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Categories, Christianity, Church, Identity, Self-Reflections

Why I am No Longer on Church Staff or in Seminary


Written January 4, 2012 as my official resignation letter from GVBC staff. After being on church staff and attending seminary for a year and a half, I decided the position and accompanying vocation was not for me. I tried to be as honest and candid as possible, for I did not want to be fake nor put off the perception I was leaving staff because there was something wrong with our church.

Monica and Paul, 2012

This letter officially announces my resignation as Pastoral Intern of Neighborhood Impact effective January 1, 2012. Though a previous Spirit newsletter briefly stated the news, I wish to provide more details regarding why I am stepping down from GVBC staff and what is next for me.

After a year and a half of serving and learning in pastoral ministry, I believe God’s call for my life is elsewhere. While I am deeply grateful for being on pastoral staff at GVBC, this past year and a half has been very challenging for me. I had to confront and reevaluate my weaknesses, my spiritual wounds, and my theological beliefs. I found it very difficult to act as a spiritual leader and mobilizer. As an introvert, I am neither a community organizer nor an administrator. Also, as one still trying to struggle through many aspects of his faith, I was ill-equipped to help others develop theirs. Most significantly, the stress of the internship and the nature of it being in the “public eye” triggered episodes of debilitating depression.

Nevertheless, despite all the ways in which I struggled, I am grateful because I am a different person than I was a year ago. Most importantly, I understand that I am first and last an agent, one who makes decisions and is responsible for his actions and choices. While external forces may influence and shape me, I am still responsible as a person of faith. I also have a stronger and surer sense of self: I better understand my strengths, weaknesses, limitations, and who I am both as a person and in relation to others and the Divine.

God is asking me to love and support my wife, develop self-discipline, commitment, and personal integrity, mend some broken relationships, and heal some old wounds. I hope to live this out in the full time working context without the stresses of school for a season. I plan to take an extended break from seminary and am unsure of when or if I will go back. I’ve procured a full time job at a small electronics company in Torrance. As the inventory assistant, my main tasks will be to manage the online inventory accounts.

Though I am leaving GVBC staff, I am not leaving GVBC. This is still my home church and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday mornings. Thank you for your love and care, especially for your generous financial, emotional, and prayer support.

If you’d like to read more about my thoughts and feelings towards Church (the general Church and not specifically GVBC), Christianity, and the Christ-figure, please see the two following posts.
My Theological “Evolution”: Tensions, Questions, and Orson Scott Card’s Xenocide (March 1, 2012)
Am I an Atheist? Reflections on “From Minister to Atheist: A Story of Losing Faith” (May 11, 2012)
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Discussion

6 thoughts on “Why I am No Longer on Church Staff or in Seminary

  1. Hey Paul, I hadn’t read this till now, a bit more than a year later and I just wanted to affirm and encourage all the growth and changes I have seen in both you and Moni together and individually. You have definitely grown and matured and I feel that Although things are still uncertain, The Lord is and will continue to lead you through it! Also for an introvert this blog is pretty bold 😉 I like it!! Thanks for being an open book!

    Posted by Steph | February 21, 2013, 9:07 am
  2. I appreciate the courage it took to write this for/to the church.

    Posted by scott | September 14, 2012, 9:48 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Choosing Friendship over Doctrine: Rethinking my Approach Towards Conservative Asian American Christians | eesahmu - [isamu] : Japanese for courage - March 11, 2013

  2. Pingback: Reflections on How We Discuss Politics at Church « eesahmu – [isamu] : Japanese for courage - January 5, 2013

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Every night before saying goodnight, my father prayed for his children to "be strong and courageous." This blog is an attempt to live up to that hope.

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