all!
At any rate, what I really want to explain to people here especially to our Anchor congregants and to our BASIC students that may feel abandoned or confused is that this wasn't our plan and I know this change is going to be hard on all of us but it was God's plan and He is going to turn all the hard stuff into good that will ultimately bring Him more glory in the end. So take comfort!
It's pretty crazy because the day before all this was decided, Ryan was offered a full time position at his old job out of the blue. He wasn't initially going to take it because he already had a job with CGC, but after this happened, he called his former job back a few days later and they said they would still love him to work there so he accepted it. He started this past Monday. The cool thing is that he is now the Administrative Assistant at FORDO, which is a Recovery Center in town, so he is still in the business of helping people which is his passion. It's also interesting that both Ryan and I work in the field of addiction again and have such a heart for it. I don't think that's a coincidence.
A provision that I believe God has given me through this is rest. For a while now I have been working in ministry burnout mode. I know all of you who have been in ministry before know what I am talking about. As I stated before, I have been an advisor of Oneonta BASIC since Fall of 2005. Once we threw Anchor on top of BASIC in addition to my business taking off and I still was working part time at my job, things started getting hairy for me. I noticed I wasn't fully there for people like a pastor's wife should be. I was essentially just trying to make deadlines and get jobs done as opposed to really investing into people. I began to get disgruntled and bitter towards ministry in general, not because of anyone or anything in particular, but just simply from being too busy and never resting. I have had two doctors tell me that my infertility could very well be caused from stress in my life. So dealing with infertility for the past 1.5 years plus being super busy and burned out in addition to having all these differences of opinions within our church and especially my family, it all just really got to me. So even though I am so sad when I think about not leading BASIC or Anchor anymore, I am simultaneously excited for this time period in my life where I can truly rest in God and be rejuvenated and refreshed so I can focus on starting a family and one day lead again in ministry.
In addition to Ryan working full time at FORDO, he is also starting online theological grad school (seminary) tomorrow! We believe that God has called Ryan into seminary to learn how to be a better pastor for the future. His ultimate dream and goal is to become a full time pastor again someday whether that is through planting a church or joining a church that already exists, but he knows that this time right now is to focus on learning and being equipped. So this isn't the end for us in ministry. It's actually just the beginning of the next chapter. It's in our bones. We were made for this. Through all of this we are starting to realize that we needed a break and our current dream had to die so the next one could be born. It is all making us realize that God really is the only one who can dish out big dreams and work to see them come to pass in us. In addition, I think this season is for my family to just be family and not be "working" together. For my dad and my husband to just be son in-law and dad in-law again. I think it will be a refreshing change for all of us!
HOPE AS AN ANCHOR
As Anchor continues on without us, we can easily get discouraged feeling like it's not fair and it was our baby in a way but the truth is, that it was never the Ryan and Kimmy show and it's not ours to decide the future of. Through this hard time, both Ryan and I are finding so much comfort in the true Anchor who is the Changeless One. No matter how much change or sadness or storms that we face in this world, the Anchor holds us firm and secure and gives us hope for our soul! This is true for you in the messy situations in your life too. We all have them and we are all dealing with something that seems unbearable because, well, it is unbearable. We aren't suppose to bear it alone and have enough inner strength to deal with our problems because then we wouldn't need Jesus. So as you read this, no matter if you go to Anchor or not, cast your cares on Jesus right now. Let Him in, give Him all control. We serve a sovereign God who loved you before you were even born and has made the ultimate sacrifice of His Son, Jesus to give you eternal life! We aren't promised a life without trials and tribulations, but we are promised eternal security for all those who confess Jesus as their Lord!
I have been thinking of all the awesome memories over the past several years of ministry. Some of my favorites are BASICcon weekends, BASIC dance parties, sardines in the pitch black church with students, several baptisms and leading friends to the Lord, free car washes, raking leaves, starting Anchor Kids, creating the Anchor branding and painting on giant sheets and the Hartwick wall, small groups in our home, moving Anchor into the Oneonta Theatre and Foothills Performing Arts Center for Easter services, going on walks/runs with students and coffee dates with new church friends, plus all the amazing friendships I made along the way who I will forever cherish!
It was such a great season in our life and now we are moving onto the next one where God is going to continue to do amazing things and change hearts forever! Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this incredible time and who have always supported us, volunteered with us and encouraged us along the way. You are all appreciated and we love you all so much!!!!
XOXO - Kimmy