Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Doug Fields stepping down @ Saddleback

Here is what Doug said on Pastor Rick Warren's blog:

Doug has done so much for student ministry and has inspired all of us. Thank you Doug for all you have done for Student Ministry!!!

Love Letter To Our Church Family- Pastor Doug Fields

For the last several months I have sensed God leading me to something new and different. After a lot of prayer with Cathy, my family, Pastor Rick, and others, I have decided to resign from my role as a Saddleback pastor in order to follow God's lead. This step of faith has been difficult and I'm already feeling the painful loss. But, as difficult as it is, both Cathy and I are confident and excited in God's leading.

As you might expect, Pastor Rick has been wonderful to me during the decision making process. He has been a pastor to me and I'm grateful for him. He gave me two months to continue to pray and be certain of this decision and even told me I could write my own job description to keep me on staff-that was so gracious. And once I was confident of God's will, Rick gave me his unconditional support. Neither Rick nor any of the other pastors wanted me to leave staff, but they obviously understand how God can prompt us toward something new.

What am I going to do? Well, there's not another specific job" that I'm departing to, but I am leaving staff to pursue some incredible opportunities to express my writing and teaching gifts. What I'm really doing is what I've taught you to do-listen for God's whisper and obey it!Several people have said, You're crazy to leave a secure Saddleback Church job during this unstable market." Humanly speaking, they're right... following God doesn't always make sense, but I know I need to do the right thing: listen and obey.

I can't even begin to put into words how grateful I am for my 18 years serving at our church. I came here as a 28 year old youth pastor with a desire to love God, love others and help build Saddleback Church. I have so many great memories and friendships and wonderful feelings confirming God used me here. These have been incredible years for me! From working with teenagers to teaching adults to building the Refinery to starting Fuel to becoming closer to Jesus to hiding all of Rick's disgusting Hawaiian shirts. It has been quite a ride! I am a better person and deeper thinker and a more committed follower of Jesus because of my job and my interactions with the wonderful people at Saddleback Church. When I think of our church I know I am richly blessed indeed. If you didn't get to read my dedication to you in my book Refuel, here's what I said".

DEDICATION: I would like to dedicate this book to the people who call Saddleback Church their home. I love being one of your pastors! I love teaching you the Bible. I love your passion for learning. I love your concern for your neighbors. I love your commitment to pursuing God in all areas of your lives. I love your dedication to giving-and giving generously. I love talking to you and hearing about what God is doing in your lives. I love you!

As a family, Saddleback Church will continue to be our church home. Our best friends are here... our small group... and our ministry is here. I'm not resigning from church, just my staff position. My kids will be involved in the high school ministry, Cathy is leading a small group of teenage girls, and I will occasionally fill-in and preach for Pastor Rick and teach in the high school ministry.

Well, there it is--that's the whole story in a nutshell. Rick and I and the other church Elders wanted you to hear this news directly from me. Unfortunately, many times when a pastor leaves a staff position there are crazy rumors that start flying around. That shouldn't happen here, because there's nothing wrong and I'm not upset aboutanything...actually, I'm thrilled to be able to leave with integrity and strong leadership support. So, now you can say you heard it straight from the horse's mouth (or the donkey's...whichever you prefer).

This weekend, I'll have the privilege of teaching part 3 in our Life's Healing Choices series. Then, after our current series, Rick has asked me to preach a 3 week series in November. So we'll still be seeing one another... the biggest difference is that I won't have to attend meetings anymore...yeah!

I can't wait to see your smiling face this weekend as we open up God's Word and celebrate together!

So blessed! Pastor Doug

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