Brooklyn and I had only served at the church for two years. Seems like such a short time, now. It felt much more significant then. It was our second pastoral assignment. Well, Brooklyn was the only one officially assigned. She was the youth pastor. I was just her husband who was attending seminary.
As her husband, I was there for every ministry moment in which she was involved. I served beside her on every Wednesday night youth group, Sunday school class, worship service, beach trip, lock-in, camp, and graduation party. You name it, I was there. Not begrudgingly, either.
Our hearts formed around the lives of these teenagers. They became like family to us. The connection was deep. An intimate bond had been formed.
The same can be said for many of the adults and families in the church. Brooklyn and I knew we were loved like one of their own. We shared numerous meals together in their homes and at their favorite restaurants. We surfed together. We took random trips to Disney as a group.
One of the hardest days of my life was standing on the stage and saying, “Good-bye.” Brooklyn and I were moving 18 hours away. Our ministry time with them came to end. Oh, it was painful.
Brooklyn and I have learned in 14 years of pastoral ministry, it’s tough to say good-bye. It hurts to let go of a bond formed around God’s love lived out in mission together. Sadly, we’ve also learned that in the ministry, good-byes will often come.
Now, we face another difficult good-bye to dear friends and partners in ministry. Only, this time we aren’t leaving. Precious friends and partners in ministry are making the move. We have served together with them for 10 years, in 2 different states, through 5 pregnancies, and 3 separate lead pastors.
They are our “framily,” friends-family. Much more than coworkers, we are friends who share a hard to find kind of love for another.
It’s hard to believe we won’t see them every Saturday Night anymore. Our tradition of “Taco Tuesday” (which was actually Fajita’s) is suspended. We’ve shared many pizza’s together after church. And, we’ve worshipped our heart’s out with a worship leader who can sing with the best of them.
It’s time to say, “Good-bye. We love you. Thank you for all you have poured into our lives, and for allowing us to pour into yours. We believe in you. We know God will use you even more than God already has. We will miss you.”
Good-bye, Warren, Jessica, Aubrey, Truman, and Graham. Our family, and Highland Park Church, is forever changed by the gift of your ministry to us.
It’s a tough lesson to learn. But, totally worth the value added to our lives and to God’s kingdom.