Saturday, August 27, 2011

Doing the Right Thing and the Hard Thing. My letter of resignation from Youth Ministry.

Doing the Right Thing and the Hard Thing. My letter of resignation from Youth Ministry.
     This is not an easy letter to write. Thinking about the words to use to express my joy, gratefulness, and sorrow brings back so many memories of the last three years at Ignition youth ministry. I actually did not set out to do this but rather to do just a simple Bible study with some Shorewood students to tie in one school year to the next. God, of course, had other plans.
     As we began the summer doing a Bible study of the letter to the Philippians, I realized that I enjoyed teaching even outside of the classroom setting and I enjoyed teaching the amazing youth that would show up every Tuesday evening. As the weeks went on, I believed God was calling me to do this as a youth ministry and to not be like a typical youth ministry, but one that was about Jesus.
     I know that last statement could be taken as a bit harsh, but I had seen other youth ministries and how they made it all about games, or food, or just happy-fun -time-hang out-yay! I also saw how those ministries lost most of their youth attending as soon as the Holy Spirit brought conviction to teach about Jesus. God told me specifically that this ministry would not be about that, and God willing that is what I had intended to do. It is and always should be about Jesus. Period.
     During the last three years I have seen God grow our youth, use them in mighty ways, mature them, help them through very difficult times, convict them of sin and lead them to repentance. God always showed up, and He always revealed His everlasting love on our youth. I know it had nothing to do with me, but I am joyful to be a part of it! Praise be to God!
     Leaving all of this is not easy. It's a "Do Hard Things" thing. I am leaving to spend more time with my family and to focus on home. This year my wife and I have had some challenging moments in our marriage and because of that, I believe my attention needs to be on my marriage. The Bible makes it clear that a man of God must have an orderly household first - meaning he has to be a pastor at home, taking care of the needs of his family first, before a ministry at church. What man would be effective elsewhere in his life, if his family suffers at home? I don't want to find out the answer. I have always said that I order my life this way: 1. Jesus, 2. Wife, 3. Kids, 4. Ministry. It is how I will continue to prioritize my life.
     The Ignition youth ministry has also not been abandoned. It is still very much alive. In the interim, Pastor Joe Turner will be filling in. In the following weeks you will get more information about when youth group is starting back up, and upcoming events. I repeat, youth group at Ignition Youth still lives!
     I want to encourage you all to continue to live out your youthful lives with it! Not only has God built an amazing ministry, but He has built an amazing community of believers at Ignition - that's you! Please continue to maintain that community that you have helped build, and continue to meet and pray and share burdens and love each other just as you always have had. Remember it's not about a person in charge, it's about Jesus!
     Finally, thank you all for allowing me to serve you and minister to you. It has been a gift of God to know you all. I will still be teaching at Shorewood Christian, still available to talk to you all, take phone calls, emails, texts - still available to pray for you and intercede for you. I have not abandoned you, and of course neither has God. So know that I love you all very much, but keep it about Jesus and His love for you.

I thank God for a you all - more than you'll know,
Wes Olsen

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