One Tough Day

Church pews
Tonight, it’s 9:50pm, and I’m pretty tired. Been a bit of an
emotional day. As many of you are aware, this morning, I announced my
resignation as Senior Minister of the Highland Oaks Church of Christ after
nearly six years of ministry. I haven’t cried that much since I saw E.T. for
the first time.

I’m not a crier at all. But, somehow, my love and care for
God’s people yanked the tears out of me today. There were dozens, if not hundreds of cryable moments today…but…

At the Plano campus, it was Bill Toler in particular that
did me in…a delightful wheel-chair bound man with cystic fibrosis who not only
yelled out “we love you, Tim” just as I got up to speak…but it was his impromptu
leading of “We Love You with the Love of the Lord,” after I spoke that got me.
Unbeknownst to most… Bill always gives me a dollar and a Werther’s every Sunday
(don’t know why…sometimes grace takes many forms)…and as I headed weekly to the
Dallas campus,
never failed to muster enough oxygen to say either, “Great job, Tim,” or “We
love you, Tim” on my way out. I’ll miss him immensely.

At the Dallas campus, it wasn’t the standing ovation…it was a
teary Hunter Howard, a 13-year-old boy that I helped learn to throw a
curve-ball, and whose parents are some of our best friends at the church. Tough
stuff. Really tough.

So now, it’s about 10pm. I’m sitting on our patio, hearing a
pool party in the neighbors yard, and watching the flicker of the tiki torches
in our backyard, reflecting on what just happened. Truth is, I’ll never fully
know what the implications of either our ministry at HOCC or our departure mean
fully. 

I do know this… 

God is. Christ is all. The Spirit still abides in us. We
love the Church. We love God’s people.

And that is more than just enough. 

It’s at times like this that I remember the words of my
dearly departed friend Terry Gibboney who eventually took hold of the Great
Prize after a long bout with cancer: “God is my plan A. I have no plan B.”

Plan B will emerge soon. God provides. Of this, Emily and I
are supremely confident: God isn’t through with us yet.

I'll end with an excerpt of our comments this morning. 

…Yet, we feel as
though it’s time for us to open a new chapter in our lives. Therefore, I am
resigning as the Senior Minister of the Highland Oaks
Church
of Christ. Emily,
Anna, and Olivia and I will leave Dallas with lifelong friendships, lifelong
learnings, and lifelong love for this church that will transcend time or
geography. We have loved this church and poured out everything we have to offer
the Lord on its behalf. It’s been an honor to be a small part of the great
things God has done in and through Highland
Oaks since 2002. 

I would like to thank
this church for its grace toward us in so many ways over our time here. We have
been the recipients of countless acts of kindness, encouragement and generosity
in our time here. I have grown as a preacher and teacher of the Word. I feel I
have grown as a leader here. I feel I have grown as a man of God here and that
Emily has grown as a woman of God here. Our children have grown as stinkers of
God here…

It’s here at Highland Oaks that our two children have been born. Highland Oaks is all they know. And, as a family, we were
blessed to learn how to be a Christian family by watching many of you. We hope
is that we have been a blessing to you as well.

We will have the
opportunity to say good-bye more intimately over the next few weeks. As we
examine various paths the Lord has put before us, please keep us in your
prayers. You can believe that you will be in ours in the days ahead.  

Thank you for loving
us. We won’t stop loving you, wherever God leads us next.

Love and Grace in
Christ, 

Tim, Emily, Anna, and
Olivia Spivey

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Share Your Thoughts

24 thoughts on “One Tough Day

  1. Its like you learn my thoughts! You seem to grasp a lot approximately this, like you wrote the guide in it or something. I think that you just can do with a few p.c. to drive the message house a little bit, however instead of that, that is magnificent blog. A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.

