A Step Back, and The Path Ahead

Last Sunday morning, I shared with our church family that I am stepping back from the role of Senior Pastor. At the end of this post is an excerpt of what I said, explaining the reasons and giving a few details about the plan for moving forward. I have a few thoughts related to this decision to share with you who read this blog.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know I have posted several articles recently related to a pastor’s discouragement. I have one more article on this topic yet to post. It’s obvious that discouragement has been part of my experience as a pastor. The assumption of some might be that I resigned because of it. However, I want to be clear that my reason for resigning as pastor of Calvary is not discouragement. There have been times, I’ll be honest, when I have been so discouraged that I was ready to hang it up. But I worked through those times, by the grace of God and with help from my wife and some friends. I began this year with great anticipation of serving the Lord, sharing the Word, and working with our pastoral team here at Calvary.

In mid-January, some circumstances and my ensuing thoughts prompted me to take a step back. (The “circumstances” did not involve another church contacting me 🙂 ). I determined to undergo a period of evaluating God’s will for me and what is best for Calvary. During this two-month period I prayed, meditated on Scripture, sought counsel from a number of advisers and friends, had many conversations with my wife, read suggested books, and did everything I know to do in determining God’s will. The answer became clear to me that God is directing my heart toward a new place of ministry (yet unknown) and that it is time for Calvary to have a new person in the role of Senior Pastor.

As I say in the announcement below, I will always be grateful for the opportunity to minister at Calvary. I have learned much, and hopefully have contributed to the growth of the church and her people. We will miss the dear people of Calvary deeply. I am thankful for the reunion we will enjoy around God’s throne!

We will celebrate our Lord’s resurrection this Sunday. Then I plan to preach four messages on Sunday mornings to prepare everyone for what is ahead. This is my preliminary plan, to be fleshed out over the next few weeks. Titles and themes may change, but it will go something like this:

  • Sunday, April 3 – Be Confident – This will be a message of encouragement for our people.
  • Sunday, April 10 – Be Careful – I will share several warnings the church will need to consider.
  • Sunday, April 17 – Be Committed – The people of Calvary need to remain dedicated to the church and to the cause of Christ.
  • Sunday, April 24 – Be Christ-Focused – Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone of the church. He is the Person around whom the church will be unified and will grow even stronger and thrive through the days ahead.

Yes, I know this sounds like Warren Wiersbe. 🙂

I would appreciate your prayer for our church family and for me as we walk this path together. Thank you.

____________________________________________

From our church website:

Following is an excerpt of an announcement Pastor Dean shared with our church family this morning. We ask that you please pray for Pastor Dean and Faith as they seek God’s direction for their future ministry.

We love you, Pastor Dean, and we are grateful to the Lord for the twelve years you have faithfully ministered the Word to us.

After a long process of prayer, seeking counsel, and deliberation, I’ve determined it is time to step back from my role as Senior Pastor at Calvary. I believe Calvary needs fresh vision, clear direction, and someone with the gifts and passion to lead the church through its next stages of life and growth. And I believe God has a new place of ministry where Faith and I can use our gifts and experience to serve the Lord and His church.

For a while I have had a question in my heart about whether God may have another assignment for me to complete in my lifetime. I love Calvary and am willing to invest the rest of my life here if that is what God wants. But through prayer and the counsel of a number of people I respect and trust, I have reached a place of certainty in my heart. God has something else for me to do. I do not yet know what that will be. Faith and I are seeking the Lord’s direction and will wait on Him to lead us. It will probably involve pastoring, teaching, or some combination of both. When God is leading, we must obey. I’ve walked with God long enough to know when He is moving me in a direction, and that is what is happening now. I know you will understand that I must follow His will for my life.

Different kinds of leaders with varying gifts and strengths are used at different stages in the life of any organization, especially a church. God used Pastor Guy Altizer to plant and grow this church. He used Dr. Jim Binney to lead and grow the church through a time of transition. And He has used Dean Taylor to lead the church through another stage of maturity, growth, and change. I believe it is time for a new shepherd with fresh vision, clear direction, and the gifts to lead the church in pursuing what God has next for Calvary.

I believe the right person with the right gifts will enable Calvary to go to the next level of fulfilling her potential for the glory of God. I do not want to hinder the growth that can take place here by God’s grace. So I am stepping back to allow Calvary to seek the right person to shepherd the church through its next stages of life and growth.

This is a decision I have considered and made completely of my own initiative. No person or group has pressured me or even suggested that I do this. It is my own decision before God in following His will and doing what is best for our church.

My last Sunday to preach will be April 24 and I will be available for some time after that to give any help necessary to a smooth transition. The pastoral staff, in close coordination with the deacons, will give leadership to the church once I am finished.

Faith and I will always be grateful for the years of life and ministry He has allowed us to have at Calvary. You are dear to us, and we will always treasure you in our hearts.

We love you.

Pastor Dean