This past Sunday, December 11th, 2011, we announced to Ephesus that we would be stepping down as pastors at the end of January and are looking forward expectantly to what God has for us next. Thank you to the Ephesus leadership for being so supportive in this decision. We will always love this church!
14 December 2011
Casey and I moved to Charlotte in 2005 to work towards planting Ephesus Church. Over the next 2 years, God began to make it clear He desired to see this church planted in the center of the city. It would be a church that would initially reach out to those who live and work in the center of Charlotte. It would be a church that would love Jesus, love people and love the city. It has become a church that is exactly that. Ephesus and its people hold the truth of God’s Word very high, but it is a church that also loves people right where they are. It is a church committed to its neighborhood and its city. It is a sending church and a very giving church. It is an incredibly healthy church. Casey and I are honored and humbled to pastor such a wonderful church. We’ve often said to one another, if we were making a choice, “we would go to Ephesus!”
In October of this year, God began to speak to us that a change was coming. There were circumstances in our lives that led us to begin praying about what God was doing next in the Eige family. We had some financial difficulties that were very challenging at that time. Also, I was recommended to see a cardiologist about some heart issues that I was having. In the midst of this I began to sense that Casey and I needed to pray about what God was doing in our lives. She agreed that we needed to pray. She and I then took some time to pray and fast and ask God if a new season was in front of us. We came back together and both felt God was saying our time as pastors of Ephesus Church was coming to an end. We talked with our family and met with our denominational leadership, and they all saw God working in this situation and agreed with our decision. They asked tough questions and challenged us on our motivations, and that process only confirmed this was God working and not our reaction to temporal circumstances. As October ended and November began those personal circumstances did change. Ephesus blessed us for Pastor’s Appreciation Month in a way that helped us get over the financial hurdle we were facing. Additionally, the church council worked to adjust the 2012 budget that would have given me an appreciable raise, and the cardiologist determined that I have no heart issues. However, throughout these things, Casey and I still knew God was bringing our season at Ephesus to a close, this only confirmed it in our hearts. Therefore, January 31st, 2012 will be our last day as pastors of Ephesus Church.
The church council and elders of Ephesus Church have met with our denominational leadership to begin working out a transitional plan. Ephesus will continue, our denomination and the leadership team of Ephesus are committed to this course. Casey and I have pushed very hard for this; Ephesus is too healthy with too many great things happening for this not to be the case. For a time, Stan Wilson, Executive Pastor at Grace Covenant Church in Cornelius, NC will serve as transitional pastor to oversee the leadership at Ephesus. We can’t recommend him enough. Pastor Stan was our pastor when we served in California and poured into our lives, and continues to pour into our lives today. He is a man of wisdom and incredible heart. I specifically asked that he serve in this role, and am so pleased he is able and willing to do so. Our denomination, the Foursquare Church, is ultimately responsible for appointing the next pastor of Ephesus Church. They will however be working very closely with the leadership of Ephesus throughout this process. Pastor Dale Jenkins of Concord, and Pastor Bill Graafsma of Indian Trail will be spearheading the process under the oversight of the Southeast District Supervisor, Scott Reece. They are already at work with the Ephesus leadership team to develop a pastoral profile to provide a benchmark for identifying the next pastor of Ephesus. They all understand that Ephesus is a unique church and will require the right leader in this next season, and there is a commitment and faith that God is already positioning that leader.
Casey and I love this church. There have been many tears and much grief in our house over this decision, but we know that ultimately, it is the right one. As we prayed about this decision, God directed Casey to John 15. Here Jesus talks of the vine and cutting away the dead branches, but then He also talks of the gardener pruning away healthy, fruit-bearing branches to allow for even more growth and health in the plant. We firmly believe the Eiges are being pruned from Ephesus so that Ephesus can grow much more and become even more fruitful. That is an exciting promise for Ephesus Church! Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your lives and share so many wonderful moments with you. We will always cherish this time in our lives with you.
What’s next for the Eige family? We are not planning on leaving the ministry, only transitioning. Our hope is to find a ministry assignment at another Foursquare church somewhere around the country. We honestly don’t know where that is at this point and have not been offered another position as of the writing of this letter. We are taking a step out in faith and believe God is speaking, so we are acting as Nehemiah did in the 2nd chapter of Nehemiah. We still feel called to pastor and know God is orchestrating what our next assignment will be, just as He is preparing the next phase of Ephesus Church.
We love you all so much and will always deeply love this church. It has been an honor and a privilege.