Skip to content

Why I Quit Pastoral Ministry


When I was seventeen, I decided that I wanted to be a pastor. Several important people in my life encouraged me in that direction, and I went to college to learn how. After graduating with a religious studies degree, replete with “expertise” in biblical languages, theology, ethics and Ellen White’s writings, I spent two years in Bangkok, Thailand as a chaplain and Bible teacher before pursuing a master’s degree in religion and ethics at La Sierra University. When I graduated from La Sierra, Southeastern California Conference hired me as a pastor. I was living the dream.

After four years as a pastor, most of them at the Azure Hills Church with an excellent group of pastors and a second-to-none assemblage of college students and young media technicians with whom I ministered, I quit pastoral ministry in October of this year.

Leaving work in arguably the best conference in the Adventist denomination was not an easy decision, but the deciding factor for me was the need for independence. During my time in ministry, I was constantly aware of the church’s expectations on me. I felt as though there was an expectation that I would toe the proverbial party line, that some topics of conversation were off the table, and that I would represent the denomination’s thinking in my interactions with my parishioners. Without anyone telling me in so many words, I had the strong sense that someone else had already set the parameters of my conversations for me.

When Spectrum offered me a full-time position managing the website, I jumped at the chance. My experience of Spectrum, since I first discovered copies of the journal in the stacks of Southwestern Adventist University’s Chan Shun Centennial Library, was that it represented the Independent Voice in Adventism.

That’s what Spectrum offers a denomination that can feel tightly scripted at times: Truthful journalism. Smart analysis. Thoughtful features. An independent voice, and community through conversation.

Since I started my work as managing editor of the site, I’ve worked alongside a great team of storytellers, editors, interns, moderators and technical experts who are committed to providing quality content on our website. We’re growing, too. Our readership is growing, the quantity of material we publish is on the rise, and we’re expanding our coverage of some of our denomination’s biggest topics. Specifically, in 2015, we are planning to invest energy and resources into coverage of four big topics:

1. The San Antonio General Conference Session in July

2. Health Care policy with an eye on Adventist Health Care

3. Adventist Higher Education

4. The ongoing discussion of Ordination.

To help fund our expansion, we’re participating in Giving Tuesday on December 2. From the Giving Tuesday website:

“We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.”

If you appreciate the coverage Spectrum provides, I invite you to participate in Giving Tuesday as well. The generosity of our community has allowed us to grow and to provide an Independent Voice within Adventism.

Our goal for this Giving Tuesday is $10,000 from at least fifty donors.

Help us reach our goal by choosing an area you would like to fund with your contribution. Click on one (or more) of the four topics below to make a tax-deductible contribution to Spectrum’s coverage, and in the “Additional Comments” box on the giving form, please specify which area you’d like to support. Gifts must be made by December 31 in order to be used for 2014 tax purposes.

You can also make a donation in one of the following ways:

1. Donate to Spectrum here, call our office at (916) 774-1080, or mail a check to Spectrum,
 P.O. Box 619047,
 Roseville, CA 95661-9047.

2. Subscribe to our quarterly journal here, by phone, or by mail (download the form here) for a wide range of thought-provoking articles, visual and literary delights.

3. Support Giving Tuesday by sharing your story about giving with your friends and family.

And thank you for your generosity and support! 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Spectrum Newsletter: The latest Adventist news at your fingertips.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.