Leaving Chase Valley Church

I’m writing this post with a morose, but peaceful heart. Today was my last Sunday as the Worship Arts Pastor at Chase Valley. One week earlier I turned in a letter of resignation to the leadership. I didn’t want to but out of obedience to God I had to. I know I am following God’s will in this. It doesn’t make it hurt any less.

Chase Valley has gone through a lot of painful staff changes. I said that it was my goal to leave with the least amount of hurt and that I was willing to do anything to help transition the ministry. The leadership felt that it would be best if I made today my last Sunday. I submitted to their decision. 

My final setlist for Chase Valley was

  • I Am Free – Egan
  • Adonai – Badham, Fieldes
  • O Come Emmanuel – Chia
  • God of Wonders – Byrd
  • Once Again – Redman
  • All Creatures of Our God and King – Crowder

I didn’t plan for this to be my last Sunday – these just happen to be the songs I already had scheduled this week. You can see more setlists from other worship leaders at my friend Fred’s blog.

Why I’m Not Leaving

If you’ve read my blog or attended Chase Valley you know things have been rough. There has been interpersonal conflict and financial struggle. None of those reasons are why I have chosen to resign. In fact conflict and struggle are what I signed up for. I knew Chase Valley was facing hurt and hardship before I arrived. A huge reason why I came was because I wanted to minister in this situation. I felt called and equipped to do so. 

I love the people of Chase Valley. I love my worship team. I love my ministry. 

So What’s the Problem?

I have a high ethic of supporting leadership fully. The fact is that the senior pastors have a vision for the church that I cannot in good conscience support. I would be disobedient to God if I did. It’s not a bad vision. They have a Godly vision that authentically matches their gifts, talents, experiences and calling. Unfortunately it runs contrary to what God has gifted, equipped and called me to do. 

Two visions – both good, but both very different. 

The moral choice was to step aside and let them lead the church where they believe Christ wants it to go. 

The Masses vs The Margins

These differences in vision logically breed separate philosophies of worship. The senior pastors are called to the masses – to “cast as wide a net as possible.” The ethic here is to format a worship service that has the absolute broadest appeal and “offers something for everyone.” It’s not a bad philosophy and many churches are successful using it.

My calling on the other hand is to create new, innovative and different forms of worship. Rather than appeal to the masses, my goal is to reach out to the margins – the people no one else is reaching. If you want to reach the people no one else is reaching you need to do what no one else is doing.

A call to the masses vs a call to the margins – one does what is most popular, one does what is least popular. One seeks to follow in what is tried and proven while the other seeks to lead into uncharted territory. The world needs both kinds of churches.

The Next Step

I really don’t have any plans at this point. God told me to resign and I followed in obedience without knowing what the path would look like. Sarah and I have discussed other churches in town we’d like to visit in order to find one where we could serve Christ wholeheartedly. I’ll be posting later on the process of finding a church.

For now my hope is for the full success of Chase Valley. The Senior Pastors have assured me of their confidence in their vision – that they fully and confidently believe the church will make a turn to become a growing chruch again.

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41 Responses to “Leaving Chase Valley Church”


  1. 1 brunettekoala December 14, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Whoa. I’m pretty sure this was a huge and difficult decision to make. Praying you and the girls are carried through the transition and find a community that shares your vision that God can use your gifts in.

  2. 2 Jeff M. Miller December 14, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Billy, wow. We’ll certainly be praying for not only you and your family, but Chase Valley as well. I’ve been in a similar situation, and so I know a little better how to pray. Contact me if I can possibly help out in some other way.

  3. 3 Ben Dubow December 14, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    I will be praying with you! Gutsy decision and one I respect!

  4. 4 Jon Lloyd December 14, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    I’ve been where you are at. I know how you feel. You are in my prayers.

  5. 5 Fred F. McKinnon December 14, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Billy,
    Whoa man … well, I have been there, and God always honors it when we walk with integrity, obey him, and do what He says. Good for you to stand up for what you know God has called you to do.

