Today, I want to let you know of my resignation as lead pastor of Jericho Ridge.
As I have worked deeply at self-reflection and honestly asking of the question over the past year of what is best for Jericho, a core theme or phrase has come to the surface and crystallized just in the last few weeks that have led myself and Meg to this place of needing to move on from leadership here. And that is this: My core gift set and Jericho’s current and future needs are not well matched.
As we moved into the month of September and I began to turn the page to look at 2024 and beyond, I found that for the first time in my pastoral work here at Jericho, I didn’t have an answer to the question “what’s next?” Well, I did have an answer and it was “I don’t know” which is the first time that has been a blank page for me since we started Jericho in 2005. That felt so unusual that it took me off-guard.
At first, I thought that this may just be connected to the deep soul fatigue that has been creeping up on me and that I expressed in my pastoral report at the AGM in May. It is also no secret that these past 10 months have been an incredibly challenging season of life and ministry together and it would be tempting to think that the pain of the gender and sexuality conversation and the deep wounds we have sustained as a church and that I have sustained as a leader are what have led to this place. For some, this past season has resulted in a deep loss of trust in me which has made it difficult to pastor. But none of those tell the whole story of what is going on in me or where Jericho Ridge is at and needs to go.
My initial thought was to push through and we could all experience a re-set following my planned sabbatical in 2024. But it was the thought of leading at Jericho beyond that which kept nagging at me. I needed to answer the question “is what I have to offer and the ways in which I know how to offer it what is needed now and into the future for Jericho?”
Its not that I don’t have a sense of what the pathway forward is for Jericho… Jericho needs healing. Jericho needs a person who has the patience for a season of building back to strength and a renewed vision. A person who can help heal the internal wounds and divisions.
This last season has not been easy for you or for me. I am deeply sorry for my part in this. I am not perfect and I made mistakes of judgement and process which hurt many of you. This has made it difficult for the elders as well. It is my hope and prayer that God can redeem my mistakes and this experience for all of us by God’s grace.
I firmly believe Jericho has the DNA to be a flourishing community that has a dynamic and life-changing impact on the community and beyond. I just don’t have it in the tank to lead us there and it is not a skill set I can learn in time to create the stability needed.
I know myself well. I am a catalyst. A leader who starts things. From the planting of Jericho through our various stages of growth and moves and challenges into and beyond the building project, there has always been things that required catalyzing in the life of Jericho. But as we approach the church’s 19th birthday, my style of leadership and my core gifts are not what Jericho needs in order to thrive. And because of this, continuing to lead Jericho is also not what will help me thrive.
This next season for me is unknown but I know I need two things. One, I need soul-rest. Pastoring through the high intensity that has been Jericho for these past two decades has come at an immensely high cost and I need time to refuel. Two, because of my gifts and style, I would benefit from a fresh project that I can throw myself into and catalyze toward growth and change. I have no idea what that looks like or what God has in store for me and for our family so that feels scary and lonely and yet necessary all at the same time. The timing is challenging as it feels like we are going out on a low note or that this past 10 months somehow defines our 19 years at Jericho or that we are abandoning people whom we deeply love. But beyond all of that, there is a deep love I have in my heart for Jericho, what it is and what it can be. God is up to something here. I just know that I can’t take us as where I believe God wants us to go.
So this is the part of the journey where the pathway forward for Jericho and the pathway for me as the pastor of the people who call Jericho home diverges. But I am confident of God’s goodness and grace for all of us.
With deep love and sincere affection and also no small amount of tears,
SEE Below for the Video of the Announcement: