The Gamut of Emotions When a Beloved Pastor Takes a New Position

(Today’s post by Adam Cooper)

Ecclesiastes 9:1-10:7

View More: must say that last week with Esther I was not able to string together two coherent thoughts that made any sense so I threw in the white flag of surrender and begged Trey for forgiveness. This week, when I read Ecclesiastes I was afraid that the same was going to happen until a long discussion with trusted friends and ministry partners inspired me to write this post today.

This portion of the book of Ecclesiastes almost reads like the book of Proverbs with tidbits of wisdom woven together into a mass of somewhat intelligible thoughts. However, I was able to find small portions of this text that somewhat go with the topic I chose to discuss today. I hope none of this is taken out of context but these portions simply stood out to me in ways that made the topic much more relatable.

The very beginning phrase sets the tone for this entire subject, “So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands.” So, as I progress through this post today let us remember the words of Solomon, arguably one of the wisest men of God in the Old Testament. Let us also remember that we are in the Old Testament. That bastion of faith for the Jewish people and therefore some of the concepts of everyone going to Sheol or Paradise may be a little lost on some so I will avoid those and leave them for topics of discussion another day. Some small notes, and I paraphrase: love your wife; whatever you do, do it with all you are; the foolish rush into things, as do the unfoolish at times; no one knows when their time will come; wisdom is better than strength, wisdom is better that weapons of war, and wisdom is better than shouts from the foolish; a fool does not know in which direction they are going; and, lastly, all men must be humble.

This past Sunday at ECC we received notice that our Associate Pastor Greg Miller and his wife Monica are stepping down from their positions at ECC to take positions at Cornelia Christian Church. Many at ECC are sad some are hurt. Some feel lost and disoriented after this recent announcement. Many who knew them and worked with them and learned from them over the past 19 years thought they would be doing ministry together until retirement. Many called them friends and many called them family. No matter how you look at them they are our brother and sister in Christ. What we have to remember here is that much of our hurt, much of our confusion is brought about by our fleshly natures. We say “I lost a friend” or “I am confused”. You know what? I am willing to bet they would say the same thing if you asked. I want everyone to look at the contributions Greg and Monica have made to this church family over the years. If you look at all of the lives they have touched, youth and adult, you will see that this was the inevitable and logical step for them. They are simply following God’s lead and if you knew the details about how God has worked all of this out you would say one thing: miraculous. God is great and awesome and His plans reign supreme. That said, it is okay to feel the emotions that you have around their leaving. Be angry, be sad, be happy, but have those conversations about how you feel. But, no matter what, celebrate God’s work in all of this and remember you have not “lost” a friend or family member they have simply moved to a different zip code.

As I look at Greg and Monica and this path there life is taking I see Ecclesiastes 9:1-10:7. What they are doing is in God’s hands. Greg and Monica are children of God and they are doing what God asks with their whole being. They are making these decisions with much prayer and conversation with God. They are being wise in discernment of God’s path for their family. They are relying on God for their direction. Greg knows that God has called him to pastor and shepherd; those of you who know him know this is his gifting. Knowing that God is in control does not minimize the hole their leaving will create; however, just as God is in control in their lives He is also in control at ECC and I am confident in His direction any day. Pray for Greg and Monica. Love on them. Let them know how much they mean to you and the ECC family as a whole. But most of all, wish them well and keep them in your prayers. Greg and Monica we wish you the best.

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