New Life Interns,

Welcome home! I had a chance to catch up with Pastor Brice about some of the experiences you had in LA at the Dream Center today, and it’s sounds like you did a lot of work and had a lot of fun. I’m really glad that you were able to have that experience and grateful that you represented Jesus and New Life as well as you did.

I am sorry that your trip was impacted at the end by news that must have been very hard to hear. I know it was for me.  I also know that Brice spent some time processing this information with you and that you were able to process it with one another as well. Now that you are home, you might be wondering what to do with this information.  Two of the most important disciplines to cultivate in ministry, and two of the most difficult, are discretion and restraint when it comes to our speech. Discretion has to do with the question of, “With whom should I speak about this?” and restraint has to do with, “What should I say?”. In other words, just because I have something I can say doesn’t mean that I should. I first have to answer the questions, “Is this person best served by me sharing this information?” and “Is Jesus best served by me sharing this information?”

Sadly, usually the person best served by the sharing of information is the person who is sharing it, not the person who is hearing it. I like to be “in the know” and I like to be the one people turn to for answers to their questions. It makes me feel important. So I am tempted to share what I know, not because it will help the listener, but because it will, momentarily, make me feel good. It’s something we all have to wrestle with.  Here is what I would like to ask of you as you process what you have heard.

1. Please do not process any of this information with students. We have communicated with the parents, both in person and via email, so that they can share whatever information they feel is appropriate with their own children. If you know Alive students whose parents don’t attend here and have not received an email, please refer them to Courtney, Rachel, Kaden or Charlie.  They’ve been coached on how to best care for kids. If we can funnel curious students to a select few people, we can assure that accurate information is being shared AND that students are being well pastored in the process.

2. If it would be helpful to process how you are feeling as you walk through this, please reach out to Brice, Wendy, Mikayla, Susan or myself. We would be privileged to walk through this with you.  Feelings will fluctuate over the next couple weeks. Be ready for it and know that it is OK.  Please make sure that the conversations you have with other interns are honest and redemptive in nature. Talk about yourself and how you are doing, and ask the same of someone else. To talk about anyone else who is not present is gossip, and gossip is sinful. We don’t want to make a painful situation worse by compromising our own character as we walk through it. You may think it odd not to talk about the people who are involved. It will feel odd. But that is because the world operates that way. We are citizens of a different kingdom. A kingdom where Jesus has said, “My people don’t gossip”. Let’s keep intern conversations with the interns.

3. I am sending you a copy of the letter that I am sending out to parents. I thought it would be helpful for you to know how we are sharing this information with the people who need to know. As you read it, please pay attention to the tone as much as the content. Notice the names that are included, and the names that are not. In those rare instances where you are in a conversation that turns to this topic, this will be a good guide for you as you share information or correct an incorrect narrative.  Our goal is to be a restorative community of love, hope, healing and restoration. At times we have to expose sin, but we cover people. You will find nothing in this email that says how “Tessa” or “Pastor Jim” or anyone else is doing. It’s not our place to speak for other people. We afford them the privacy we would hope for in similar situations.  They are the curators, and the communicators, of their own stories.  Thank you for leaving that to them.

If you have any questions or if you need help processing, please do reach out. I know this is a painful time. I also know that Jesus will draw something good out of it. He can’t do anything else. It’s His nature.

Thanks for loving Jesus and each other well. I’m glad to be on this journey with you.

Pastor Jon