My pastor is breaking up with me. We cannot remain friends who meet for coffee, or bump into each other at the grocery store. We are totally finished.
He is breaking up with our church too. Actually, he is leaving us for another church. He has found a church in fairer weather, with less vertical terrain to navigate, and one whose Siren song is calling to him. He is moving across the country to be with this church, so it’s gotta be serious, right?!
What can I say, this feels like a platonic break-up. Not sure exactly how you can have a break-up without the romantic sentiment; and since I am friends with his wife and children (and am happily married, myself) that would be weird…but that is the only analogy that comes to mind to describe the feeling of desertion gurgling in the pit of my stomach
This is a hard thing for me to describe because I have never felt this way before. Of course I have been dumped before by boyfriends (thank goodness that ended several years ago when I got married), but there were always some tell-tale signs that it was ending. But not this time. Week after week, my pastor and I would worship alongside each other without the hint of it being fleeting. But I should know better than to have our spiritual relationship all figured out – there is only one who truly knows the depths of our hearts desires and what his plans are for us.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
So what are God’s plans?! Is this departure normal in a church body? I was not raised a Christian, and this is the first and only church that I have been a member of, so I’m not really sure how common this is. Although our church has seen several “older” pastors depart in answer to God’s calling upon their lives and work, this break-up feels different; more personal.
It’s personal because my pastor is my friend, he is my age, he is my musical mentor, he is a spiritual guide, he is a teacher, he baptized my baby girl, he has prayed with my husband and my family, we have had his family to dinner, his wife is my friend and in my weekly Bible study, we’ve received beautiful hand-me-downs from their daughter, he took me to my first Christian concert – Hillsong, etc. It’s personal because I envisioned our families growing older together, and now that will not happen, and I am personally disappointed.
My husband is upset about the break-up too. In fact, on several occasions he has said that he would highly consider following our pastor to another church, should he leave. Irony. We were okay with the idea of switching churches – hypothetically. However, now that there is a new reality, we know we will never attend Zac’s new church on a regular basis. His new church is in Florida.
Reflection – the impact of music on my soul:
It was Zac’s music and liturgical focus on worship that drew me into the church as a new believer at age 34. At the time, I was going through my own introspection, insecurity, and uncertainty in regards to my connection to God, how he had equipped me to serve him, and what passion God placed upon my heart to pursue. Music was the medium through which God was speaking, and Zac and the worship team were most often the messengers.
Our contemporary-style corporate worship was so moving to me, that I could rarely get through a service without tears pouring down my face – literally. In fact, I dug out my wedding hankie each week and kept it close by as we sang in praise of our Lord; I would run my index fingernail along the chocolate brown embroidered initials and over it’s lacy edges in a rhythmic attempt to gain composure. A small part of me felt that I should be embarrassed because I cried every Sunday, but the bigger part of me didn’t care, and knew that this was how God was humbling me before him.
Communion – an invitation to join in praise:
When I was invited to audition and then join the worship team, I was overjoyed and also very intimidated. The talent in our contemporary band runs so deep and wide, that I feel truly honored to bring glory to God along side them. I do feel that there is the divine hand of God gently orchestrating our cadre of musicians and vocalists – and that is exhibited in the leadership and passion that Zac has demonstrated.
I am continually amazed at the inventive and engaging ways that Zac orchestrates the worship service; he is so creative yet respectful of God’s word. He is very careful not to place emphasis on the musicians as the focal point of the service, and positions us off to the side of the pulpit. He encourages us to grow in our our respective instruments to bring glory to God, to collaborate with each other, and he is always willing to help to that end. In fact, I asked Zac to assist me in making a demo recording of a few songs that I had – he took time out of his schedule, to help me with a personal project.
When Zac asked me to lend my voice to his second album of old hymns set to new music with the church band, I was shocked! I mean, sometimes I still can’t believe that I am a part of this team who has so much talent; that God has equipped me to serve in this ‘small’ capacity to glorify him.The recording process as part of the chorus and a soloist was so much fun…even at 7 months pregnant! LISTEN HERE to Without Our Aid; I am featured on track #6 “Firm And Unmoved”.
Thankfulness – letting go of regret:
I feel like I took time for granted; like our pastor Zac would always be there. Did I miss opportunities to seek him out? Why didn’t I muster up the courage to ask more musical questions? I cannot allow myself to indulge in the fact that I am very personally sad that we will not lead worship side by side anymore, and that my informal tutoring has to come to a premature end. I must remind myself that I am thankful for Zac’s patience and willingness to teach me, in spite of my lack of formal training and ability to read music. His mentorship has been a blessing in my life; and I take it as a great responsibility and honor to be among those who have had the opportunity to serve with Zac.
Optimism – to God be all the glory!
Despite this breakup, I do find faith that this move is God’s will for our church and for Zac and his family. My pastor is leaving, but God is not leaving. He is the Alpha and Omega and he will always be with us…and he will always be the reason for the musical relationship that was formed between me and my pastor. He will always be the thing that unites me with Zac and the rest of the Hicks clan across the miles. And he will be the one who reunites us all in Heaven in the most awesome of worship bands to celebrate his glory for all eternity – Rock On!