The Sun Shines Through the Clouds

Well today has been a difficult day. The Elders of Central Christian Church through much prayer, thought, and God’s leading have given Cal Jernigan a mandate to reduce staff to align with our current budget income. The staff reduction (along with many others) included myself. So as of today, March 24, I will no longer serve on staff here at Central Christian Church. Please know that I will continue to pray for Central as they reach this community and lead the church through our economic crisis.

-Jon Moton, from his facebook note

This past week has been so hard. It feels like so much longer than it actually has been. My church is going through some incredibly hard times, trying not to go in the inevitable direction of staff reduction. By now, if you are a part of Central, you've heard the statements and probably know all of the facts (or you will after this weekend), and certainly there is no more information out there to be had.

My church had to lay off 15 people because of this economy and it's affect on our church, and because of a lack in the area of tithing. I'd always heard the words "lay off" and went on about my day, not realizing how much they could affect everyone. It's different, though, when it is a church that is forced to do such a thing. It hurts everyone...

from the leadership making the difficult decisions,
to those who are now without a job,
to those "survivors" who remain to continue God's work with a hole in their hearts.

It was so hard to focus this week... losing one of our inner circle, a brother and an amazing man of God, to this sad event. I am still left wondering how I will be able to lead worship with this weighing on my heart... but God is faithful.

He has shone through this like the sun shining through the clouds. I have never had more admiration for my church than at this difficult moment. In the first of those blog posts I linked to, Danny Dodson talks about having a "survivor's guilt" that I can totally relate to. It is Mitch (second link) who has been the most instrumental in keeping everything in perspective, and the honorable and eloquent way he has handled this situation. I have never had more respect for that man. That honor, the love for those around them being stronger than the pain of a lost ministry position, has been evident in every one of those 15 people I've encountered.

The leadership has been amazing through all of this as well, from the way they have taken care of each person let go, to the way they have disclosed the situation and left nothing to speculation (although people are people, and they will find a reason to talk), to the way they have not been above showing their own pain during these events... I can continue working for this church with confidence, because I know they can be trusted in the hardest of situations.

So the sun has shone through the clouds this week. On Tuesday there were tears, but by Thursday some smiles had returned. Surely the mood is not festive, but there is work to be done, and we are privileged to do it. We will continue on, and God will continue on, both in our lives and in the lives of those now looking for work. God will still use them, because more than employees, they were ministers and servants to those around them, and that doesn't change. The Father can use any of us, regardless of our position.

All of this being said, this week sucked. And I think it's okay to acknowledge that. I don't know many in our family who would disagree. I hope I never have to go through this again, but I thank God for the graciousness He bestowed upon us through it all.

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