My Resignation As A Pastor

Last night I informed the members of Branch Life Church of my resignation and today I will begin a full-time job outside of vocational ministry for the first time since Bethany and I left our home to begin studying at Covenant Theological Seminary.

Before I really get started, I ask you – please do not jump to any conclusions.

No one has asked me to resign. This is not due to any ethical or moral issue. I have not lost my faith. This is not a result of any dissatisfaction or loss of love between Branch Life Church and myself.

This has been brewing for almost a year. Two main factors have been the catalysts. And while there are lots of little things here and there contributing, it is entirely truthful to boil this down to emotional and financial health. We need both and my resignation is a move toward them.

I have now been on staff at three churches where the lead pastor has left shortly after my arrival. In only one of these was I even remotely involved. Regardless, they all taken their toll on Bethany and I emotionally. Maybe they shouldn’t. But such thinking is neither here nor there because it has taken a toll mercilessly and even though we look for the wherewithal to pay it continually, we just cannot afford it. I am sure I own some of the weight we have labored under. The result is I do not want to be a pastor. And for this reason I do not need to be a pastor.

For some of you, this is unfathomable. Part of your lack of being able to understand comes from you just not knowing everything. There are variables and arcs of the story few know. I assume much will be made known and then you will understand more. I sure hope this happens. For others, you think the height of spirituality is being a vocational pastor. I will not be able to ease your mind. So I won’t try. To you, it is the highest sign of spirituality for a banker to become a vocational pastor. But it is the mark of worldliness for a pastor to become a banker. Maybe I’ll argue with you later.

Our finances are wrecked. There is no other way to put it. In coming onto staff at Branch Life Church, we knew our savings account would take a hit. It has. The moments when we have been able to live paycheck to paycheck have been few and far between. Some of you will understand — the euphoric feeling when you are able to pay all your bills without dipping into savings is an oasis in a dessert parching the soul. I do not tell you this so you will pity us merely, it’s part of our story.

Not caring about money is the luxury of those who have it. But I have a wife and 3 kids. And so for a number of months I’ve been looking for other employment. (It will take another post to explain what it was like.) Finally I found a job at a bank, thanks to an old friend, who took mercy on me. Starting out, I will not make much more than what I make now. But there is the possibility of more in the near future.

Add to this — it would financially irresponsible for a church of BLC’s size to continue to pay me any amount whatsoever. The writing was on the wall for 2012. No one approached me about it. I saw the writing lit stark like fire scrawled across the night sky about 6 months ago.

So even If I wanted to continue to be a pastor I would have to look elsewhere. But I will not move again. I cannot do that to my family. Heck, I can’t do it to myself. No, we are here for good. Place is far more precious than position for us. I would rather work three jobs in the shadows of Red, Shades and Oak Mountain than relax anywhere else.

I’ll be staying on for a little longer at BLC as a very part-time pastor – just to finish up some responsibilities and help transition.

My faith is intact and alive and kicking. Grace is more precious. Mercy is counted upon more. And no longer is my vocation a fig leaf.

Last, would you pray for me? This is going to be a weird transition. By the time you read this I will have had to get ready very early, put on a tie and go to the orientation for a job in a vocational field which I know so little of. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad. Being a theologically trained banker sounds very interesting to me. But it is going to be all so new and so very different. Pray for my nerves and that I would honor the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and bankers in all of this.

More to come.

30 thoughts on “My Resignation As A Pastor

  1. Traylor Lovvorn September 12, 2011 / 12:15 pm

    Praying for you and your family, Matt. I appreciate the courage you are displaying for doing what you know to be right. Praying the naysayers and doubters will be overshadowed by your supporters. Drink deeply. Hopefully He will lead you guys to Oak Mountain! 🙂

  2. Michael Flayhart September 12, 2011 / 12:19 pm

    This is Michael Flayhart (Bob's son from Oak Mountain). I really appreciate your bravery. Having grown up in a pastor's family I know a little about the pressures you've had to and will experience. Your willingness to do that which is right is an encouragement. I'll be praying for you.

