Closing Doors

I have known since I was a boy that God was calling me into the pastoral ministry.  I pursued it with everything in me.  There have been some rough patches along the way, but somehow I managed to stay on track.

A little over a year ago, Singing Hills Christian Church fired me (Oh, I mean let me resign).  They sought me out, hired me, moved me, made a miserably difficult ministry and then unceremoniously and for completely non-reasons fired me.

All of that happened while we were dealing with a brain tumor in Wendy.

So we have kids that were uprooted and moved, then confronted with a horrible and very scary health issue, then their father is fired from the church, and now we don’t know what to do in regard to my calling.

I can’t, I won’t pick my kids back up and move them–they have been through enough.  I want them to be able to go through school without being uprooted again.  I don’t want my kids moving into adulthood resenting the church and God.  So we have to stay here in Oregon for another 4 years.

I thought I had figured a way to connect up with a ministry in the United Methodist Church.  They were going to transfer my ordination and get things rolling with me being a pastor for them.  Long story short, it didn’t work out because of some procedural stuff.  So they wanted me to join one of their churches and work through the whole process.  No problem.

No problem because we were attending a great UMC church in Hillsboro.  I loved the pastor and his preaching.  The problem came when we realized how long things were going to take and neither Wendy nor the girls were connecting with the church well.  Again, we were off to the wilderness.

Again, I don’t want my kids to hate church.  I don’t want to run this race and lose the ones most valuable to me.

This weekend I notified the higher ups in the UMC that we were not at a UMC church any more.  That closes the door to the UMC pastorate.  Rightfully so.

But I don’t know what to do now.  I don’t have a church (either to preach in or even to attend), my kids are slipping out of the routine of worship and they don’t have the same “natural” draw to the church, Wendy and I are disconnected from the church.

God, what is going on?  All the doors are closed.  I know you called me.  I have faithfully followed that calling.  But the doors are closed.  I am afraid they may be forever closed.

God, are you there?

I suppose this is what it feels like to be lost.

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13 Responses to Closing Doors

  1. Carol Samples says:

    Wow, don’t know what to say…I am praying for you, Wendy, and the girls. You know better than me what struggles and hardships the prophets went through. I am thinking it is the same for you as it was for them. God sees all that you and yours are going through, He has not forgotten you or forsaken you. This is just my simple thoughts, but God must be preparing you for something very radical. Derrick, you are a good man, and you and especially, Wendy, have helped me through so very much and have opened my eyes to other perspectives that I hadn’t not even thought of. Please hold tight onto God. Love you and Wendy and the girls very much, but God loves you more!

  2. Terri Kern says:

    Praying. I know you have a lot to offer. God is preparing you for something good. What a story you guys have to share with Wendy’s tumor! God held you guys during that and I know he is now too even though you can’t always feel it. Continue to seek God and enjoy your sabbatical.

  3. Jessica L. says:

    I will be praying for you and yours! I am not familiar with that area of the country but I am assuming the geographical area has some to do with the lack of church options. Find a Jesus following congregation. Teach those pretty girls how to serve and love others. And, if they are going to resent the church whether you go OR stay, pick them up, and move them back to the Bible Belt 🙂 Love you.

  4. Mike Stewart says:

    Derrick,

    Lost ?

    I dare say Not. Your life has purpose and you have family and friends. I see that the door that needs the most work is still open and you are not shallow enough to need a specific building to speak to the Lord.

    Our Religious beliefs are supposed to enhance our lives. Yours in the last few years drained more from you than they ever enhanced or returned. I have a lot of friends that are or have been pastors – Derrick – I have seen that job and don’t want it.

    At what point are you willing to recognize that the self sacrifice in the bible does not mean taking abuse and working your butt off with no fulfillment ?

    In life we walk that line of what we Think God has in mind for us and that ever looming Free Will Thing. God knows the Choices we will make but he does not make them for us.

    Seek joy and fulfillment in life. God will always be with you but you don’t NEED to be a pastor to have joy and fulfillment. You need to be a real man and real father and a real leader of your family.

    Being a giant among men is not carved in one path.

    Stop and Look – You are already there.

  5. Michelle Young says:

    God IS there and God IS listening. Be still and know that I am God. This is coming from a friend of long ago that had little faith, and then a wonderful pastor showed me and my family God’s love and grace and mercy.

  6. Kenneth Chancellor says:

    Derick,you know I love you and your family very much. My dear friend remember the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. It is NOT over,you are still viable and vital. You feel disconnected because you are seeking something that you already have. You are part of THE church,denominations and membership are just remnants of Constantines reign. The Apostles of the first century taught in homes. Go,therefore my dearly beloved and make disciples,not memberships. I understand your concerns and your doubts. But, God has called you then rest in that and stop looking for open doors that only lead to more religious pollution and see where God has you right now. I love you and I am confident that you will see th truth God is revealing to you. People in your life is your ministry and ,my dear apostolic friend , you do not need a pulpit to accomplish that.

  7. Steve Barber says:

    I think, Derrick, that God has indeed called you into pastoral ministry, and He will continue to direct you into that ministry, pastoring the sheep around you whether or not you are in a socially identified position of “pastor.”

  8. Jenny says:

    Can you be a pastor without it paying the bills? I honestly don’t know, just throwing it out there. It is important to listen to what isn’t working, and it has to start with your family’s well-being. Thank you for being so careful with that. I’m sorry the way isn’t clear right now.

  9. Jolynn says:

    There are no words I can use to say–again–YOU are our pastor. Sorry…you have no choice in the matter…God somehow put you in Dan’s & my life and we both believe it is because when the rubber hits the road…God sent you to us. You are the type of friend that even tho we don’t talk as often as we should–when we do visit it is like time melts away. Wow…and then with you, God sent Wendy (oh–for those talks we have & she can always ask me JUST the right question that sends me into “thinking” about something for months!). But He wasn’t finished…somehow those daughters of yours were sent into our lives, too. Dan & I have been in similar situations to what you are going thru…Hang on. We’re praying for you…and if you can feel it–Here’s a long distance “hug” from Mom Reed. Love you all.

    • Ric Carrara says:

      Derrick I have said this before and I will say it again now. I was raised catholic even went to 12 years if catholic school. In the few months that I listened to you on Sunday services I learned more than I learned in a lifetime. You Re a teacher beyond any I have seen before and I am no youngster. If I were you I would start a small non denominational church maybe look at some of the buildings you could rent on Sundays. Build from there. You have a message bring it on. You still have a lot of followers. I would bet you could build a congragation larger than Singing Hills. I am so ashamed of the people who used you as a friend and then turned their back on you. Don’t know how they can sleep at night. There are a lot of empty out in the country churches not being used. Maybe that is your call. Just saying dont give up if we are not as “holy” as the Bible Belt then we need you even more. Love you

  10. Sharon Rice says:

    I hear you and have been there. You can worship with your family or start a church like has been mentioned. Remind the girls that churches are made up of imperfect people but there are good churches too. We have found a good church. It is not a perfect church but it is a good church with loving and hurting people. But thankfully, we have a perfect Lord. Blessings!

  11. Sharon Botsford says:

    Derrick,
    I just read this. I’m so sorry for the things you are going through. I’m definitely praying for you and your family! Dear friend, don’t forget that this ol’ friend is just an email or instant message away! Hugs!!
    ~Sharon

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