I quit!

On Sunday, January 10th of 2016, I (Pastor Pete) read my resignation letter to start of that morning’s message. Below is the resignation letter and a brief explanation behind why I’m quitting…

After much prayer and reflection, I have made a private decision that I need to make public here today. Effective immediately, I am resigning as the leader of our church. I am taking this drastic measure because the challenges of leadership here are simply more than I can currently handle. It is difficult for me to admit, but I have been in over my head for some time now. I am inadequate to lead this church. I simply cannot do it alone or be in charge anymore. I’ve just had a hard time admitting it. For a long time, I have carried the burden, the decisions, the pain, and the weight of trying to lead this church to greatness. I am simply incapable of accomplishing this great task.

I thought for a long time I could do it. I thought for a long time that I could help our church grow and reach more people. I thought I was capable of leading our amazing team in accomplishing our mission. I have worked hard to discipline and grow myself as a leader, preacher, and visionary of our church. More so than ever before, however, God has shown me that I am not the man for this job. That’s why I have made the decision to resign.

What does my resignation mean for this church? Well, frankly, it means things will soon get better around here. Things will get healthier around here. This church can now return its focus to what God has called it to be and do. The church will be more unified and more loving without me in charge. The church will also possess much more ability than I can contribute to it. I am just sorry it has taken this long to come to this point.

Let me be clear in this, though. I have no intention of resigning from my actual position as lead pastor of our church. I am confident that God called me here for a purpose. I have never asked Him for certainty of success, just certainty of the call. I’m confident God has called me to be lead pastor of The Edge Church. Therefore, I’m not resigning from that position.

I am simply giving up any desire to be the leader of this church. That is not the same thing as lead pastor, nor is it my rightful place. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd, and I am accountable to live under His authority and care for His flock. I confess to you that this has often not been the case. I have usurped His authority. I have disobeyed His commands at times. I have often done what I wanted to do at the expense of what He has wanted to do. I’ve never done this blatantly, but upon reflection, I realize that the battle between my flesh and His Spirit has been an ongoing struggle. For that, I am sorry. I have repented to God. Today I repent to you.

I have now accepted the fact that if our church is ever going to become what God wants it to be, I’m going to need to decrease and He is going to need to increase. I’m going to need to lead less and follow Him more. The job of leading this church rests on God’s capable shoulders. I don’t want to take His place again.

Let it be known that today I am resigning my agenda. I am letting go of my selfish ambitions. I am giving up my desires. I am decreasing that He may increase. I am dying that He might live. Recently I actually made the audacious request to Him that He come and work through me again. I asked Him to take over this church again.

 

If this resignation letter shocks you or makes you uncomfortable, please accept my apology. I didn’t write it simply for “shock value” or to cause you to panic.

The inspiration for the resignation was found in the book The Measure of our Success – An Impassioned Plea to Pastors and I wanted to share it because it reflects my heart. As you’ve maybe heard me share on Sundays, I believe God wants us to empty ourselves of something so that He can fill that place up with Him.

Put differently, in order for 2016 to be our best year yet, it has to be our deepest year spiritually.

I started with the resignation letter that Sunday morning because it reflects my heart’s desire to surrender to God. I surrender my will, my ambition, my capabilities and my aptitude and replace them with God’s will and His desire – for this church and for me.

What is God asking you to surrender? What do you need to empty out of yourself from 2015 so that He can make this your best year yet?

Laying the Foundation and Looking Ahead

On August 16th, 2015, we celebrated our six month anniversary at The Edge Church and much has happened in this season! Let’s take a look at all that God has done leading up to, and during the first six months of our launch.

Pre-launch

After moving to Knightdale, North Carolina, the small launch team quickly began to meet others and build relationships – with neighbors, co-workers, people around town and anyone who would chat. They threw parties, social gatherings and other events in an effort to meet others who might be interested in joining the church launch team.

Here’s a look back at the pre-launch season.

God was so good to the team during that time. In those 7 1/2 months the team:

  1. Participated in three town events with exposure to 1,000s
  2. Gave out 100 free t-shirts
  3. Threw 3 parties (with a total of 220 people in attendance)
  4. Had 3 interest gatherings
  5. Took 100s of pictures
  6. Gave out more free food than you can imagine (!)
  7. Had more 1-on-1 meetings than you could count
  8. Injected thousands of dollars into the Knightdale community

Post-launch (our first six months)

When we launched on February 22nd we had no idea what to expect. Not much has changed! Each Sunday brings something new – whether it’s a challenge or a delightful surprise. Here are some highlights from those first six months:

7 salvation decisions – let’s face it…this is why we exist as a church! What an incredible thing to celebrate in the first 6 months.

