Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Where do I begin?

It was around the year 2000 when my Father succumbed to a stroke and died at the age of 68.  After many weeks of commuting to Des Moines to help my mom with the estate and home repairs and etc. we realized we could not do what needed to be done simply by commuting.

As a result we resigned our church in Davenport, Iowa after 11 plus years.  We loved our church and its people.  We owned property and both our kids were born there.  Many hours of fun, family, blood, sweat and tears… and lots of prayer were spilt on that soil.

Upon arriving in Des Moines, we lived in my mom’s basement while Sarah worked at Urbandale High School, and I re-started my trade business of painting and remodeling.  We got involved in church activities at Des Moines First Assembly.  I led worship on Wednesday nights, and taught a section of the Membership Class, as well as both Sarah and I helping in the Children’s Department at various times.

While staining Richard Arrowood’s deck, he was my Superintendent at the time, he asked if I would do fill-in at Altoona Assembly of God.  I said, “I didn’t know we had a church in Altoona?”  And he said, “Most people don’t” with a smile.  I said yes and the rest is history.

Somewhere around 2003 I was officially installed as the bi-vocational pastor of this little church.  We purchased a home a few blocks away.  We finished my moms house repairs and helped her to get it sold and her moved into a new townhome.

At that point I dove into the work of being a pastor and a full-time tradesman (a full life to say the least).

God was good to us.  I had plenty of work and the church seemed to be doing okay.  Time passed and as churches often do, we went through a life cycle or bell curve of change.  New faces, new vision, many projects and actually souls saved and a few filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

But time, modest income, and the extremes of a 7 day work week for 8 years took its toll on my life and family.

Each of you members and adherents of the REMEDY church are so very special to me and my family.  We have grown in the Lord, we have fought battles with the enemy, and we are still standing to testify of God’s goodness and constant victory.

As many of you know, the last few years have been exceedingly taxing on my personal life.  Sometimes the result was a loss to the church life and ministry.  For that I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry and repentant.

I am currently in the deepest valley of my life.  And the pain of this valley has touched too many lives to mention.  As a result of this present suffering, and the probability of catastrophic life and family changes (not withstanding a miracle from God).  I will no longer be able to lead this church as pastor.

It is with deep regret that I resign my position as your pastor.  I love you guys like family; because you are.

I have met with and received godly counsel from my district officers and close ministry friends.  That would include one of the most influential spiritual mentors and friends of my life, Pastor Larry Low.

All of the above mentioned are dear spiritual leaders, whom I submit to and trust implicitly.  Much time, prayer, counsel and weeping have been mixed into this entire journey and decision.  Therefore, today will be my very last day as your pastor.

Please pray for such a measure of grace, peace, provision, and true love to overshadow myself, Sarah, Andrew and Anna, as we together go through this deep valley of change.

Thank you Father God, thank you Jesus my Lord and Savior, and thank you Holy Spirit for being my sustaining power and only hope.

I love Sarah, Andrew my son in whom I am well pleased, and my dear daughter Anna, whose sweet spirit and wit have kept me assured she is indeed cut from the same fabric as I.  The four of you have been my life inspiration.  Thank you from the bottom of my soul.

And love to the REMEDY church family and the Iowa Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God.  Also, I would like to thank my friend and Superintendent Tom Jacobs, whose grace, wisdom and vision have shown me what true leadership is all about.  And I deeply thank the Iowa District for being my ministry home for the past 22 years.

In the days ahead please keep the entire Kinney family in your prayers.  When we see each other, don’t feel awkward, I won’t.  Just stop and chat.  We’ll be around.

May God bless each of us as we endeavor to follow Him all the way Home!

Pastor Russell A. Kinney
Sunday, October 21, 2012