I’ll be honest. At a personal level, I think this is the hardest blog post I’ve had to write in 10 years! It’s best for my friend Matt, and our church isn’t losing the Svobodas. But I’m losing the dream of walking into the office every Monday to work with my friend, and because of Matt’s longtime role at The Bridge we wanted to keep you in the loop. Let me skip to the end and then backfill you in: last week one of our Executive Pastors (and my best friend of 15 years!) resigned from his role at The Bridge.
Now, let me backfill. What a lot of people don’t know that I’ve been able to see as a personal friend is that Matt has struggled off and on with depression for years. That’ll probably take a few of you off guard, because Matt’s just so… well, jolly! But as is often the case with high-functioning depression, a person can be EXTERNALLY happy and crushing his job and at the same time be INTERNALLY breaking down. While he was in that place, a few weeks ago something came out in Matt’s life that was significant enough that when he brought it to his wife Meredith, me, and the elders we thought it best for Matt to take a season away from his role for healing, restoration, and discipleship, and we put Matt on paid leave. But as Matt met with a counselor and started processing more of what’s been going on in his life, he grabbed Craig Mckown (one of our elders and Executive Pastors) and me, and let us know he thought he needed to tackle this season of his life without the pressures of ministry, resigning from his staff role.
And then we all cried like prom queens, and I’m still mad at him because I had to preach that weekend 🙂
To be clear, the Svobodas aren’t leaving The Bridge, so we’re not losing them from our church, but because of his longtime role we wanted to keep you all informed. Here’s a word from Matt and then a word to our church…
This is the most difficult thing I have ever written for several reasons. The last 7+ years of being on staff at The Bridge has been incredibly joyful and powerful. It has been a deep honor to be one of the pastors at the church. I have loved helping build what The Bridge has become and it has been so humbling to see all that God is doing. I honestly can’t believe God let me be a part of it.
With that said, for the last year I’ve considered stepping away as I have wrestled with some personal struggles and not done a good job “laying aside every weight and sin.” As I have processed these things with my wife and the elders of the church (who have loved us SO patiently and well), it’s become apparent that stepping away is the right decision. So with a heavy heart I let Pastor Josh and Craig know I would be moving off staff to focus on soul care and getting to be a normal church member again. This season will be good for me to “remember my first love” (Jesus) and fix some of the unhealthy patterns that have emerged in my life through this difficult season. And believe me: both me and my family are looking forward to a renewed version of me from a spiritual, emotional, and personal standpoint : )
What I do want to tell you is that if you call The Bridge Church your home, I believe more today than ever you are at the best church on the planet. I wish you could see the way the elders and leaders of the church have walked through this very difficult time and decision with my family. It’s been nothing short of supernatural, and they’ve been the Aaron and Hur holding up our arms when we couldn’t. My family will forever be grateful for the grace, love, and care they’re showing us. The Bridge Church will still be home to my family and I can’t wait to continue to see all of you each and every Sunday.
You all are very loved by me and my family. Again, we’re not going anywhere, so see you Sunday!
QUICK WORDS TO OUR CHURCH
We have always said that we refuse to be a church that DENIES with its culture what we DECLARE with our message. It doesn’t matter if we have a gospel message of grace if we don’t have a gospel-culture that embodies that grace. So, a few bullets for our church…
- We do not “shoot our wounded” in this church family; we shepherd them. So, we’re walking alongside my friend and our church family.
- I HATE this, but I know anytime something like this is communicated it’s a human tendency to let your mind go to all the worst places. Please don’t do that : )
- If you could, as their friend I’d ask you to give the Svobodas some space right now. If you see them at church, give them a big ole hug and let them know you love them, but maybe don’t bombard them with texts : )
- If you have any questions, you can shoot me an email at email@example.com and I’ll be happy to help.