Things around christhroness.com have been very quiet lately.
To my loyal reader (Mom), I apologize. But it has been for a good reason.
I want to bring you up to speed on some big changes in my life.
In August of 2013, I felt that I should apply to be a Lead Pastor at a church. This was a scary journey, but one that I felt I should embark on.
With terror and a sense of excitement, I submitted my resume to be a Lead Pastor. After 8 months, numerous interviews, a trip up to meet with their Elders, it was down to one other candidate and myself. I thought I had it in the bag. I’ll never forget the phone call from their senior leader telling me that they went with the other candidate.
I was devastated.
I had a vivid dream that night that made the ordeal make more sense: I was sitting in a huge gymnasium about to take a test I thought I had prepared for. There were hundreds of desks set up in rows. The examiner placed the test in front of me, I opened up the first page and realized I had studied the wrong material. This was a senior level physics exam. I have only taken one science course in my life and I hated it. I knew I would fail the test.
After three hours I was the only person left in the gymnasium. The examiner told me to bring up my exam. I did so, only having written my name on the paper. Right as I handed in the exam I woke up. God spoke so clearly to me in that moment saying, “You thought you were ready, but you aren’t.”
The Big Change…
Fast forward to August of 2017. I had been asked to preach a weekend at Kamloops Alliance Church. During my preparing, practice and prayer time before their Saturday night service, I heard God say as clearly as he did in 2013-2014, “You’re ready. You need to apply.”
In a way, this was equally as devastating to hear as I was so passionate and committed to the people and mission at Coquitlam Alliance Church. I didn’t know what this all meant, but I knew what I heard.
I filed this away and prayed throughout the Fall of 2017. The position opened up in February of 2018, and obediently I tendered my application. I was invited into the recruitment process and interviewed numerous times with their Search Team and Elders Board. I was invited up to Kamloops and had a great, long and rigorous discussion with their Elders Board.
In this meeting, I did everything I could to make it so clear as to my passions, giftings, strengths, and weaknesses. I wanted them to know unequivocally what they were, and were not, getting in me. I felt the freedom to be this open because of my amazing situation and support at CA Church. I didn’t want to leave something so great.
At the end of April, I heard back from the Elders at KAC. They invited me to come candidate to be their Lead Pastor. I was thrilled. I had been waiting for that phone call for more than 5 years.
On May 26/27 we packed up the family (and managed to convince my Mom to come along to watch the kids for us) and headed up to Kamloops for 5 days to meet with many of the pastors and ministry leaders. I was also privileged to preach at their 3 weekend services.
Two moments stand out. The first was after meeting with the Prime Timer’s group. As Krista was getting into our van, she started to cry. I asked her what was wrong, fearing that she was scared to come and felt like we shouldn’t make the move. Quite the opposite. Krista said, “We have to come here. They need you.” I was blown away. I needed to have Krista’s buy-in to move forward. She is all-in.
The second moment was on the Friday evening we had a dinner and Q&A time with the Elders. It was transparent, rigorous, warm and exciting. We talked about the past, the future, how we can love and partner together and the opportunity to bring Kamloops Alliance into a great and effective season of ministry. By the end, Krista and I were both in tears and felt such a partnership with this group of people. We knew we were called to this new church community.
With so much emotion I resigned as the Executive Pastor at Coquitlam Alliance Church the first week of June. Today (June 19) is my last day serving in this role.
“So, how do you feel?”
I’ve been asked this a lot the past few days. Honestly, it’s so hard to say. It depends on the day and time you ask me.
- Mostly, I feel grateful. Grateful for an amazing 8 years at CA Church. Grateful for leaders who believed in me, loved me, picked me up when I fell and continued to give me more opportunities.
- I feel excited to be able to bring leadership to Kamloops Alliance Church. A community that has already embraced my family and me. A church with so much anticipation for the future. I also feel excited to work with a great staff team there.
- I grieve alongside our congregation as they process the news this past weekend when I resigned.
- I feel sad to leave an amazing staff team. A group of people that I have hired, developed, loved, and journeyed with. These people have given me grace when I failed, encouraged me in my low points and have been an easy group to lead. There is a reason why CA Church has been a certified “Best Christian Workplace” for 3 straight years and it has little to do with my leadership. It has everything to do with a group of people who love each other, are unified in purpose and mission and sacrifice much to tell people about Jesus. I strongly believe that the best days are ahead for CA Church. It is hard to leave.
- I feel a strong sense of anticipation for the future. I can’t wait to get into the saddle in Kamloops to learn the stories of the people and community there, to open the Word with them every week, to watch them grow as they watch me grow, to lead the church forward with increasing impact and influence. I really can’t wait.
To the great people of Coquitlam Alliance Church
We love you! Thanks for supporting and loving us so well. Krista and I got married at CA Church and had 3 kids during our time with you.
Krista grew up at CA Church. This has been home for her for more than 30 years. How can we put into words our gratefulness? It is impossible.
Thank you to Mark and Diane Francisco. Again, words fail to describe our love and gratitude toward this amazing couple. God asked Mark to mentor me 10 years ago. I don’t know where my life would be without him. He has given me every opportunity to grow and lead, has shared his pulpit generously with me and done so without the slightest of ego. We are forever shaped by the Francisco’s and their passion for ministry. Leaving this amazing partnership is what hurts the most.
Some people wonder when a transition like this takes place, “I wonder what the real story is?” Let me tell you as clearly as I can: there is no hidden story. The only story is that God has seen fit to move us on to a new assignment. And so, we go.
Finally, the mission matters. I have loved being a part of a church that seeks to love the lost, marginalized and broken. With grace, gifts and growth, continue to invest in the lives of people.
To the great people at Kamloops Alliance Church
To KAC in general: thank you for already loving my family and me. This was one of the big questions we had, leaving a community where we are so loved: “will they love us well?” We feel it already.
To the long-tenured people of KAC, I am excited to learn from you. To hear the stories of the community that has shaped the people, mission, and vision of KAC.
To the staff team, I look forward to serving you and alongside of you. I am so passionate about leading in teams. One of the best parts of my job is watching others succeed. I will do whatever I can do set you up for success.
Finally, get ready! On the Grip-Birkmann personality test I completed as a part of the hiring process, one of my clear orientations is action. I am passionate about bringing a group of people into a new level of impact and effectiveness. I am privileged to be on this journey with you and to lead KAC into the future.
Would you start to pray about how God will use you to bring unity, missional impact and Holy Spirit driven mission in your sphere of influence? We have lots of work to do!
Finally, here is what our lives look like in this transition period:
- My last day in the office at CA Church is June 19, 2018
- CA Church is throwing a farewell party after the Saturday night service(6pm) on June 23. This will be the last official opportunity to mingle and say goodbye
- Krista and I will be in Coquitlam until the end of July
- I start at KAC on August 1st.
- If you could pray for us, that would be great. We need to sell our house in Coquitlam and buy a house in Kamloops. We are praying for a great place to call home there, and the sale of our house here.
If you would like to reach out to me for any reason, please do not hesitate to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your continued support for us!
Chris, Krista, Hannah, Micah, and Mattea