Monday, February 18, 2013

100 Things I Love About Korea: #82 - Our Advisory Council

At KNU International English Church, our church board is called the Advisory Council.  Down through the years, this rotating group of leaders has joined hands with me in leading our church.  Together, we have put our ears to the wind to see how God is leading us.
This year, God has blessed us with our strongest Advisory Council ever.  75% of this group has served on the Advisory Council in previous years, and they are well equipped to guide our church through this time of transition.
This past Sunday, I delivered my official letter of resignation to the Advisory Council.  I hope it will help you see why I love them.

Dear Advisory Council,
Now, with a heart full of both sadness and anticipation, the time has come for me to submit my official resignation as lead pastor of KNU International English Church, effective February 28.  I have spent 25% of my life in Korea, 75% of my adult working life, and 100% of my full-time ministry as a pastor.
This is my last opportunity to address you as the elected leaders of our church, so I want to leave with a few parting words of advice and some well earned thank-you’s.  Let’s start with the advice.

First, don’t wait.  Don’t wait for the new pastor.  Do the work you were elected to do.  Plan.  Act.  Serve.  Recruit.  Grow.  Welcome.  Show hospitality.  Befriend new people.  Deepen your community with each other.  More than ever before, this church needs you to lead.  This is your church.  Take responsibility for the day to day activity and the future of your church.  
Don’t wait to be a loving community.  Don’t wait to be renewed by God’s love.  Don’t wait to become more thoroughly multicultural.  Don’t wait to improve our impact in Bangladesh.  Don’t wait to start serving international students here in our local community.  Be the church God has called you to be.
One of my frequent hopes these days is that the new pastor will say to me, “These people are amazing!  They are active.  They take initiative.  They are passionate for God and for the church.”  And, I’ll say, “Yes, I know!”
Second, I want to encourage all of you as leaders to commit to staying here in this church for at least another year or two.  I know that some of you have job situations that could lead you away, but I encourage you to postpone as long as possible.  This is the most important transition KNU International English Church has ever experienced up to this point.  Your church needs you to stay and to lead.

Lastly, let me say thank you.
  • Thank you for the freedom to be myself and to experiment.  Many churches put binders on their pastors’ personalities.  You have set me free to blossom in God’s grace.
  • Thank you for giving me grace for my mistakes.  You have consistently loved and accepted me, and I am deeply grateful.
  • Thank you for taking the step of faith four years ago to hire me as your full-time pastor.  This was unquestionably good for our church, but it has also been good for my family.  Thank you for taking a chance on me.
  • Thank you for your financial support for our family.  The income and housing support you have given me has enabled us to live comfortably and without financial worries.  And as we began to feel God’s call to leave Korea, we were able to follow God without the financial stress that often comes with a move like this.
  • Thank you for all of the personal effort you have given in the mission of our church.  You have cleaned, cooked, called, emailed, discussed, prayed, debated, hugged, cried, planned, and sang - all to help God’s mission happen here.  Your engagement in God’s mission in this place through our church has made my ministry a great joy.
  • Finally, thank you for all of your personal support for me and for my family.  You have given us gifts for Chuseok, Sullal, Christmas, baby showers, and birthdays.  You have invited us for meals and welcomed us into your home.  You have written beautiful notes of appreciation for me and for my family.  Really, down through the years, it has been the little gifts of appreciation and the little notes of thanks with specific words of what our ministry has meant to you -- these little things have been the vessels of God’s grace to fill our hearts with God’s Spirit of love in service to our church.  Thank you.

My parting prayer for you is that God will bless you with faith, confidence, and hope that God is working among you.  I pray that God gives you wisdom in the search for a new pastor.  I pray that God prepares and guides a wonderful pastor to join you in this wonderful church.  I pray that God continues to renew you with his love and makes you into a magnet to draw hundreds of others into his love.  I pray that God strengthens and enriches the multicultural community that is already here so that you grow into a rich mosaic of grace.  I pray that God enables KNU International English Church to be a real force for global change through local action, both in Bangladesh and here in Cheonan.  And, of course, my steady prayer, down through the years and forward into the future, is that God will continue to make you a loving community that changes our world.  

Joyfully and Sorrowfully,

Josh Broward

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