    I guarantee it’s a different flavor, but checkout my friend Rusty’s church, “The Rock” … it’s right there in H’Ville, and we’ve got some great friends there!

    FM

  6. 6 Dean Lusk December 14, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Billy,

    I’m sad for the circumstances, but proud of you as a brother. Lots of prayers here will continue.

    I second Fred’s recommendation of The Rock. Don’t know Rusty, but know several others in the leadership there and value them and hugely respect their walk with Christ. Their vision *may* not be too different from yours.

    Love ya, man. Tell your wife I’m praying for her, too (the whole family is included).

  7. 7 brent(inWorship) December 14, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Billy, this is incredible. I will be praying for you on this journey. Thank you for being an amazing example for all of us that have watched you on this journey.

  8. 8 Rick December 14, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    It’s tough to be onstage, either as a worship leader or as a musician, when what your calling is not that of the church. I’ve been there. My prayer is that you’ll find a place where your calling and talents are utilized to their fullest.

  9. 9 Tyler December 14, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    I commend you for the way you are doing all this. It could be very different but you aren’t letting it go there. God bless.

  10. 10 janowen December 14, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Hi Billy, I’m praying for you. I’m glad you’re keeping it above board.

    You know we’re in transition but we’d love to have you visit The Brook. Hopefully our transition period is almost over as well. The next two weeks are different but we should really be back in the swing of things by Jan. 11th. Although we are in transition I feel like we’re in a good place – good people, good hearts, and a vision and potential that really excites me! I believe in what God has called the Brook to do and be – a place with a heart for the unchurched, the de-churched, the broken and the hurting. If there is one thing I could say about The Brook it is that we are real. No pretense, no masks – we’ve been broken and we know it and we’re learning from it and growing through it. I can honestly say that being broken is not the worst thing that can happen – perhaps it is the best thing!!!! So, if you’d like to come hang out and heal and worship, we’d love to have you.

  11. 11 windbag December 14, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Wow, I’m sorry that you’ve had to make the choice you did. I resigned two weeks ago, but we were able to resolve things. It was a misunderstanding, and I was rash. If things were as I thought originally, it wouldn’t have been reconcilable. With some humility and lots of grace, we were able to reconcile.

    It isn’t always the case, and I know that it’s difficult, regardless of how sure you are that you are doing the right thing. I’ll be praying for you, brother.

  12. 12 Brent December 14, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    I have a serious amount of respect for the decision that you made. Not in anger, frustration or finger pointing, but in maturity, realizing that your callings are different and submitting to the leadership of your church.

    No matter, these are hard things to go through. It is heartbreaking to leave the people you have invested in and led.

    You are in my prayers.

  13. 13 Jim Drake December 14, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Billy

    You are in my thoughts and prayers man. Even though we’ve only chatted via blogs– my ear is open if you need to take it outside the state to talk!

    325-573-2631

    Jim

  14. 14 Brad Hafner December 14, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Billy,

    May the Lord bless and keep you, may the Lord make His face to shine upon you, be gracious unto you, may the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

    May His will be done in your life, my friend, and I know He will.

    Brad

  15. 15 dorothy (vicar of vibe) December 14, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    I have been in that exact position myself-difference of vision. And the same difference of vision.
    Tough decision and good call. Always best to follow what God is calling you to.
    Keep posting, post on Sunday Set List as you visit other churches. I would be interested in hearing your ideas of other worship services.
    And I will be praying for you and yours. In fact I just stopped and prayed.
    God will lead you to the correct home again.
    Dorothy
    Another one who’s passion is for the marginalized and disenfranchised skeptics.

  16. 16 Chris Stout December 14, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Hey Billy,

    We’re praying for you and CVC. You probably did the right thing. I know the last couple of years have been a little interesting with the moves but you’ll truly find what you’re looking for. I know it.

  17. 17 HL December 15, 2008 at 7:07 am

    Billy, it’s clear here that you have support from all of us. Don’t know many worship leaders who don’t know what you are feeling 🙂 Much love to you brother.

