I thought at first that I might be able to slip out the back door. I could give notice I was leaving, finish up some projects, and depart without fanfare. But I didn't want people to wonder who initiated my departure, or why I was leaving. So I began to tell the colleagues at my global tech firm that I was leaving to take a role as a pastor at a church.
Responses varied. While everyone was polite, and some were enthusiastic, one of my favorite responses was, "You're becoming a priest? Jesus!" Then, face reddening, "Oh, I'm not supposed to say that to you!"
As I talked to my colleagues, I realized again how much I liked them. For a few years I had a role in which I met every new employee at our location as they came onboard. My team had supported them, and whether enforcing policy or flexing it, I had interacted with many at the local site and elsewhere. To some extent, I had been a fixture in the place.
Saying goodbye to them was bittersweet. All the same, it was an unexpected gift to have a reason to go around and talk to some of the many people who had been bright lights in my workdays.
As I continue meeting the family at Church of the Valley, I'm experiencing something similar. There are many details to be tackled, and I have begun work on some of those. But what really makes my days bright is the people I get to interact with.
The best part is that every day, I get to share good news about the one who rescued me from myself. Caring for people and helping them know Jesus better is what I want to be known for. I'd like to become a fixture, doing that at Church of the Valley.
And what do you do with a new fixture? You install him.
On Sunday, September 9, we'll have installation services at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. To be honest, all I know is that my dear friend (and now boss) Tim Reilly and my dear mentor (and former professor) Jeff Louie will be doing what they do. I hope you'll be able to join us for one of the services. If you can come at 11:00, plan to stick around for lunch afterwards.