October 1, 2011 – February 13, 2019.

I am no longer a Youth Pastor.

Even the typing of that sentence is hard to do, much less read.Pastoring teens, and supporting parents with all that comes with it has been all I’ve known for seven years. Seven good, hard, fruitful, rollercoaster years. Youth ministry has been both the most rewarding, and challenging job I have ever put my hand to. Often lonely and discouraging, small glimmers of hope and encouragement kept me going when I wanted to quit so many nights. In fact, I think I did quit a few nights along the way, only to rehire myself the next morning. šŸ˜€šŸ˜‚

It’s always been about the students, as I wanted to be the one standing on the wall for them in the most transitional, and often confusing time in their life. I wanted to be a resource for parents, reinforcements when they were left scratching their heads over this now alien child turned teenager. I never felt like the work was done, and I know now it never was. I’m coming to terms with it slowly, but surely, I’m letting go of hopes I had for students and families no longer mine to influence. One thing is for certain, I am forever grateful for opportunity to be even the smallest part of their story. What an honor and a privilege!

It’s been a difficult time…I’ve had to grieve the loss. It’s been a slow death of responsibility, but a death nonetheless. It is clear in how I’ve reacted that it had to happen. My identity had become too wrapped in what I did. So this death is a good thing; a killing of an idol if you will.

I am not what I do. Neither are you. We are simply to be defined by who we are as sons and daughters of the most High. I’m learning it. I’m trying to live in it. And I’m loving it, when I surrender to the truth of it.

It hasn’t been easy.I have been angry, sad, aimless, restless, resentful, encouraged, discouraged, excited, and scared among other feelings. Ultimately, though I am hopeful. I’ve been here before, walking a road of faith that doesn’t make sense to me, and certainly doesn’t make sense to those watching from the outside. Why would I sell a home and walk away from a job I loved? Why choose to leave the security of the known for the uncertainty of unemployment and homelessness? My only defense is to say that it’s the Lord’s leading. Though this could seem like a cop out, or irresponsible, confirmation after confirmation gives me a certainty that includes moments of doubt right alongside a steeled confidence that this is right. All will be well. All will be revealed in time. I don’t see it all yet, but I trust my Heavenly Father who has always come through, and I know He always will. He has me, and He has a place for me. So I wait. I listen. I act on what I hear.

Though the the job title is gone, I must remember I am not my name tag…the totality of who I am is not wrapped up in what I do/did. The assignment is done, but the calling remains. So whether I ever return to paid pastoral ministry again or not, I am created to be pastoral. It’s simply who God made me to be. For now, the Balogh Family is on to our next step of obedience. I’m not certain what that means for me individually when it comes to work, but there is an inkling. A whisper. A thought. As it often does, it seems it will take radical obedience as I listen. Iā€™m operating on a need to know basis. Help me Lord!

So…The plan is for this to be a part one of several posts that update you on my journey forward. With that being said, be on the lookout for part two (and maybe three) in the coming weeks/months. Thanks for reading, I pray that something in my story can be an encouragement to you in yours. If you think of me, (and the family) please listen in prayer on our behalf too, for that we would be eternally grateful.

Part 2: Death Of A Pastor: A Story Of Deconstruction And Renewal Part 2

Blessings on you friends!

Josh