This will be the final post I will make for my “Second Campus” blog.
I’m so grateful to those of you who have thought and interacted with me over the past five years, through my recovery from brain cancer, as well as the thoughts which inspired me as I served as Campus Pastor at Blanchard Warrenville. For me, this blog was a gift which often helped me more clearly understand the temperature of my own soul during the everyday challenges/surprises which are so common to not only the Christian life, but also through the calling to ministry.
The following is the text of my concluding remarks to the congregation in Warrenville on Sunday, January 6th.
Dear friends and church family of Blanchard Alliance Church in Warrenville:
As of January 15, 2013, I have tendered my resignation as Campus Pastor of this church. I apologize to those of you who have not received word of my decision, whether via e-mail or conversation up to now. The reason I’m resigning, with Karyn’s full support and the good counsel from friends and spiritual leaders in our lives—the reason I’m resigning is that I did not have the confidence of Blanchard Alliance Church’s leaders, nor the significant majority of the Warrenville Leadership Team to continue serving as the pastor of this campus. I grieve this loss deeply because I believe Blanchard Warrenville—our story as children, youth and adults together, while imperfect like all churches, is breathtakingly beautiful, full of God-glorifying potential. I and my family have been changed forever by the rich, lasting relationships we have formed with so many of you and we mourn not being able to continue worshiping with you and leading you into the future. Yet, like David affirms in Psalm 27, “I am still confident of this, I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
As we leave, it’s important to express my gratitude for the countless ways you have loved us so well these last five years. Who would have ever imagined being able to look back on having a seizure in church on June 20, 2010 and calling that a blessing? For God to have allowed it to happen right here in the middle of this sanctuary was a gift—rather than in the car with my family, or on my awesome Vespa on the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We thank our God because of you whenever we remember how you cared for me and my family in those dark days.
You are a gritty and tough bunch to have endured the many challenges of launching this new campus out of Wheaton in 2006.
I’m also grateful and proud of the progress we have made in becoming a more fully realized intergenerational church—where our kids and families are welcome participants together in the gatherings of our church. I don’t know if you appreciate how truly special, rare and important this reality is for the viability of the North American Church and for all of Blanchard Alliance Church. The fifty-or-so kids we have here at Warrenville are our greatest resource and responsibility and you all, whether single or married, have done such a beautiful job of seeing and celebrating our kids and helping them grow in their relationships with Christ.
Parents, we are the key to our kids’ growing a lifelong walk with Jesus. They will practice the relationship with Jesus we show them at home. So, in all these things, our highest calling is to know Christ as our life’s defining passion—vigorously guarding Him to be the very center of our lives—above all other things. I pray, by God’s gracious power, we sense His presence giving us the bold authority to grow in Christlikeness today and in the days ahead.
I charge you, people of Blanchard Warrenville, to use the powerful voices God has given you by his Spirit to be his priests. This is a church full of Spirit-gifted people. Speak up! Defend the purity of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of the cross to change people. Expect nothing less from yourselves and your leaders.
And use your priestly voices to pray. As I’ve often encouraged you as your pastor, pray for your lost neighbors, pray for God to break your heart for those trapped in the dark around you. Walk your neighborhood and workplaces to pray for them by name. And pray for revival to sweep through Blanchard Alliance Church and throughout the church in North America, for a renewed passion to know Christ and make him known.
I charge you, then, priests of Blanchard Warrenville, to also fully embrace the privilege of being disciplemakers. Find someone to initiate this kind of life-giving relationship with. Step up. Look around. It’s great, exciting work that you’re already gifted for by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “The harvest is ripe but the workers are few.” And before he returned to heaven, he said “As you are going, make disciples…” Choose to be a part of this harvest of change wherever you are every day.
But of all the things that I celebrate about Blanchard Warrenville, I am most proud of the way you love and care for one another in the name of Christ. You are truly his ambassadors and I believe you always will be wherever God leads you in life. Keep loving the hurting people all around you.
As I resign as leader of this church body, I still believe in the unlimited potential of the Church as God’s instrument to be his living expression everywhere. Choose to be a blessing in Christ. You are children of the King. Bless and do not curse. Thank you for how you have blessed me and my family while I served as your pastor.
Some of you may ask what’s next for our family. We honestly don’t really know. We welcome your prayers on our behalf for God to open a new door—and the courage to embrace that opportunity, whatever it might look like. Our call right now is to be patient, to rest and to wait on God’s timing.
Finally, people of Blanchard Warrenville, we love you. We have been marked forever by your love and kindness. So, in closing, I leave you with this beautiful blessing from the book of Numbers chapter 24:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
I plan on leaving the blog “live” as a marker point of how Christ met with me during my five years as Campus Pastor for Blanchard Warrenville. I definitely learned a lot as I wrote–perhaps it will serve to be as such for others who read it, too?
God graciously opened the door for the Kamphausens to relocate internationally to Thailand where Jeff is currently serving third culture kids as the Spiritual Life Director at Grace International School in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Keep up with the Kamphausens through their new blog, Our Grace Story.