  2. Tim-
    What a blessing you are to HOCC. When I heard the news I was very sad. I don’t know why you chose to end your time with HOCC, but God must have an even better opportunity for you. May God bless you and Emily and the girls now and in the future.
    Melissa

  3. Tim,
    Visting HOCC with my sister Kristie and her family gave me the pleasure in meeting you and hearing some of the great messages you delivered. I know that where ever God leads you, you will be a gift to the extreamly lucky people and families that get to hear you just as I did. May God bless you and your family and know that you touched more than the lives of HO members, but those of us who just happened to visit a few times.
    Best of luck,
    Dan Davis
    (Kristie Howards brother)

  4. Tim,
    It has been a pleasure working with you. You are a man with great vision and ability to preach God’s word. Having had the opportunity to get to know you at a personal level has been a true blessing. I have been inspired by your confindence, your constant desire to do what is best for the church, your integrity, and most importantly; your great faith in the Lord. May the Lord continue to provide for you and your family as you continue to follow Him.
    In Him,
    Jason

  5. Tim
    This is new to me blog ??
    It was helpful for me to read
    I glad I got to tell you Sunday what you meant to me and my walk with Christ.
    Hope to hear you speak in the further
    Mybe you will write a book
    It is hard for me not to be mad about this
    I will not go ther
    I have chosen not be mad about it
    I am reading Men of Valor by Richard Exley
    It is hard to look yourself
    This book has help me do that
    Your teaching has encored me to do more of that
    Have a bless day
    Redgie

  6. Tim and Emily,
    I was totaly blown away by your announcement. I feel like I’m loosing part of my family, and I regret that there hasn’t been enough time to get to know you both better, but I also know that you and Emily will thrive wherever you go, because you both have a heart for God and you have each other.
    Tim, your understanding of God’s word and your talent for teaching it has had an amazing impact on my life and on my heart. THANK YOU! God has a plan for you and a place for your leadership and vision. Go and bless, and be blessed.
    Cathy

  7. Tim,
    Thank you for being a mouthpiece of God for me during a difficult time in my life. Thank you for preaching the Word of God in pure manner. Most of all, thank you for not being afraid to speak on tough subjects. I will miss you and your family but not your influence on Highland Oaks. That’s because it will always be there. You have left an indelible mark, my friend. Go in the grace of God.
    jb

  8. The Lord will use you in a powerful way. You are too talented to waste. I know that the future is bright for you. Stay in there, my friend.

  9. Tim,
    I heard the awful news Sunday night. I am so sorry for you and your family because men dashed your God given dreams, and I feel for the shocked elements of spiritual life at HOCC. It just makes me sick to my stomach. I know how you feel, even though those feelings are 10 years old. BUT GOD will be very faithful to you and your family, and He will open for you some doors of incredible opportunity for even greater service in His Kingdom.
    Be bold, be blessed and be faithful.
    Duane

  10. Tim,
    We love you guys and are so proud of how you have handled this situation! We are thinking of you guys and praying for you during this transition. We are excited to see what God has in store for all of you!
    We love you
    amber

  11. Hey Tim,
    Man, I’m sorry you are having to leave. I don’t know any of the details, but I know it hurts. Peace to you, your wife and your children. Your feelings are fresh with me and my family, having just made a move to a new church in January. God will heal your hurts, make you wiser and stronger, and plug you in to a place where your gifts will continue to bless the kingdom. HOCC is surely a better people for you having been there.
    P.S. Confucious say, “Church who takes on building project loses preacher shortly thereafter.” What is up with that?

  12. Hey Tim,
    Man, I’m sorry for you having to leave. I don’t know any of the details, but I know it hurts. Peace to you and your wife and children. Having just come off a move to a new church, your feelings are still fresh with me. You will heal and grow and be wiser and some congregation will be blessed to get you. God will make sure of that.
    You’ve blessed His kingdom.
    P.S. Confucious say, “Church that takes on building project loses preacher shortly thereafter.” What is it with that?

  13. My Dear Brother Tim,
    What a wonderful legacy of vision and leadership you are leaving at not just HOCC–but your leadership has been most impactful Kingdom wide! You have been such a blessing to my personally and to the work I lead in Mesquite. Remember the words of the Hebrew writer–that “God is not unjust and He will not forget the work you have done and continue to do for His people.” May the Lord richly bless you and watch over you and your family. May He take you to a new and even more impactful work–that will help many lost people BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS LORD AND SAVIOR! Mine and Christi’s love to your sweet family.
    Grace and Peace,
    Bruce Archer
    At The Cross Church of Christ

  14. Tim and Emily,
    I am at a loss of what to say right now, except that you two are truly our friends and you will be missed greatly. And, that we will always look back at the fact that we should have spent more time together watching 24 and American Idol.
    Because I believe in our God who is good, I know that he will continue to bless you, and will lay a path out for you very soon. I will miss hearing you on Sunday morning – you are truly gifted and encouraging to all of us Tim. And to Emily, I sincerely hope that our paths continue to cross as you are truly one of my best friends. We love you both!
    Shannon

