One of the biggest steps of faith that I have taken lead to one of my biggest failures. During late spring of 2004 I was offered a new youth ministry position at a church in Williamsburg, Virginia. This was a big decision for our family because we loved our church family at Village United Methodist, most of our friends were around the central Ohio area, as well as my most of my ex-wife’s family which I was just as close to as my own. It would be a big change as we would be moving several states and many hours away from many of our comforts. I felt it was time to move on from my current role in the ministry and God was asking me to step out in faith to accept this new role. So we made the big step to move to Virginia…
Too be honest I was excited to move on to this next role because I didn’t have the best relationship with the Senior Pastor at my previous church, the new church had around 800 people on a Sunday morning which meant more youth to work with in the ministry, I enjoy history and living in Colonial Williamsburg was an awesome treat, and only being less than an hour away from the Atlantic Ocean was also a nice perk.
However, it became apparent very quick that this church was definitely not the right fit for our family. The goals and visions that I had did not match up with the goals and visions of this church. I have served primarily in United Methodist Churches and tend to lean conservative in my faith and the church I joined was not. I saw very quickly that I was so excited to move onto the next stage in my life that I didn’t do my homework like I should have, I didn’t ask enough questions, I wasn’t honest with myself with who I was and who this church was and it was not a good fit. I think the same thing happened for that church as well where they were so excited to get a new youth pastor that they didn’t see the red flags that I wasn’t the right person for their church or this position.
After only about a half a year I resigned from my position at the church. It was definitely not my desire to move my family several states away to only stay at my position a short time. This hit me hard, this wasn’t the plan in my mind, I honestly didn’t know what to do. I began working at a local public high school in the special education department and that was an awesome experience and I had the awesome privilege to work with an amazing teen named Carl. Thankfully I was also able to be a part of a great church family for a year until we moved back to Ohio. The next several years I paid for my decision to step down from my position after only a short time. No one was really interested in hiring someone who only worked at a church for that short of time. I ended up volunteering at a church with some wonderful people and learned a lot and then in September 2008 I was hired to be the Minister of Youth and Young Adults at Church of the Cross in Toledo, Ohio. I had been out of full-time ministry for about 4 years before I had the opportunity to join the staff at COTC. I have been here a little over 3 years now and I am so thankful for the opportunity that has been given to me to minister to those in this community. It has not been an easy road but God has taught me a lot along the way.
What has been a failure you have encountered in the ministry that you have learned the most from?