Yesterday, Pastor Chad shared some more details about my impending departure at all three services at Hayward Wesleyan Church as well as how things are looking for the new positions. Sunday, June 9 will be my last day on staff, and I get the honor of preaching that morning.
This definitely hasn’t been a secret. I announced that I would be stepping away from full-time ministry at HWC back in November. Every single week (and throughout the week) we get asked this question and yesterday Amanda and I got it a lot!
“So, have you figured out what’s next yet?”
The short answer?
The long answer?
Hayward, WI has been our established home for almost 16 years. I was single when I came to Hayward and got a position on staff, got married within the first year, bought a house a year later, and had our first child two years later and then another child almost two years later as well. Hayward has been the place where Amanda and I have started and grown our family. Contrast that with my life growing up in a military family where we moved constantly, our two girls have only known one town, one house, one backyard, one set of schools, one faith community, and many friends in this one place. We are settled in this community, in so many ways.
The thought of leaving Hayward for another community is difficult for Amanda and I (and the girls). It is not a switch that can easily be flipped; nor should it be. We didn’t hold back… we still haven’t held back. We have poured our hearts and lives into participating with the Spirit of God in seeing students and families reconciled to God and flourishing in his kingdom. Sixteen years worth of relational engagement has an embedding quality to it.
This is what has been interesting for us these last six months as we have processed and continue to process what is next for our family.
We don’t know yet.
We have held back from making any further decisions about life or location changes until after June 9th. We want to be fully present here and at Hayward Wesleyan until then.
Sure we have been thinking, wondering, imagining, and looking. We check The Wesleyan Church jobs postings every other week or so. We have scrolled through ChurchStaffing.com under Youth Pastors and other positions regularly, and have been reached out to by a handful of churches that are looking for a pastor. To be honest, while a few have peaked our interest, not once has any led us to make any moves toward further inquiry.
Both Amanda and I know without a doubt that it is the right thing for us to step away from Hayward Wesleyan Church right now. We knew it back in November and we still believe it today. There was nothing wrong, and there is nothing wrong. We just both feel that our season of time as the youth and children and family pastor in Hayward through Hayward Wesleyan Church has come to an end, and a new season both for the Mavis family as well as the HWC family is upon us.
“So, what is your plan, Jeremy? What is happening Monday, June 10th?”
In a time of uncertainty, I believe the best thing one can do is take the next right step. It doesn’t have to be the “big” next step, but just the next “right” one, no matter how big or simple. And it has to be a step. It can’t be wallowing in self-pity.
Here is Jeremy, Amanda, Sari and Macie’s next right step:
Amanda is going to work where she has worked for the past 16 years. Jeremy, Sari and Macie are going to spend the morning doing chores and “blessing the house” as Amanda calls it, and probably swimming in the pool in the afternoon or some other weather appropriate activity, then relax and reflect in the evening together as the first day of a monumental life change settles in around us.
And then we will do something similar the next day… and the next day after that…
I will be spending the summer with our girls and completing some stalled projects on our house as well as other personal business entities. We have saved prudently these six months knowing that this transition would shake our family finances a bit, so it looks like I will only have to engage in a few side projects where I can make money to contribute to our family income this summer.
The girls and I will be swimming, biking, camping, adventuring, and making some memories together! Amanda will join us at various times as we make sure when she comes home from work that she can relax and enjoy downtime with us.
That our family’s next right step.
Anything beyond this is conjecture.
It seems like we might be in Hayward for longer than the summer, though. We are not in a hurry to jump into another ministry job somewhere. A friend of mine used the analogy of a football game and the tradition of a halftime break in between the two halves of the game. He dubbed this next right step as a sort of halftime–a break between the two halves. I liked that idea.
My family, after 16 years of immersed ministry and deep relational engagement in our beloved community, needs a halftime. They need their husband and their dad’s full attention for a season.
And they are going to get it!
We are not sure how long this “halftime” will last. Could be six months, or a year, or eight years. We are just really not sure. The idea of staying in Hayward longer, even though I won’t be an employed pastor at Hayward Wesleyan, makes us smile.
If this “halftime” lasts longer than the summer, which it currently looks like it will, I will have to find a job in the Fall. We won’t be able to survive financially, if I continue to just stay at home. And that wouldn’t be a next “right” step. Which means I get to love people and exemplify the kingdom of God in some profession outside of that of an ordained clergy. That makes me smile as well.
The LORD is in this… we know this to be true. He is orchestrating this both for our family as well as the HWC family. It is in his hands that we trust and hope and rely… even when we don’t.
It’s funny, when people have asked how Amanda and I are doing in this season of transition, I have shared that in our better moments we are fully trusting the LORD, and in worse moments we are freaking out! Thankfully, so far at least, we are not on the same cycle. When I’m freaking out, Amanda is trusting. When I might be trusting, Amanda is freaking out. This is faith working itself out in real-life, which is where we all are on a regular basis. We just need to be honest about it!
Thank you for caring about us, loving us, and worrying (in a good way) about us.