  15. You are one of the greatest thinkers of our generation. Your gifts still astound me and I know God is going to do amazing things with you in the future. You have left a lasting legacy at HOCC that will long outlive your tenure here. I have been honored to serve with you and will miss working by your side. Your fingerprints are on this place and on my life. Thank you for your friendship and your partnership. To God be the glory and may God’s blessings be great upon you, Em and the girls.
    Peace always,
    Christopher

  16. I was not at church Sunday morning because Olya was sick with a virus. Later Sunday afternoon, when I heard the news of your resignation, I was shocked and felt a deep sadness and sense of loss. I really, really enjoy your sermons, and the way you bring together Holy scriptures with life applications. I see both you and Emily as truly sincere and genuine in spirit. You each have a gift and and I among the many who are blessed to be a recipient of that gift. I was so looking forward to Olya and Anna getting to know one another better as they attended Sunday School and Faith Walkers (or as Olya calls it “Fake” Walkers! LOL!!) together. I know wherever God sends the Spivey family, it will be awesome. I truly wish it could continue at HOCC. Tim and Emily, thank you for your servant heart and hard work for the church. May God bless you mightily! Love, Lola and Olya

  17. Tim,
    Since you first hired me in March of 2004 to work as your assistant at Highland Oaks, I have had the privilege of assisting you in your ministry. I feel honored to have had such a close working relationship with you and have grown personally and professionally as a result. It has amazed me over the years to observe the consistency of your enthusiasm and energy level day in and day out as you tackled the unending leadership challenges and decisions that faced you each day. No matter what type of day or challenge, or even discouragement you might have…you always seemed to have the uncanny ability to keep moving forward without distraction toward the goals ahead instead of letting difficulties distract you into inertia or cowardly leadership. I have a great deal of respect for your vision and passion for church leadership and I am quite certain that your gifted insight in countless matters of church ministry has been successfully passed on to your ministry team at Highland Oaks. Thank you for your high standards of excellence and the coaching and training you gave me in those regards. Thank you for your love of words and your gift for transforming an ordinary text blurb into a masterpiece using your gift of wordsmithing. Thank you for being a good boss to me and for caring about me and Barry and Garrett. Thank you for seldom bringing up any administrative mistakes on my part and for always giving me grace. I am going to miss working with you. I pray God’s blessing on your family and I pray that God lead you to your perfect fit in your future career move. God Bless You….Love Jami Eggleston

  18. Tim,
    I spoke to Emily yesterday but never made it through the crowd to you. I will miss you greatly! Your teaching has been a blessing in my life. But, I am also so blessed to have had a friendship with you and Emily as well outside of the minister/church member relationship. Thank you for your work at HOCC. You will be greatly missed!
    With love and grace,
    Kristi

  19. Tim: I’m one of the folks on the outside who was completely blindsided yesterday morning. I have bunches of questions, mostly regarding the seeming inability for ministers and elders to resolve differences, but this is hardly the place to voice those queries.
    Some congregation is going to get one of the finest speakers I’ve ever heard. Your messages touched me over and over again. There was hardly a Sunday that went by that didn’t cause me to be moved greatly by your words.
    Again, I’m not privy to any of the details. But the events of yesterday cut me to core. It will take me time to recover. I guess my final wish is that all concerned, every elder and you and Emily, learn from this traumatic event and somehow come out of it wiser and better able to serve our Master. Carole and I wish you and your family Godspeed.

  20. Tim,
    As always, well done and well said. You are one of the greatest leaders I have ever known. You will be sorely missed and I will personally never be the same because I have known you. You and Emily mean so much to me and my family. My heart aches as you depart. I know great things are ahead for you and for the church where your leadership gifts had such an impact. I look forward to continuing sharing our lives together, albeit at a distance.
    I love you,
    Jon

  21. Tim and Em,
    We love you so much and are so proud of you. We thank God for you as our family and as our friends. We know God has wonderful plans for you and your precious girls. (of course, we selfishly pray those plans are close by!) You continue to be in our prayers. God bless you and give you peace.
    love, p, a, c, k, & c