  3. Abbey September 12, 2011 / 12:46 pm

    Jesus loves the theologically trained bankers of the world. 🙂

  4. Rachel Garcia, CD(DONA) September 12, 2011 / 12:59 pm

    well Matt, nothing but support here. Thank you for your courage to do what God is giving you peace to do! It's not always the popular choice (in the church) but thankfully you know that Gods smile toward you doesn't depend on whether you are a pastor or a banker. He is glorified in you as you enjoy Him and trust in Him. I will certainly pray for you and for Beth and your precious children as you transition. Good is good and his love for you runs deep!

  5. Michele Willis September 12, 2011 / 1:48 pm

    Listen, if anyone understands, it's this family…I might not know all the particulars, but know enough from our situations to understand! We've considered it before ourselves, but just didn't have a peace about it so we haven't left. We support you and your decision and will pray for you. It takes a bigger man to say "I'm not supposed to be doing this" than to stick with something to "save face". -Michele & Ernie

  6. Aunt Sherry September 12, 2011 / 2:26 pm

    Matt and Bethany, we love you and are praying for all of you. God is good and I know he will direct you and your family. Now all you have to do is follow. I am talking to my self also.

  7. joshua September 12, 2011 / 2:41 pm

    walking with you in this journey, brother. you know i am behind you.

  8. Matthew B. Redmond September 12, 2011 / 5:16 pm

    Thanks to all of you and especially to Michael. That means an awful lot. My wife and I are both a pastor's kid also.

  9. Anonymous September 12, 2011 / 5:53 pm

    You and your family will be in our prayers Matt. May God bless you with a new rewarding career.- Michael Bradt

  10. Doerun September 12, 2011 / 6:04 pm

    praying for you and the family! i know God will pull you guys through this, and i hope we still see you guys around after all this! 🙂 blc loves you guys!

  11. Matt Blick September 12, 2011 / 7:06 pm

    Hey Matt, I'll say a prayer for you too. I took a sabbatical from my unpaid duties as I was heading for burnout, and after a few months realised I was way past burnout and had been for a while and could never go back. I feel like I'm still trying to learn what it means to be a human being again.

  12. Bob September 12, 2011 / 8:22 pm

    Matt, 2 years ago, when I barely knew you, I had a nervous breakdown. I realized that I could no longer afford my home of 23 years. I was only 6 years from paying off my house, but those six years loomed over me like a noose around my neck. It took me 6 months to convince Mrs Tapper that we had to move.In December of 2009, we moved into a little one floor condo that we could buy for cash after we sold our home. We both thought this was a sacrifice that God called us to.Fast forward 18 months later and we are happier than ever. You could not pay us to go back to our old house. God's goodness to us is scandalous. What we thought was a sacrifice turned out to be God's richest blessing.Peace comes from God and when you do not have peace, you are not where God wants you to be.I will pray that God gives you His peace during this transitional phase in your life and I pray that 18 months from now, you will share with all of us how God orchestrated your life and you are now better off as a family because of God's direction.

  13. Matthew B. Redmond September 12, 2011 / 8:53 pm

    Bob,I appreciate you telling that story. And as anxious as I am with all this newness, I am at peace.

  14. Anonymous September 12, 2011 / 9:24 pm

    Loren and I are praying for you guys! We have watched God work through you all over the last 8 years and have seen the wonderful fruit of your ministry. Specific people are coming to mind who are loving Jesus right now b/c of God's work in your ministry. We are so grateful for the years that you spent in full-time ministry and we are just as excited to see how God will be glorified through you in this new vocation. I can't wait to read the posts that will come over the next few months… Top 10 things that pastors say and that a banker should never say…. Much love, Jon Gleason

  15. Jason September 12, 2011 / 9:42 pm

    I don't know you at all…found you from Jared's blog…but I will definitely be praying for you as you make this transition.

  16. mcconrad September 13, 2011 / 1:04 am

    Matt – You and Bethany continue to be a beacon of faith and reason to us. I applaud your discernment and willingness to lead on the ministry of life. Lay Christians have so few role models to follow – I'm sure I will learn more from you now than I did even when you were a "pastor."Cheers!Mike

  17. Matthew B. Redmond September 13, 2011 / 1:58 am

    Thanks again for all these kind words. They mean the world.

