OK, I've been promising this for days on Twitter, it's time to spill the beans. I've been on staff for about 18 months at a really cool church outside of Minneapolis. We've gone from being a sub-ministry at an older and larger church to a church plant. That transition has been a lot of work, and it has not been without cost. As our numbers have shrunk, the offering has shrunk with it. Our leadership has always been very fiscally responsible and realistic when it comes to setting budgets. As we enter our first year as a stand-alone church, our resource team wants to make sure there will be a year two for Upper Room.
As a staff, we've been all-in on this process since last fall. We've known that not everyone could make the transition and we held on to our jobs with an open hand. The current budgeting reality means that a couple of our part-time staff will lose some hours and one full-time position has to be eliminated. That position was mine.
As sad as I am at the prospect of leaving Upper Room, I will say that my boss and the rest of the leadership team has handled this with the utmost integrity. I saw this coming a few months ago, so it didn't catch me by surprise; though it still stings. I've grown to really love my staff, volunteer teams and our community, and it will be hard to leave them.
I'm honestly not sure. I have a few irons in the fire already and I'm just getting started with a search. As a family, we would love to stay in the Twin Cities, but we're also open to what God has for us in the future. Right now, my search radius is the continental US. I feel as called to vocational ministry as ever, and believe that's where God will keep me. So I guess I'm a technical arts director for hire.
How You Can Help
A couple of ways come to mind. Prayer for discernment would be a great asset. And for my family (two teenage girls and my wife) as we work through our options (they really don't want to move again). I have one opportunity right now in the Twin Cities that would be good--but I don't want to miss God's best for good and convenient.
I'm also a huge believer in networking. Right now I have a list of about 40-50 people I will be calling and e-mailing over the next week to let them know I'm looking. I'll be asking them to share names of anyone they can think of that I can talk to, even if they are unaware of an open position at a particular church. It's a pretty small world, and if A doesn't know of a opening, but knows B, even if B doesn't have a opening, they know C, and C might. It's just how it works.
So if you know of someone I should talk to--even if it's because they know a lot of people--please make an introduction. You can reach me via email; firstname.lastname@example.org, hit me on Twitter. We'll connect.
If you're a church leader who has liked what I've had to say on this blog and could use someone like me, let's have a conversation. Right now we are completely open to whatever God has planned next. Who knows--it could be your church! You can learn more about my background, experience and skill set at my other website, mikesessler.com.
Finally, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have left comments and sent e-mails of encouragement over the last few years. It means a lot and encourages me to keep going, even when I'm tired. You are a great community!
Stay tuned for word on the search. I'll keep you posted!