I officially become a quarter-time employee in about 4 days when I semi-retire. I’m about to start doing a quarter-ass job around here. And yes, I’m both excited and nervous about it.

I’m excited about the possibilities that open up for me to be more available to my wife and family. I’m excited for what new opportunities our church will encounter as I make room for new leadership and how God will surprise us all with what lies ahead. I’m excited both for my personal growth and the ways God will help our church grow as we make the shifts and adjustments to my diminished presence.

I trust this process and have experienced this whole shift thing not first as my idea, but God’s—and I’ve simply been trying to listen.

For the first year that I sensed this was the direction I needed to go I was grieving the loss because I have the best job in the world. It has only been the last 6 months that I have had peace about it, and only the last couple of months that I have actually felt excited about it.

And I’m nervous about it. I’m not nervous about how our church will fare, but how I will. I know there will be times for our church that will feel awkward, perhaps incomplete, maybe even a little anxiety-producing, that I am not available in the same ways that I have been for the last 10 years. But God is not semi-retiring and will continue to guide us through the Spirit, the Leadership Council, the Co-pastors and wonderful staff, and the most amazing group of people I have ever experienced as part of a church.

I’m a little nervous about how I’ll switch gears. I will probably flounder a little with what my purpose is after having had one of those jobs where every day seems important. Seriously, I hardly ever question the worth of the work I do at Highlands.

Among other things, in just the last day I had the privilege of coaching one of our young men how to prepare the wedding for his friends in a couple weeks. They were going to elope in Reno and he said, “You can do better than that” and then offered to do their wedding!

And I got to help one of our grieving peeps whose mother died. I think the memorial service we planned will be full of hope and healing and humor, as this mother deserves. It is such an honor to be able to come alongside people at some of their most vulnerable times.

And I had the privilege of talking with and coaching a pastor from one of the largest mega-churches in the U.S. whose theology is shifting and he knows he can no longer serve in a church that does not fully welcome and embrace the LGBTQ community.

All of that’s just part of one day this week. When I think about having a lot more time on my hands, I get a little nervous that I may wonder about the worth of what I’m doing. God is going to have much to teach me about moving at the speed of love, of being quiet, of finding worth in my being and not in my doing.

But I don’t doubt that this is where I am being called.

Nothing but love,

Mark