As many of you know May 29, 2011 will be my final Sunday as the pastor of Mission Bay Community Church, the church I helped to found 11+ years ago. The gratitude for who and what the people of MBCC have been in my life and the life of my family will forever be a reminder of what a faithful group of people can be together when it takes seriously living as the body of Christ.
MBCC has been such a huge part of my life and the life of my family, that to think about church and ministry after MBCC seems nearly impossible. What you all have taught me about being a pastor has been powerful, the ways this community has helped to raise up Evelyn, Abigail and Analise have been profound and how you have walked with our family through difficult times will forever shape my understanding of what it truly means to be church. But now you are in a different time, a time of looking into the future, setting down roots in a community and rediscovering who you are to be next. It is this blessed anticipation of what MBCC is becoming that has so clearly spoken to me and reminded me that you deserve more than I am equipped to give at this stage in my life and ministry. [Read full letter]
We have spent the last few months saying our goodbyes which has been a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the roller-coaster of a life we have had as a congregation. As I write this now, I can't help but to smile at the memories of such crazy times we have shared. Whoever is called to pastor this community next is in for a treat!
One of the questions that has been asked of me is "So what's next?" Some are shocked that I would leave a paying job without having another lined up, others think there is some super-duper-secret plan that I have yet to reveal and others are just rolling with it. As I have said before, my leaving is not only about a time for MBCC to call new leadership, but it is also about my own yearnings to dive into areas of life and ministry that I have not been able to fully explore. No secret plan, no ulterior motives, just a boy trying to be faithful to God's call.
Still, I know there has been plenty of speculation, so as I end my time with MBCC and begin a new stage of life, I figure it is time to give a little more info about my future. While I know that conventional wisdom has been saying that I might be called up to the Oakland Athletics as a slick-fileding 42-year-old phenom, Billy Beanehas not called, so for the next year or so - and after some wonderful family time away this summer - here is how my "work" time will be spent:
- 26.8% Blogging for Patheos - As one of their featured bloggers, I am hoping to concentrate more on blogging about pretty much everything. Take a read of my welcome post to see what it will be about, but if you think I express my opinons about stuff a lot now, watch out This represents a move away from my own blog to a place where there are some great conversations taking place about faith, spirituality and religion. I'm still posting on other platforms, but all content will originate from this new blog.
- 23.6% Book Writing - Like so many folks these days, I too have the urge to write a book on life and faith. After starting and stopping, I'm going for it again. This is very much one of those, "If I don't go for it, I'll regret it later" kind of moves.
- 22.2% Helping John Avalos get elected Mayor of San Francisco - Yep . . . getting back to my Sacramento politics roots, I'm jumping into a little campaign craziness. I'm very excited about John, his progressive politics and the opportunity to be part of a true grassroots political movement here in San Francisco.
- 22.1% Traveling and Speaking - Humbled that the invitation are still coming, I am scheduled to speak at various conferences, retreats and gatherings a few times a month for the next year or so. On everything from social media to church culture to traditional preaching opportunities, I am looking forward to continuing conversations on life and faith. If you are interested in having me come out for an event, here is more info.
- 15.3% Doctor of Ministry Program - While I am honored and grateful for my Honorary Doctorate from Austin College, I am also very interested in doing some deeper academic work around the theology and ecclesiology of social media. With this as my initial lens, I will begin by auditing a class atMcCormick Theological Seminary this summer and then seek official acceptance into the Doctor of Ministry program in the fall.
Yep . . . I'll be giving 110%
So there you have it, my grand plans for the future: a little structured activity flavored with some welcomed uncertainty. You are invited to come along by liking my facebook page or following me on twitter. I would also ask that you keep in prayer my family as we say good bye to the only church community that the kids have ever really known and transition into new rhythms of life and faith. And last but not least, let me just say that my wife is pretty awesome for rolling with all of my self-inflicted chaos.
Thanks for listening and I'll see you around the interwebs.