5 baptisms – we threw a PARTY and celebrated 5 people who openly declared their devotion to God! Here’s a video we created from that special service.

We’ve invested 10s of 1,000s of dollars into the school system. What an incredible way for us to invest in the Wake County school system! Knightdale High School is glad to have us and we’re delighted to help them make a positive impact on students.

Over 500 “likes” on Facebook. We celebrate this because it helps us streamline communication, reach more people and rejoice in all that God is doing through Edge and in this area!

We’ve seen God do some amazing things in the hearts and lives of people at Edge. There’s nothing more encouraging for me to see, as the pastor, than people who deepen their relationship with Jesus. Some have seen improvements in their marriages, others have had friends and relatives notice a difference in their lives and still others have clung to God as they’ve plunged into very difficult circumstances. When people choose to press forward in obedience, God honors that.

Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
    but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

Psalm 34:10 NLT

Looking Ahead

The future at Edge is bright! I believe God’s plan for this church is inconceivably huge. Specifically, here are three things I believe God has in store for this church:

1- I believe we will grow to 150 in regular attendance by the end of year one.

Let’s face it – God’s plans for this church demand that she grow. He has called this church to be generous, to reach the lost and to impact our city. We can’t afford to get comfortable and stay small.

2-  We will have 50 people on the dream team by year one

Our dream team has been phenomenal. If you’re not yet on the dream team, thank someone who is. They setup in advance, they watch our kids, they lead us in worship, they run sound, lights, tech, they greet us at the doors, they put up signage and prepare our meeting spaces. My prayer is that God would send more harvesters (Luke 10:2).

3-  We will have five healthy small groups.

Small groups are one of the four critical legs on this chair. This week we are launching our first three – many more will be needed as we grow and continue to reach those who are far from God.

I hope you’re as encouraged as I am about the future of this church. I’m proud of all that she’s done in a short period of time and am eager to see how God uses her to expand His reach as a reflection of His heart for this area!

If you haven’t joined us on a Sunday morning, we’d love to have you visit!

Palm and Easter Sundays

Easter 2011

This week, often called Holy Week in more traditional Christian circles, feels a bit like the “Superbowl” of the church. Statistics often show that churches double in attendance on Easter Sunday. There are many who come to church for a variety of reasons on Easter. Think of it like Christmas: it’s simply a time of year where more people think about God and about the local church and, consequently, decide to attend.

This Easter will likely be no different for us at The Edge Church. As the lead pastor of a recently planted church, I confess that I don’t quite know what to expect this Sunday. We could potentially have a flood of visitors that exponentially increases our church size. Or, we could have only a few new families visiting. Either way, I always say that numbers don’t matter – and they don’t. But they’re important to watch and prepare for, and I don’t yet know what to expect for our first Easter.

I also feel a bit of pressure, if I’m honest, with what time of sermon to prepare. There’s no question that the Easter message is the top reason for us to celebrate! The message of Easter is central to what we believe!

But what about those who come to church only on Easter? They’ve heard this message dozens of times, haven’t they? The pattern of egg hunt, resurrection message, salvation invitation is used every year and they’ve potentially made up their minds on how they’ll respond to the invitation. Right?

I was messaging several pastor friends who have a creative flair to them, wondering what their thoughts were on an Easter message. Some were wrestling with the same burden I felt – the curiosity of what goes through Easter attenders’ minds and what content to preach that morning.

There’s no question that the Holy Spirit convicts the hearts and minds of people. And yes, we need to create opportunities for people to, “do business with God” (as I like to say). Our first Easter service won’t be any different. But how I present the message, and how our team presents the message through song, videos, announcements, kid’s programs, is of vital importance.

I’m proud that our team has also devised a video series that we’re calling #churchawkwardisms. These videos, depicting awkward church situations stemmed from true stories of being embarrassed at church, will start on Easter Sunday and will tie into our next sermon series.

I’m proud that our worship team is talented and capable of singing some incredible songs and leading us in worship. I can’t wait to celebrate that morning by singing the songs we’ve chosen!

If you already attend The Edge Church on Sundays, here are two things you can do to make our first Easter service something to be remembered:

1- Invite someone to church! Studies show that 4 out of 5 people invited to attend Easter actually come. Help us spread the word by inviting people, giving out the invitation cards or by sharing this image on social media and tagging your friends:

Easter Edge Church Invitation

2- Pray that service would be powerful and moving. If God doesn’t show up, all this is for nothing! We need God to show up in a powerful way and move in people’s hearts.

