A New Chapter For Me

I am embarking on a new chapter in my life. After a lot of thought, a lot of prayer, and many conversations with Jen, I have decided to resign as a pastor at my church.

This was a tough decision for me. I absolutely love the people in Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, PA. They are some of the finest, most godly, most loving people I know. They really are salt of the earth, city on a hill, not hiding their light under a bushel people. It has been an incredible blessing to be their pastor.

So why did I resign? First, in order to avoid all speculation and Internet fury and crazy rumors, let me clear about a few things. I didn’t resign to cover up any scandal. There was no inappropriate sexual behavior, no embezzling, and no abuse. I was not asked to “resign” (emphasis on quotation marks). The decision was wholly mine.

I resigned for two reasons. First, over the past two years it has become increasingly evident there are some fundamental differences of opinion between me and the other three pastors. These differences have made it difficult to function effectively as a pastoral team and have put a significant strain on my relationship with the other three pastors. These differences would take way too long to spell out in writing. I believe that resigning will cause the pastoral team to function more effectively, which will in turn promote the health of the church (which is so important to all of us who are pastors!). I also believe that resigning will allow me to rebuild the important relationships I have with the other pastors, my dad being the most important of all those relationships.

Second, as I have written about before, I have battled chronic anxiety for most of my adult life. Most of the time this feeling of anxiety (heart racing, shortness of breath, adrenaline coursing through my body) is not tied to specific circumstances or worries. Many times I simply wake up feeling this way. However, stressful situations can significantly exacerbate these symptoms, and as you can imagine, pastoral ministry is full of stressful situations! Jen and I both believe that stepping out of pastoral ministry could reduce the amount of anxiety I experience on a daily basis.

I don’t know what my next step will be. I don’t have any job opportunities immediately available to me. My church has generously agreed to give me three months of severance pay. During those three months I’ll be exploring job opportunities as well as working on some various writing projects.

Please pray for both me and Jen. We know God will lead us to the right place but it can be scary setting foot outside the Shire we’ve always known. Please pray that God would provide for us financially and spiritually. We know he will. We know he will be faithful.

I suppose I could end with some trite quote about taking the road less traveled, but I prefer the wise words of Bilbo Baggins:

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.

I’m confident God will sweep us to a good place.

Stephen Altrogge

I'm a husband, dad, writer. I drink too much coffee and know too much about Star Wars. I created The Blazing Center. I've also written some books which people seem to like. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook