FAQ: Why Are You Leaving Allendale? — Part 1

hiking morguefile haligi

When I communicated where we going next, I had an insightful and challenging question in the comments,

“We watched your video and are somewhat confused. Our question is not where, or when, or what, but why. Why would you leave Allendale when clearly God is working through your family there. Why, when you have no apprentice groomed to fill your void?

Try to imagine Paul leaving the churches he planted without a capable protégé, and you may understand our confusion.”

(I had similar questions in the comments section when I communicated when we plan to move.)

Before I answer that question (“Why?”), let’s rewind the tape to give an overview of how we’ve felt and thought along this journey.

Recapping Each Year

We first made the decision to move to Allendale in December 2010. The entire process was only 56 days – from a meeting with leaders from Grace Church on November 22, 2010, to my starting my job in Allendale on January 17, 2011.

In the last three years, the month of December has been a great evaluation time for us. First of all, it gives us a nice yearly anniversary mark. Secondly, the time around the holidays has made it easier to slow down and evaluate, and to pursue insight from mentors.

That being said, here is a brief recap of our thinking at the close of each year:

  • December 2010:  We felt like God was calling us to move to Allendale to be a part of the community and to work with children. At the time, we truly had a miniscule understanding of what this meant.
  • December 2011:  Even as we made the decision to leave my first job at the Boys and Girls Club, we felt like we were just getting started in our purpose in Allendale. We had settled in, made great friends and connections, and were energized to continue the mission that God had for us in Allendale.
  • December 2012:  A few months earlier, I had my first thought of “Maybe our time in Allendale is reaching a mid-point.” I think my wife sensed this a little ahead of me. I was surprised by my own feelings, and wondered if I was running in fear, or giving up. I communicated these questions and doubts to mentors and leaders from Grace Church. They reassured me that being open to a change is great, and resolutely resisting a change may itself be a red flag.
  • December 2013:  In the summer, we concluded (again, after much prayer and discussion) that Our Season in Allendale was coming to an end. We communicated this to a small group of friends and leaders (in Allendale, Greenville, and Savannah) at first, and then more publicly in October.

Why Did We Move to Allendale in the First Place?

It’s important to note that our purpose in Allendale was never to plant churches (as Paul did), or to build a program. We didn’t come to teach and to save, but to learn and to serve.

We came to:

  1. be a part of this community,
  2. work with kids, and
  3. be “feet on the ground” (especially to help Grace Church).

I think we accomplished all three aims.

It’s also important to note that our mindset was always towards living in Allendale for a shorter time-frame (2-3 years), as opposed to a generational commitment. I plan to write more on this in the near future. But for now, know that this is the conversation that we had with our leadership, mentors, and close friends before we moved to Allendale, and while we lived here.

Our Calling

I will continue discussing this topic in Part 2 (stay tuned!). But to close, here are some great thoughts from Tyler David, in The Gospel and Work:

“We have a great misunderstanding about how someone is ‘called’.

Your calling is determined over time, as you process what you want to do, what God has gifted you to do and the opportunities He’s placed before you.”

So, the calling that God gave to our family was no different in 2010 than it is today. And it’s no different from the calling He has given you. Our calling is to trust Him in all things, and to use our gifts and experiences to bless others.

Our chief end is to glorify Him in all that we are, in all that we do, and wherever we are. This may be our adventure, but it’s always His story.

Be sure to read Part 2 (next week), and also check out these related blogs.

Related Links:

**image courtesy of haligi via morguefile

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2 responses to “FAQ: Why Are You Leaving Allendale? — Part 1”

  1. Jason Griffith says :

    Your posts over the years have opened my eyes to see other’s realities in our state. It’s helped me question how can I help others and has pushed me and my family to help others within our own community.

    • joeyespinosa says :

      Jason — that encouragement means a lot. You probably don’t know how much. It has been an honor and pleasure to be able to be a part of God’s story in Allendale, and I know He is doing a work in you and your family, too — all for His glory.

      Hope to see you soon and catch up.

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