If you’ve never attended The Edge Church, we would be honored to have you as our guest. We never embarrass guests or call them out. You can sneak in, catch a free coffee in the lobby, drop your kids off for their age-appropriate rooms and slip into the auditorium without ever identifying yourself as a visitor.

For everyone who comes on Easter and beyond, we will always strive to accept you where you are and encourage you toward where God wants you to be.

Hope to see you this weekend!

Pete

Church Unity Project (part 4)

Pastor Darryl Morrison and I met while studying together at Regent University in Virginia Beach. We discovered that we lived in the same Northern Virginia town and decided that we’d travel and room together over the years while studying at Regent.

During that time, our friendship grew deeper than ever. He and I share the heart to see those far from God reached. He and I also desire to pastor diverse, life-giving churches.

Pastor D Mo is a dear friend of The Edge Church and to me personally. Love you buddy!

Church Unity Project (part 1)

I’ve always had it on my heart to demonstrate churches working in unity with each other. I think the unchurched don’t need yet another reason to leave God behind and churches/pastors bickering with each other is a great reason for the unchurched to call it quits.

If you’re unchurched and have experienced this in past churches, I’m sorry. Allow me to do something small to help change that…this is what I call the “Church Unity Project”.

Special thanks goes to Pastor Alain of The Community Church for shooting this video.

Prayer and Fasting (part 2)

We have 3 1/2 weeks left until The Edge Church publicly launches. During this time, Karen and I are fasting different things.

To help give you ideas for how you can fast, I wanted to share what we’re committing to during this time.

PETE

4 weeks out – no sweets/candies/desserts; each day spend 15-30 minutes in prayer (in addition to regular prayer times)

3 weeks out – Week 4 commitment + No TV past 9 pm; no ipad/phone mindless games; get to bed by 10 pm; spend 30 minutes in the Bible per day (in addition to current, daily reading times)

2 weeks out – Week 3 & 4 commitments + substituting regular lunches for a fruit and vegetable shake + only eat healthy breakfasts (i.e. oatmeal or eggs).

1 week out – Week 2, 3 & 4 commitments + substitute regular dinners for a fruit & veggie shake.

KAREN

Get up every morning to spend time with the Lord (6-7 am) – Scripture, devotional, prayer journal

No more desserts/sweets

No mindless social media surfing

Be more intentional about putting phone down

On my knees praying with my husband every night

Will you join us in fasting and praying more intensely as we lead up to launching this church?

The Gift of Drums

Karen and I recently drove up to Northern Virginia to visit with family and friends and to share an update one last time with our sending church. It was a wonderful, but very short, visit.

While there, we were given a surprise financial gift from one family. They shared that they wanted to give an anonymous gift that would provide a drum set (something we didn’t yet have but needed).

The financial gift was a memorial donation by a family who recently lost two special grandfathers – Glen Ray Conklin and Richard Derby Sanford.

To our anonymous donor – thank you so much.

Prayer and Fasting (part 1)

Leading up to February 22nd – when we publicly launch The Edge Church – I want to be in a state of fasting. Not only will a detox and healthy choices help my physical body but I want to press into God more intensely leading up to this launch so that my spiritual body will be full.

Planting a church is spiritual. Sure, it’s hard work – inspiring people to be a part of what God’s doing here, wrestling vendors, raising funds. Those are all very challenging and a normal part of church planting. But the most important, most overlooked, most critical aspect to planting a church takes place in the unseen – in the spiritual realm.

Anyone can lead others. Many can raise funds for good causes. Most people can organize events, work with vendors and pull together details to accomplish a goal. Few people can do all these things together to plant a church. Fewer still are those who are called to plant a church!

Think about the spiritual elements of planting a church. God works in the hearts of people and through the events taking place in a given area. Then God births a calling and vision in the heart of a person or persons to reach that area for Him. God also draws the hearts of people He’s pre-ordained to be a part of launching the church. God inspires others to financially give to this vision, He draws more people toward the church and He relentlessly works through people who have given Him control in order to birth the church – His beautiful bride.

Planting a church is a deeply spiritual endeavor! And because it is, we have to pursue God now more than ever before. Not because we “should” but because we simply can’t do it without Him. It is his Holy Spirit that draws the hearts of men and women to God. His love softens the hearts of others who are needed to make church happen – school representatives, church supply vendors and potential givers for the church.

As of yesterday we are four weeks away from launching. Each week Karen and I are going to pursue God more intensely through fasting.

I want to challenge you to pursue God like never before in this pre-church launch season. If you’re reading this then you’re a part of our story – really God’s story – to plant this church. Take a next step; join us as we abstain from things (fast), pray and pursue God leading up to February 22nd.

In part two, I’m going to share what we’re doing, specifically, to pursue God in this season. Will you join us?