We are an altogether unique church. We’re diverse, authentic, and generous in orthodoxy. We’re inclusive, eclectic, and a variety of people consider us home. It’s true. Mosaic’s always been more a community and less an institution. More than that, we’re a community of many voices, not just one voice.
For the past many months, the board and I have been discussing how we might best embody this vision. Holding in one hand a generous orthodoxy and in the other the dream of courageously joining God in the renewal of all things, we’ve imagined the rhythms and structures necessary to be the kind of faith community the Bay Area needs. Considering this, some changes have already come–to our organization, to our monthly rhythm, and to the stories we’ve chosen to emphasize.
It’s with joy and gratitude that I want to let you know of another decision we’ve arrived at together. At the end of this year, I will transition off the paid staff team and begin serving Mosaic as a volunteer.
It’s time Mosaic’s formal infrastructure, leadership, and budget fully aligned with our long talked-about vision and values. It’s time for me to leave paid staff as a professional minister and join all of you in living out the Way of Love in everyday life.
For eleven and a half years, I have served as the full-time, lead pastor of Mosaic. In holding this formal role, I’ve cast the vision, chaired the board, led the staff team, spoken at nearly every Sunday gathering, and, in large part, been the face of the church. It’s been a great honor for me personally to have held this role, and it’s something I must no longer do.
In many ways, I feel as though I’ve taken Mosaic as far as I can take her in the role of Lead Pastor. I now see that in holding such a position–and all that comes with it–I might actually be keeping Mosaic from realizing her vision. In short, I believe we’re all ministers, and it’s not just one person’s responsibility to lead the church. I am not Mosaic, we are. Our aim in making this decision is to be more team-led and less dependent on one individual or personality.
For people not familiar with Mosaic, this decision might not make a lot of sense. How can a church survive without a lead pastor on staff? But for those of us who are Mosaic, I hope in time you see this decision as natural and necessary.
In more ways than one, we’ve been preparing for this for a while. From within the community, leaders have emerged offering vision and creativity this year–in our message, in our life together, and in our commitment to the common good. The current staff team has also taken a greater share of the direction and day to day operations of the non-profit we call Mosaic. Their understanding of and responsibility to the inner workings of the organization have blossomed.
Between now and the end of the year, I will work with the current staff team, as well as representatives from the Board, to identify all of the opportunities and challenges before us. The role of this transition team is to decide how Mosaic should shift from being pastor-led to being a group-led faith community. Dorynda Venable, Jeanne Wong, and Kelsey Miller will offer their focused attention to the work of this transition. Moreover, they request your help and guidance. If you’re interested, please contact them. I am confident in this team. I believe they will do a good job of stewarding us into the next season.
Let me assure you that I leave Mosaic’s paid staff in good standing. There is no moral failure or faith collapse on my part. I leave the paid staff excited about what God is doing in our church, and I look forward to how I’ll participate in her next chapter.
Taking off the hat of Lead Pastor is no small thing. I recognize the significance and privilege of my position in our community. Right away, I wish to say thank you. For however long or short of a time it was that you considered me your pastor, I am grateful. Your trust and generosity empowered me. Thank you for allowing me the grace and curiosity to lead this community in a formal way and to teach you from week to week.
As for Nikki, the kids, and myself, it should be said we’re not leaving Mosaic. I will take some time off at the beginning of the 2019 to rest, to travel a bit, and to begin work on a few projects. But know that we love this church and are thrilled to be a part of it. I aim to continue to offer my gifts–my teaching and my energy–to our future together.
I do believe this decision is the right one for me and my family, and for Mosaic. It is an important and courageous step for our community. Ultimately, it will invite all of us to further live up to our namesake: Mosaic.
To be sure, there will be a lot of questions about this change. Anticipating this, the board and I have created a FAQs document for your benefit. Also, please feel free to reach out to the transition team or myself with your questions and concerns.
I look forward to joining you in a new way in the year to come as we together join God in the renewal of all things.
Grace and peace,