***Disclaimer: My thoughts here are not edited, and not polished. A few of the ideas have not been fleshed out, but are just my feelings and reactions… ALSO….
***This is the first time I have shared anything publicly about what has happened in the last few years and my association with any churches. There is no “dirty laundry” to air, and anything that I share is public knowledge. What is different here is that these are my feelings. They are raw, and sometimes not a great example of who I am or what I want to be. But that’s sort of what starting this blog was all about. A chance for me to share my struggles and pain with others. The header on this blog references the idea that when something is on the internet, it is there forever. My hope is that years from now, this will be a great way to show triumph and growth. That somewhere down the line, both myself and other people can read through these scribbles and see victory.
I wonder if the Chip Kelly transfer had happened a few years ago if I would still be in Oregon working. Lemmie ‘splain…
When we were let go from the Youth Pastor position in Oregon it was in the middle of a staff change. The senior pastor was retiring and the church was going to have to start looking for a new pastor. I was brought in and told that I had three months left and at that time I would be out of a job. Much of the logic behind why I was let go revolved around sporting analogies. The example of bringing in a new head coach required new staff. It was the idea that this is what happens when a new head coach comes in, he brings his own assistant coaches and staff with him.
The group of men that I had conversations with in the following months were great story tellers and communicators. It was their gift. They were able to convince me of something I didn’t even believe (not saying I had the right answer.. it was just a different one). I had many meetings with these men and tried to have them explain to me over and over again why this was happening because the logic seemed flawed. For weeks after they let me know, people in the church would ask me “Why?” and I had no answer for them. I had a breakdown, telling them that I could no longer pretend everything was “all right” with me and that 1) they needed to tell people the “why”, and 2) they needed to tell me what to tell these people. I was told that at the core of what was going on is that “The church is going in a different direction now,” so I should tell them that. Now THAT was something I could understand. That made sense… I could go on in life knowing that there is a change of direction, and I was not part of that, which I am ok with (although when I asked what that direction is, or how I didn’t fit, an answer could not be given).
Today while watching Sports Center they did some interviews with some Oregon University staff and a whole new perspective that was right in front of me came clear. The UO rep made many of the same points that I tried to bring up; that the students knew and were familiar with the current staff, that the current staff knows the team best and knows what they will need as change approaches, that keeping the other coordinators would not only be good, but would be crucial in maintaing recruits, and that it is good to have staff there that know the team to assist the coach. On top of that, there were two new points that came up, which I WISH I had thought of then…
1) People in the church are NOT professionals. Just like the college team, the goal is not to stay in the same place forever. The stay there is temporary. Our goal/mission/calling as pastors is to edify, equip, and release. The theory is that we are doing our best to equip the church to go to the next level. Just as in the college level, it is the coaching staff’s job to prepare these kids to be professionals At the Pro level, it’s a job… you are there. Thick or thin, you stay. It’s your livelihood. At the college level, you aren’t prepared and ready for these kind of changes, and you don’t HAVE to stay. You can always transfer, and if you are a new recruit, you can de-commit.
2) Our coach was leaving us, we didn’t fire and re-hire a new guy. Had Chip Kelly left a few years ago, I would have seen the difference. In my scenario, our Church was Oregon University, not Philadelphia Eagles. I know they may sound similar, but they are different in so many ways. First of all, the desperation level to find a new coach is not high when you have a strong team. Just as there are many coaches that can step up and fill in for Chip Kelly at UO, there were many Godly leaders that could fill that role on a temporary basis, until you find a coach the blends with the team. This would mean it is the hiring committee and coaches responsibility to make sure everything works through the hire process and integration. In Philadelphia, there will be a clear, “This is my way, get in line” mentality. Chip Kelly can go in and if he does not get along with staff, the staff must either change, or leave. I think that view was the only one that was looked at when making decisions at the church I worked for.
I need to be clear here… I am not upset at all with the staff at that church. Although I wish I had been looked at as part of the flock as well, they were simply looking out for their flock. Right or wrong, the decision was made in the best intrest of the body of the church.
To say I am not hurt still would be a lie. I think there is a pain that will last for a long time. I still don’t undertand what happened, or why.. I may never know. I will find peace though in that it is not my place to know. I am not God, and I don’t HAVE to know the plan. I just have to persever. As much as I feel as though I have been walking through the valley of death and destruction, it was clear that I was walking in light and truth when God directed my family to that church. I will choose to remember that God KNEW what was going to happen when He lead us there. It has been, and will always be my source of peace.
All that being said… GOOD LUCK CHIP!
PS… I don’t REALLY think it would have changed anyone’s mind… it was just a couple points that came up to me today… Inspiration comes from the craziest places… man I love Sports Center