    HL

  18. 18 TC December 15, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Hello, Billy:
    Greetings to you in His Name. Definitely we missed you :-(. May the peace of God transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. It is your calling, we don’t understand. In the gospel of Matthew 4, Jesus called His first four disciples, how they responded?? “At once” they left whatever they were doing and follow Him. That strikes me hard??
    God bless you and your family, Billy
    In Christ
    TC

  19. 19 Bobby Gilles December 15, 2008 at 7:38 am

    I’m praying for you, brother. I’ve been in this position before too, and I know it’s rough. God will bring you through, though.

  20. 20 Randy Miller December 15, 2008 at 8:00 am

    Obviously, if you look at all the comments on your blog, you’ve got a lot of luvin coming your way. I’m curious and excited to see what God has in store for you. Hang in there!

  21. 21 jordan fowler December 15, 2008 at 8:36 am

    If there are two differing visions, there cannot but be di(two)-vision. Vision is foundational for teamwork. Way to go in following God in obedience both for your sake AND for the Churches health.

    Too bad you are not in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as you could sub in on bass as you wait upon the Lord.

  22. 22 Johnny Sierra December 15, 2008 at 8:38 am

    I will keep you in prayer my friend! This situation is not easy. How long have you been at Chase Valley Church?

  23. 23 Mike December 15, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Billy – wow. I don’t know where to start.

    It’s a courageous descision, to be sure. Not so much courageous in leaving – courageous in following God where He takes you. I went through a similar time several years ago. In that case, the word from the Lord was to stay. I can assure you, leaving would have been the easier course, but it all was for the better.

    Take time, brother, to find peace in where you arrive. God has given you this season to seek… use the time wisely. Even if you find someplace that feels like home right away, visit others to be sure that it’s Him speaking and not you, if you catch my drift.

    You have the number if you need anything…

    M

  24. 24 klampert December 15, 2008 at 9:10 am

    WoW billy…

    like others I have been there before…sometimes you need to move on.

    Its better to follow God and be wrong then not at all.

    Praying for you and get a hold of me if you need anything.

  25. 25 Karen Lund December 15, 2008 at 9:12 am

    First, I want to say “Thank You” for being an awesome leader of worship. Your passion is an example for me every time we are together in worship. Without our current situation at church, I would not have been feeling angry, betrayed, and abandoned again during yesterday’s service. Your words and the lyrics of the songs we offered to Christ lead me through my heart wanting to shut down and close off into a place of worshiping the Lord and looking to Him for healing these feelings as well as a path forward in Chase Valley fellowship. Frankly, the announcement was a shock. It was contrary to all you have shared with me about being called to Chase Valley, about it being your church home. I see a parallel between your words about Barak Obama’s election and how that relates to our church. If we have been called to a church, we have been called, that doesn’t change because things have become uncomfortable. How can you trust God with the presidency and not trust him with the pastors of your church home? They undoubtedly lead us, but we are not asked to blindly follow. If the vision they have cast is a dynamic shift in the vision of our church, shouldn’t we discuss and pray about this openly as the body of Christ? We are blessed to have so many excellent churches in our area. Almost every church you attend will have an excellent message, awesome worship and a congregation of seeking hearts. But this can also be a trap, preventing us from learning the hard fellowship lessons that the Lord has for each of us individually. I respect your Discernment, but somewhere in all of this is a huge mistake, not necessarily yours, but possibly. Thankfully, regardless of where the human error lies, our Lord and Savior will work all of this together for Good. You and “the girls” are loved and will be deeply missed. Thank you for helping me to grow during this season of worshiping together, it will help me weather the storm of your parting. While I have shared some hard questions, they come from a grieving heart, a much softer place than yesterday’s self-defensive place of anger and abandonment. Above all – Agape, dear friend.

  26. 26 Gary Durbin December 15, 2008 at 10:44 am

    I pray that you look back and see amazing things God has done through your obedience. God bless your future ventures.

  27. 27 Russ December 15, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Praying for you in this season of transition!

