Just a little clarification…

Hey everyone! I know it’s been awhile since posting, but I’m hoping to get back on track with that now that I have some extra time on my hands. And speaking of extra time, I feel that I need to clarify a few things for all my readers out there.  Here’s some info for ya.

First up, I did resign from my position at TTUMC, but not for a lot of the reasons that seem to be swirling around the church. I’m gonna post my resignation letter for you right here, so everyone can see exactly what was written. Most churches will read letters of resignation to the congregation when they recognize a staff member who is leaving, but since the church had me leave quietly, I fear that many are misled and confused as to what exactly happened. Here’s what my letter said:

Dear Temple Terrace United Methodist Church,

I am writing you to personally deliver the news that as of January 27th, 2009, I will be stepping down from my post as Senior Director of Youth and Children’s Ministries. I assure you this was not an easy decision, but it is time for me to move on to the next steps in God’s plan for my life.

 I have served this congregation for almost six years now – at first as a volunteer and nearly five years as a staff member. Before I took my staff position, the youth ministry was in shambles and the children’s ministry was on a steady decline. I can confidently stand here today and say several absolute truths: that the youth ministry has become a solid, God-focused group of amazing young Christians who have far surpassed any expectations I may have had and that the children at TTUMC have a greater love of worship, a stronger grasp of the Bible and biblical truths, and a welcoming, loving atmosphere in which they learn and grow closer to Christ all the time.

 

Unfortunately, I now find that my style of ministry is not in the direction of the church, and I want to follow my calling just as the church wants to follow the direction in which it feels God is leading its congregation. With my ever-changing job description and the unreachable expectations I have been given, I am unable to continue in the position I have occupied. The parts of my position that filled my passion and calling are no longer of value to the leadership of this church and to continue working here without using the gifts Christ has given me would bring fruitless results to these ministry areas. I am a servant of Christ above all things and therefore, in an attempt to please and follow my Master, I must stand for what is right and not stay for personal attachments or unrealistic hopes.

 

I am grateful to many of you for your service, support and friendship over the years, but I especially want to show my unending love for my dear youth and children, of whom I am most proud! They have brought me such joy these past years because I know that they truly love the word of God and seek to know Jesus more and more. I will always boast that I was given the blessing of serving the greatest youth and children’s ministries I have ever seen. I will miss each of them dearly.

 

Anytime I was given the privilege to speak to the church or teach the youth and children, I always made a point to challenge my listeners. Here is my final challenge to you: may you grow closer to Christ with every passing breath and let Him overflow your life to bring those around you closer to Him all the time. We were called to act like Jesus and emulate Him in all things, giving Him all the glory, so may that be your greatest goal in ministry.

 

Please remember me in your prayers as I will remember you.

 

In Christ,

Erica Ares

Some people have heard that I left because I couldn’t handle direction after being so free for so long. That is not the case. Some people have heard that I “didn’t do any work anyways” and some have heard worse than that. Rumors like these are very hurtful to me, inappropriate and damaging to my reputation as a ministry professional. I’d like to assure you of this: I left because I know what my calling/gifts are and I was becoming unable to follow/use them as big changes were being made to my position. I also left because I was unable to continue working in an environment that promoted many things that I could not morally stand behind. Leaving TTUMC had nothing to do with my abilities or lack thereof, I do not have some amazing, high-paying, better job lined up (or any at all at this point), and the decision has absolutely nothing to do with the youth or children that I worked with.

I’d also like to assure you that this has been the most difficult decision I have ever been forced to make. Unless you have worked closely with children or youth in a spiritual setting, you might be hard-pressed to understand the deep relationships and bonds that develop over such a long period of time. Over the years I have helped lead young people to Christ, spoke at length with hurting kids, shared how Christ speaks and seen amazing spiritual growth in these young Christians. I have agonized and hurt and cried and struggled over this decision for quite some time, but I know that God was in the decision as it was made. I can tell you for sure that God has bigger and better plans than I do, than anyone does, and that He will make everything good for those who love Him. And I love Him with all my heart.

I’m not posting this to cause any rifts or to change opinions or to make problems for anyone. I just have gotten so many emails and letters of confusion since my departure was announced, I thought that this might be a way to help clarify what exactly has been going on. Hope this helped some of you out there.  🙂

I’ll post again soon, I promise.  🙂

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~ by Erica Ares on February 3, 2009.

2 Responses to “Just a little clarification…”

  1. Love you Erica. Good for you for clarifying things that were so blurry. Plan on attending staff parrish just to clarify that the fact that we as a “church” did not recognize you was wrong! Want to see them stand up and defend that point!!

  2. Great job Erica…. maybe TTUMC should have an in depth study course on Matthew 23:3 – “So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”

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