June 30, 2008
Dear Christian Life Assembly Board and Church Family,
Fourteen years ago, I wrote a letter to a handful of people, quoting from the Steven Curtis Chapman song, The Great Adventure. The lyrics say, “Saddle up your horses, we’ve got a trail to blaze through the wild blue wonder of God’s amazing grace. We’ll follow our Leader into the glorious unknown. This is life like no other. This is a great adventure.” What an adventure it has been. From a handful of people to hundreds of families who call Christian Life Assembly their church home, plus thousands of people who have been impacted by this ministry.
Along the way, two phrases have been carved into my mind.
First, one is too small of a number for greatness. Nothing great is accomplished by one person. I want to say thank you to this church family for rising to the challenge of greatness time and time again. From setting up and tearing down for over seven years to raising funds to hire our first youth pastor to relocating through two lease spaces to giving away over 1,000 turkeys or 500 backpacks to the construction of our current facility, this church has always been built by hundreds of hands, not just mine. For that I am thankful.
The hands that helped me more than any other during this time were those of my wife, Amberly. She held my hand and held my heart as I planned and dreamed with her about the church that God could build through us. There is no person on the planet I would rather be married to. We came her—just me and her and a U-Haul. We leave here with three children, a whole lot of stuff, and more good memories than any album could contain. I am so glad she was my partner on this adventure and I want to say publicly that I love her and thank her for her partnership. In two weeks, we celebrate 17 years of marriage, 14 of those will have been spent serving you together. I cannot imagine any better combination.
In addition, I am so thankful to the families who joined us in the beginning and are still with us today—the Bradshaws, Walkers, Watrous, Legans, Kruegers, Millers, Svaldis, and Coffmans. When we met in the Bradshaw’s living room at 4915 Lakewood Drive, none of us could have imagined the adventure that lay ahead. It is more than unusual for the founding families to be around five years later, but here we are together 14 years later. Originally, the Bradshaws only offered their home, but did not plan to leave First Assembly for this new church. I am so glad they didn’t stick by that offer. Along the way Ron became a trusted board member and Gloria served with distinction as secretary, children’s pastor, and accountant. She served longer than any other team member and for that I am profoundly thankful.
Along the way, I have had the joy and privilege to serve with many great board members. Our current board of Russ Hixson, Nathan Schaad, Dave Shanks, and Garry Bockholt has been a delight. I have also enjoyed serving in the past with Ron Bradshaw, Gary Buffum, Mike Cluney, Cris Coffman, Gary Cook, Steve Davidson, Dave Leeper, Mike Phillips, and Steve Svaldi.
Life is better together!
Along the way, I’ve stood by these families and you as we’ve dedicated your babies, married your children, and said final good-byes to some of your closest family members and friends. I want to say thank you for inviting me into these most sacred moments of your life. They will be memories I will always cherish.
At the same time, I am also thankful for the many people our church has helped launch into ministry. The heart of a church isn’t always judged by how many it seats, but how many it sends. We’ve had a powerful role together of launching people into ministry. Our church provided the first ministry assignment for Heath and Ali Adamson, Jonathan and Erica Barthalow, Steve Scheperle, Rob and Michelle Purcell, Vanessa Schaad, and TJ and Kimberly Cristobal. Each was launched into ministry at this church.
In addition, we were able to raise up Matt and Tonya Stuva, Tony and Tammy Andrews, Bryand and Jaci Acuna, and Lee and Kelly Havemeier who are now all involved in ministry in Iowa and around the world. You have a role in their ministries because of your unselfish commitment to serve Christ together.
Not only that, but you released me to be involved with church planting and leadership development all across the state. Because of our partnership, there are over 12 new and revitalized churches with people worshipping God each week. There are also scores of pastors who have been trained for a more effective ministry because of your partnership.
One is too small of a number for greatness.
The second indelible thought is that those who quit remember the ordeal, but those who endure remember the adventure. Amberly and I will certainly look back and remember our time at Christian Life Assembly as an adventure, not an ordeal. I want to say thank you to all of the staff members, board members, and church family who have taken the adventure with us. You made the journey worth it. I cannot tell you how much I love you and how much I will miss you. I pray that as you open your hearts to a new pastor, you’ll always reserve a place in it for me and my family. The greatest honor in my life has been to have you call me Pastor. One day I may finally get that doctorate, but the title I love more than any is Pastor. I hope you’ll always think of me as your pastor because I will always think of you as my church family. Our church family is simply expanding to include the people of Bethel Temple in Hampton, Virginia. If they love and care for me and my family half as much as you then I will be a very blessed man.
There is no compelling reason for this change of ministry other than the clear voice of God that spoke to my heart during our time of prayer and fasting this February. In a moment more clear than any I can remember, the Lord told me, “Your time here is almost up.” I have dreaded this day, feared this day, and pushed this day as far into the back of my mind as I could. But now that which I feared has come upon me. I must be obedient to the heavenly vision and resign as pastor of Christian Life Assembly, effective July 31, 2008. The board will share with you the transition plan that we have discussed together and that I believe will help our church move to the next level. I stand ready to assist them in any way necessary through this time. They are good men, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. They will prayerfully submit the next nominee to you at the appropriate time and after the appropriate process. Please pray for them and give them the room they need to work through the process in confidentiality.
Well, we come to the end—not only of this letter, but the end of our season together. As we do, let me remind you of something I have mentioned several times before. My name’s Glenn. I’m your friend. And, I hope I’ve helped.
In His Hope,
Christian Life Assembly