Those of you who watched the video worship services this past weekend know that Jordan Thomas will be leaving First United Methodist Church, effective August 1, 2020.
Some shifting family situations and an excellent job opportunity in his hometown of Springfield, IL have led him to make this decision.
Had he stayed at FUMC, his hours would have been reduced from full-time to half-time, due to church budget restraints. Even with this lowered income, Jordan was prepared to stay and give the youth and the contemporary worship service his very best. The new pastor, Todd Krost, was very much hoping that Jordan would stay and work on the staff with him. But willing as he was to stay here, it would have been grossly unfair to stand in his way.
Jordan came to us right out of college and this was his first full time church job. He served us well...the church, the community, the youth, the worshippers...and me, his senior pastor. His musical abilities, intellect, love of God, and heart for kids (of all ages) has brought joy to our whole church community.
Seeing the situation from a 'big picture' point of view, the work we had for him to do here in First Church was a 2-3 year job for someone of his age and experience. Young pastors mature best when they can work in several ministry settings early in their careers, getting varied experiences under their belts. He gave you...and me...more than that here in Mattoon. It is time for him to take up what God has next for him, even though we are all sad to see him go.
Personally, my working relationship with him has been the best associate pastor experience I have had in almost five decades of ministry. I consider myself very blessed to have had him as my colleague for the full time I was appointed here in Mattoon. He came just one month before I arrived, and he will leave just one month after I retire. In more ways that the church knows, I have counted on Jordan's spirit, excellence, friendship, and unwavering loyalty.
As he leaves, two big roles will need to be filled. I have asked Lea Northam to be the interim coordinator of the youth group and Dusty Maninfior to be the interim coordinator of the contemporary worship praise team. They have both graciously agreed to step in on August 1 to help assure continuity in those two vital ministries of our church. Lea has worked closely with Jordan in youth ministry, and Dusty has been a vital part of Jordan's praise band in the contemporary worship service.
Neither of them are Jordan...so they will bring their own individuality to the services they will offer the church. And Pastor Todd will appreciate their maturity and joy and excellence in continuing to make sure we serve youth and contemporary worshippers in the months ahead.
I trust the church will communicate its love and appreciation to Jordan as he winds up his work here...and that you also will make an extra effort to support Lea and Dusty in their new and challenging roles.
God is good...even when taking us down new adventures of ministry and relationships.