  18. Anna Liz September 13, 2011 / 2:07 am

    Woohoo!! Bank world! It's pretty awesome, I won't lie. We'll be praying for you, Bethany and your family.

  19. Anonymous September 13, 2011 / 3:46 am

    Matt…so I could have just as easily commented on this elsewhere, but what the heck, I'm here already. Although I have not laid eyes on more than a picture of you in over 15 years your impact on my spiritual life (and musical taste) has been deep and powerful. You were the first to really get it into my head that I could follow Christ on my own instead of simply enjoying the shadows of the pharisees that raised me. When you were actively sharpening my iron you were slinging BBQ so I am sure that you will represent the Kingdom well in banking too. Thanks for your honestly and I look forward to seeing you soonHank

  20. MamaMoonFriday September 13, 2011 / 3:49 am

    Matt, you and your family have my prayers for a smooth transition, as well as emotional and financial healing. As a member of the Church at large –Christ's church– I thank you for your service and remind you that Christ called us to take the ministry out in the world. Even to the bank. Thus, your ministry is not coming to an end, but rather changing direction.Best wishes. – Jen

  21. Michael MacCaughelty September 13, 2011 / 2:49 pm

    Matt, sounds so good! Glad to hear of God's leading and provision for you and your family. Being in the desert lands, you are wise to stay in Bham and soak up all the nectar of spiritual delights there as you guys heal and transition again. And thanks so much for your writings – good draughts of sweet cold water to thirsty souls – Michael MacCaughelty

  22. kristen September 14, 2011 / 12:37 am

    Praying for y'all as you transition. Sounds like the right move for all of you, but I know it took a lot of courage. You may find more peace as a banker than as a pastor…

  23. Anonymous September 14, 2011 / 8:24 pm

    A a pastor, this totally makes sense and I think you are being wise. God has his hand on you. Blessings to you and your family as you transition and move in a new direction. centorian

  24. Anonymous September 14, 2011 / 9:18 pm

    Hey Matt,Other than your CDs, I don't know you or anyone you do.However, I have "accidentally" existed on the other side of what you've described almost my entire walk of 16+ years now.It's been a series of "obstacles" that I believe were prevented me from doing His will, that is until I began to notice two things.First, almost every time something I wanted didn't work out, I saw shortly why I was REALLY glad it didn't.Also, I saw what happened to those for whom it did happen – either due to not researching, counting the costs, or whatever, the reality of what they wanted set in, the outcome of which became prolonged misery.In short, while I don't always remember this, I'm really much more at peace now for all the things in my life that my wife and don't have than what we've feel we missed out on.I'm truly sorry for your experience, but look forward to y'all (I lived in the South for a while) learning what God has taught us, how to be "ordinary" Christians. We truly cherish our "boring" lives now and often joke with people we're like senior citizens.Thank God (seriously) He blocked all my plans – RUSHING into the ministry, having 12 children (not exaggerating), being missionaries in Tijuana, Mexico (served for three years prior to my "call"), later would've owned a SoCal home shortly before being foreclosed upon, living on credit cards and the ensuing fights over money, etc, and all the other things God has kept us from that has caused almost half the couples we've known in churches to get divorced.God Bless.

  25. JDunn September 15, 2011 / 2:23 am

    We are diligently praying for you and Bethany, Matt. I have no concerns about your faith. I know it is strong. May God grant you strength and peace as you re-enter the "other side" of ministry. Greg and I sold our house last year and have moved into a MUCH smaller rental townhouse in Wichita. God is revealing to us how to depend on him completely; and we need a lot less than we ever realized :). Love you and your precious family. Blessings-Greg & Julianne

  26. janetstephens September 17, 2011 / 5:02 pm

    Praying for you and Bethany, Matt! Keith and I defintely understand! We are so thankful for how God has used you in the lives of our kids, and know God will continue using you in whatever you're doing.

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