A reflection from Nick Nye as he steps down from the position of Lead Pastor.
Pastor John Calvin said, “For then do we make room for Christ’s grace, when in true humility of mind, we feel and confess our own weakness. The valleys are watered with rain to make them fruitful, while in the meantime, the high summits of the lofty mountains remain dry. Let that man, therefore, become a valley, who is desirous to receive the heavenly rain of God’s spiritual grace.” (Commentary on 1,2 Corinthians.)
Brittany and I are on a journey of downward mobility to become a valley, where we can better receive the showers of God’s grace. Our desperate prayer over the last few months has been “Help us to become a valley.”
Several years ago, I was sitting atop a figurative fence. On one side was my role with the Short North congregation–to preach, shepherd, lead and invest in her future. On the other side was a multi-congregational team in need of unifying, building up and keeping the vision going in many different contexts, with many different leaders.
I needed to get off the fence. The elders and I had to make a choice. As I saw that my gifts could be used to serve in the central role, at the same time, Joe Byler expressed his desire to step into the role of Lead Pastor at the Short North. It seemed that God was opening the door for us to makes some leadership shifts.
But after taking my sabbatical last year, I quickly realized my new central role took me too far out of the out of the grind of all the ‘normal’ pastoral issues and dreams, and into a world where I felt more like a consultant or manager. It wasn’t a good fit.
I wrestled with my discontent and sought counsel from my wife, wise counselors outside of Veritas, and with the elders. Ultimately, I decided I had to step down.
Stepping down felt so disorienting. I asked myself, “What did we just do?” But ultimately, we felt it was the right move. We could easily decentralize my role and get the congregations to a place where they felt more equipped with leaders and and a vision specific to their contexts.
After months of prayer and fasting, begging God for clarity and seeing many of my own weaknesses begin to surface, Brittany and I simply felt we needed to step away from Veritas in order to be in a role more appropriate for my giftings.
The elders offered me a pastoral role to lead community groups at the Short North, and while we recognized the deep need for this at Veritas, we felt it was yet another ill-fitting role for me specifically.
In light of this, our family really needs your prayers. Deep friendships reside in this church. We ask that you not forget us, in the sense of remembering us always in your prayers. We also need your encouragement. As we take this journey down the mountain, we often feel discouraged tempted by Satan to cling to guilt and shame rather than the cross of Christ. There is no church scandal that got us here just a journey of self and church discovery.
Where will we go from here? We are hoping to move in mid-June 2017 to whatever door God opens. But, more than what city we go to, or what role I play, we are praying God invites us to become a valley where deep, living waters rage.
I love you all and have been honored to serve you these last (nearly) ten years.