Oooooh, Big Doings Here in Desperate Pastor Land

A couple Sundays ago, I made an announce-ment in our morning worship celebra-tions to the Cobble-stone Community Church family. It's kinda big news.

I mentioned how, in our "Blessed Life" series in Sept/October, I had shared how I and the other leaders of the church believed God was leading us to a new place, and to a new level of participation and faithfulness as a church. I had mentioned the financial challenges we'll be facing in 2011, and what level of giving we would need to achieve in order to proceed without cuts. In mid-October, we asked our members and regular attenders to prayerfully pledge what they expected to give toward Cobblestone's ministry in 2011, and the results were blessed! We expect our 2010 budget to be in the neighborhood of $525,000 or more, a 20% increase over 2010! Thank you, Lord.

At the same time, however, that wasn't the level (which would have been miraculous, no doubt about it) that would allow us to proceed without any cuts this coming year. So, long story short (though there is much wonderful detail I could fill in), on October 28, I addressed a letter to our church leadership team, telling them that "In faith, believing that God is leading me and providing for his church, I will no longer accept a salary from Cobblestone after December 31, 2010." The elimination of my salary from the church budget will make it possible for the 2011 budget to be balanced....and even blessed!

I told our leaders that I was doing this in the belief that this action will:

• have the most salutary financial impact (in one fell swoop) on the 2011 budget;
• preserve the most visible and effective part of my ministry (my weekend preaching ministry), at no cost to Cobblestone;
• make possible the retention of my fellow staff members without a debilitating financial blow to them and their families;
• keep the church functioning with great effectiveness in the year and years to come;
• lay the foundation for greater stewardship of our resources in the future.

This was my decision. No one has pushed me out. There is no scandal. In fact, I think my friends and fellow leaders are more emotional about it than I am. I believe that God is in this (and they do, too), and that he will provide both for me and my wife, and for his church, Cobblestone.

The leadership team and I currently plan for me to continue preaching almost every Sunday at Cobblestone. The past few years, I have been the speaker for 38 or 39 Sundays a year, and I don't expect that to change. I plan to be just as present and involved as ever on Sundays. However, I will, of course, have to earn a living in other ways, so my Monday-Saturday schedule will change drastically come January. I will work with the church's leaders to make whatever adjustments are necessary for Cobblestone’s continued effectiveness, and will do whatever I can to both provide for me and my wife AND labor effectively as one of Cobblestone's many volunteers. I hope to revive my long-dormant writing ministry--yes, even in this economy--and re-connect with the wonderful publishers, editors, conference directors, etc., that have, I'm sure, felt oh so neglected by me in recent years. And I hope to find a job in early 2011 that will lend something to my household income, as it will take a long time, I imagine, before my writing can generate enough income to pay the mortgage. So if any of my blog readers and friends hear of available jobs,* speaking gigs, writing gigs, auditions for The Apprentice, that sorta thing, let me know!

And, of course, please feel free to pray for me and the lovely Robin. We don't know, at this point, how we will pay the bills in January, but we believe we will. And, while we are both happily trusting God through this transition, we also know that a lot of hard work and many adjustments lie just around the corner. So we can use all kinds of prayer in these next few months! Thank you so much.

*And don't be shy about relaying job openings; once you've been a pastor, there is no job too humble, too dirty, too demanding!


  1. Praying for you, Bob. What a step of faith!

    Thank you so much for your blog - it has blessed me abundantly. I love passing on the link (just did to my CO, whose wife complained that she's lost him to his I-Pad).

  2. Thank you, Wendy! And so glad the blog has been a blessing. If you haven't yet, you might also want to check out my prayer blog at

    Thanks again!