August 14, 2016 by Isaac Hovet
Dear Cottage Grove Faith Center,
Donia and I pray that you are well. We’ve missed being with you over the summer! I’m writing today to tell you about a change that has come. It’s a change born out of service to Jesus, love for God’s kingdom, and a deep trust in the way God is moving both in our lives and the life of the body of Cottage Grove Faith Center.
We have led Cottage Grove Faith Center one step at a time. From the very beginning we stated time and again, “we don’t have a master-plan, but are taking this journey by placing one foot in front of the other.” We have led by revelation and with careful input from mentors and trusted leaders. We’ve striven to follow the next step we are led to and then trust God with the future. We’ve purposed to live in the present and embrace what God has called us toward in Cottage Grove. On day one we said, “We love this town!” and that love has only grown.
As we approached our sabbatical, our sole intention was to rest and realign our hearts with Jesus. During the sabbatical we have been open to what the Lord would say and how he would direct us, but mostly we were looking forward to just “being.” We knew that this time away would be important for us and for Cottage Grove Faith Center.
Two weeks into the sabbatical, our district supervisor Gabe Barreiro called me. In our denomination (Foursquare), senior (or ‘lead’) pastors do not apply for jobs nor are they hired by churches. Rather, they are appointed to churches by the district supervisor. We were surprised to learn on that phone call that he wanted to appoint me as senior pastor to New Hope Foursquare Church in Salem, Oregon.
I want to stress: I was not out looking for another job or seeking another position. But, our district supervisor invited us to pray and consider the church in Salem.
During our time in Cottage Grove, Donia and I have been invited to consider other positions, but we have chosen to remain in Cottage Grove. However, this invitation caused us a long pause. As we reviewed our prayers over the last several months and reviewed devotional entries in my journal, we recognized the Lord preparing us to go.
Allow me to clarify what we mean by “Go”.
About ten years ago we were in the middle of a tough season with the church we were serving at and felt tempted to leave. We were weary and wanted out. Through prayer and seeking wisdom, the Lord gave us a principle we have lived by: We will not leave because things are difficult, but we will go where God is calling us.
This principle has returned to us. It is not that we want to leave and we have not attempted to leave. Cottage Grove Faith Center is a success story! It is a story of faith, hope and love making a huge difference in our city! It is a story of a mass of people worshipping Jesus and giving the Kingdom their best efforts! It is a story of the lost being found! It is a story of Jesus working through His Spirit to draw is closer to himself!
Donia and I are proud of the Cottage Grove Faith Center and excited for what God continues to do in Cottage Grove. We deeply love all of our people. We truly “love this town!”
We have felt so privileged to lead this church and have been so happy with all the new Christ-followers and the Kingdom impact we’ve all made together in this town. We are proud of our leaders and think that the future is bright for Cottage Grove Faith Center.
Big decisions are tough because of how they will affect others. Because of our deep love for you, our decision making process has been emotional, challenging and difficult. We have been thinking of you during this time. It is our deep affection for you that has stuck our boots to the ground of Cottage Grove. However, our love for Jesus is greater—our love for Jesus compels us to go in faith. Our love for Jesus invites us to trust him with you. Our love for Jesus reminds us that you are his responsibility long before you are ours. We trust him, and we trust that he has prepared all of us, the Hovet family and the family of CGFC for this moment. We trust Jesus and we say ‘yes’. We step out toward him.
We’ve emerged with clarity: we are accepting the appointment to go to lead New Hope Foursquare Church in Salem. What this means is that Associate District Supervisor Jim Thomas is here to aid us through this transition. Leadership has been informed and next steps will continue to be given to guide the congregation through this change. Donia and I have ended our sabbatical 2 weeks early to help facilitate the transition and our last day at CGFC will be September 11th, 2016. We look forward to the next several weeks together.
Foursquare district leadership will be working with the Church Council to select the next lead pastor of Cottage Grove Faith Center. We are very confident that their leadership will pave the way for a great lead pastor to be appointed for the next season of ministry and Kingdom impact in South Lane County. We know this change will stretch many of us to trust God more deeply and rely on each other in new ways of fellowship and support. I also know that we, as the body of Christ, are in a place where we are ready to do that. This is a time for us to be closer than ever, and to trust God and each other, to experience what the community of Christ truly is.
Donia and I are trusting Jesus through this transition. Just as we left friends and family to come to Cottage Grove Faith Center five and a half years ago, we are leaving what we consider friends and family to go where God has called us.
We ask that we all continue to pray for each other during this time of transition. The community we have at CGFC truly is a family in Christ and we know we are up to the task of moving through this transition with grace as we process all of it together. Please pray for our kids as there will be many adjustments, new friends to make, new schools to attend. They are full of faith for the future, but we need faith not just for now, but in crucial moments as we proceed into the unknown. In the same way, we pray for you. You too are moving into a season of faith and trust. We know the Lord has equipped you with the courage and wisdom to continue on in the important work we all have begun in bringing Jesus to South Lane County.
It has been a true privilege to serve with you in this community. We have seen the power of Christ at work and thank all of you profoundly for walking with us through this season of life. Though things are changing, you are a part of us and we are a part of you.
We are very open to clarifying conversations. Please feel free to engage with us.
Isaac & Donia