  28. 28 Louise December 15, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Why are so many of the good, wise decisions so difficult?

  29. 29 Peter Park December 15, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    I’m excited for you man. By obeying God he has something special out there. It’s kind of funny. I kind of think Jesus did a combination of both…reaching out to the masses and margins. At the same time, Jesus could do both. I’m always encouraged by you Billy. Rock on.

  30. 30 Paul J. December 15, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Well done. Praying for you…

  31. 31 Steffanie Oltmans December 15, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    My prayers are with you. I am glad you followed God’s leading and I know you’ll hear His voice concerning your next step.

  32. 32 Billy Chia December 15, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Karen,
    Thank you for your comment. I’m grieved by the the fact that so many were shocked. It was not my choice to leave last Sunday. I wish more would have been communicated. I am very sorry you (and others) were caught off gaurd.

    Everyone,
    Thank you.

  33. 33 alex December 16, 2008 at 1:25 am

    Well Billy, you’ve got a pair. I have no right to, but I commend you. I wrote a whole mess of ranting about how churches blow through staff… I deleted it all – I guess I won’t go there.

    What I will say is that we will be praying for you & Sarah from out here on the west coast.

    I will leave by saying that I’m sure you’re learning as a lot of us are – Christ is the prize. No church, pastor, or vision can take that away.

    My father en law goes to CrossPoint Church in Decatur – from the sound of it they’re doing some out of the box stuff to reach people – might want to check that out. And chat me up if you want an ear.

  34. 34 Zack December 16, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Hey man,

    I had to make a very, very similar decision/transition about a year and half ago.

    It was really rough, but I think you’re right: if you aren’t able to align yourself with the vision of the leadership, you’ll do more harm than good.

    I’m praying God gives you wisdom and peace through this transition, and that He will protect you from making choices in the process that could cause your brothers and sisters to waiver as a side-effect.

  35. 35 Mark December 16, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Billy, I respect you a lot.

    Sounds to me like you need to get with a church planter somewhere.

    Best to you in the next chapter.

  36. 36 mandythompson December 16, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Sad to read. Hard to read. Praying for you and your family. As well as the church body you were a part of.

  37. 37 Dave Anderson December 16, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Wow Billy. Its tough to lay it all out on the line that. And its difficult probably for your church and the people who serve and lead there. But in the end obedience to God’s call ALWAYS comes at a very high price.

    @Alex – Thanks for the plug – your father in law is a cool dude. Love chatting with him.

  38. 38 Paul J. December 16, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    I came back to read the other posts, hoping you were getting lots of encouragement…
    Didn’t expect to read “Well, Billy, you’ve got a pair.”
    LOL

  39. 39 Sandra Christian December 17, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Billy, I don’t know if you remember meeting me, but I am a school teacher, 59 years old. I usually sit with Barbara Pate. We both have enjoyed your music so much, and that is one of the reasons we kept coming back to Chase. I was a charter member of Chase Valley from the very beginning in the store front before we had a building. Our other music groups have been good, and your music was just as unique and wonderful. I also could tell that it was definitely from the “heart.” I don’t know where you are going after this, but just follow your heart and God’s lead. I went to Rwanda in 2006 when I was 56 years old. My relatives and friends kept asking “why” was I going. I couldn’t even explain it myself, but I felt God’s blessing on it, and I will go back again if I get a chance. I admire you so much for stepping out in faith. Please let me know where you go next. (I hope you stay in Huntsville.) There are many good churches which would love to have you. If Barbara and I can help in any way, let us know. We both have felt the spirit of God move many times during your music set. So continue your good work. In Christ, Sandra Christian

  40. 40 Joey December 18, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Though I don’t know you or your situation first hand, my prayers go out to you. I know that it is not easy when change comes. Been there and done that. May the peace of God be with you.

  41. 41 Matt December 19, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Hey Billy…Heather and I will be praying for you guys. Less than a year ago we walked through a similar situation with a church down in Riverside that hurt pretty bad…hang in there you guys!


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