On July 20th 2011, we began a really hard season in our lives. Up into this point, Gene had been working very closely with our family pastor, named Vic. He had came to New Life in Fall 2009. Over these past few years, God had shown us that Gene had a passion for working in the Children's ministry department. He got his start working under our previous Children's pastor Michelle, and continued gaining a love for it under Vic. Our senior Pastor Justin saw this too and really encouraged Vic mentoring Gene. Gene was getting really excited about the possibility of changing careers and possibly being a children's pastor. We even thought we might work at the church in the future. It was an exciting time.
On July 20th, I got a call from one of our elders telling me that the elders wanted to speak to us that evening at church. He said that they had fired Vic and that they wanted to talk to us about stepping into that place. As you can imagine, we were devastated and stunned by it all. We went there that evening to church and the whole atmosphere was different. A different elder encountered Gene and told him some even worse news. Not only had they fired Vic, but they had also fired Justin. It was crazy to say the least. Our church at this point, didn't have a youth pastor either so we were down to our administrative secretary as the only paid staff member.
We sat down with the elders and they asked Gene to step into Vic's place for the time being as the interim and that when the time was right, they really wanted Gene to take over as the Children's ministry pastor. As you can imagine, it was something we were being groomed for and something that Gene had a passion for but the circumstances were so crazy. Gene said yes to taking over for the time being and said we would pray about the rest of it.
Over the course of the next few weeks we were just so sad. I cried quite a bit over the weeks that followed the firing. We loved both families and knew their hearts and hated to see how they were being treated. I'm not going to get into all the details but in the end we did not agree with how the elders were handling this situation. It was so hard too, because we really felt like the church was going into a direction that really fit our family but after the firing, it felt like our church was regressing. In the end, we could not be in a church that allowed people to rule rather then God.
In some sense, it was an easy decision for us, we absolutely knew that we were not supposed to take the job. On the other hand, I had been there 15 years and Gene had been there 9 years. It was our home and a place that we loved and served with all our heart. The one thing about us is that we give 110% to everything God asks of us and for the last 9 years as a couple it had been serving there. So, yes, we knew that God was calling us away but it was also hard. We decided our last day would be Sunday August 29st.