Big News for the Conley Family

November 8, 2007

Family, Kenny, Ministry, Sara

pinkslip.jpgMany of the Conley family and friends know the news by now, but if you don’t… here’s the scoop! As you know I have been the Children’s Pastor at Cross Timbers Church for the last 2 years. Initially we moved to Keller, Texas to be the Children’s Pastor at Anchor Church which merged into Cross Timbers after a little over a year. I was quickly promoted to the larger campus in Argyle, TX where I set to work on fixing a disjointed children’s ministry that needed a lot of attention as well as overseeing the hiring of a Keller campus Children’s Pastor (to replace me) and a Denton Children’s Pastor (a campus to open later). It’s been a very busy and productive time. This last year especially has been very difficult as I’ve been a part of a multi-site church that is still formulating how exactly it wants to “do” multi-site (currently there are many different strategies). What this has meant for me is transition and changes in responsibility.

This last year was a very productive year for the Children’s Ministry at Cross Timbers. I led the charge in a total re-branding of the Children’s Ministry from TimberLand to CT Kids. I made some strategic changes in staff, developed a Small Group ministry for elementary aged students (which has grown 40% every semester for 3 semesters), revamped the Nursery ministry, resurrected a Vacation Bible School program (we had 900 kids participate which was triple the size of the last one), created a mission outreach for 4th and 5th graders (took 20 kids and 20 adults to Mexico for 4 days), improved a self-run summer camp for 3rd-5th graders (we took almost double the kids we took the year before) and brought a 140 child weekday preschool under the leadership of the children’s ministry. In addition to all of this, I brought Sara on staff with me (part time as a volunteer coordinator) and we had a baby in the summer. Did I mention it was a busy year too?

For the past three years Cross Timbers has been on the “Top 100 Fastest Growing Churches” list and this last year was no exception (2005, 2006, 2007). However, with this year’s attendance growth, giving did not keep up. Leadership made budget projections for 2007 and so far Cross Timbers has failed to meet these projections on a weekly giving basis. Although we recently raised over 2 million dollars for a special offering (these are restricted funds that cannot be used for general budget needs), giving has been significantly down.

That’s where we come in. This Monday, Cross Timbers’ Leadership was forced with the unpleasant decision to make staff layoffs… 16 to be exact. In addition, key leadership took pay cuts as well. Sara and I were fortunate enough to be on this list. Yeah, our world got rocked this Monday! You can read the official news from Cross Timbers Here.

At about 10:00 AM on Monday I got an all staff email requesting all staff to attend an urgent staff meeting. I remember thinking to myself… this can’t be good. Just a minute later, I got an email invite for Sara and I to attend a meeting with the leadership team. My heart sank… it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what was happening.

I went home, prepped Sara for what was coming and we came back for our meeting. This had to be a horrible day for the leadership team. We met for about 20 minutes and thanked them for the opportunity to serve at Cross Timbers. They were generous to give us severance until the end of the year which helps us out tremendously.

Once we walked out of Cross Timbers, the weight of responsibility was lifted from my shoulders. It felt very freeing. However, I was immediately saddled with the pressure of finding a new job in order to provide for my family… I don’t know which is heavier!

You may be asking, “Well how are you guys?”

Actually, we’re surprisingly good. The funny thing is that we’re kind of excited. About 6 weeks ago we decided that we were going to put our house on the market… so we were already headed toward getting the house ready. We’ve seen God work in amazing ways has he has prepared us for what was next. I don’t doubt for one minute that God is already working behind the scenes to place us exactly where he wants us. Although losing my job could be a “drop-kick” to the pride, I feel more secure in my calling than I ever have. Just before I walked out of Cross Timbers on Monday, I check my mailbox one last time. In it was a hand-made letter from an elementary aged girl. Click here to see it.

Isn’t it amazing how God can speak to us through so many different ways? In this case, he spoke to me through the creation of a little girl. God was telling me in the midst of a crisis or the worst day possible that I was making a difference doing exactly what he’s called me to do. What a beautiful and gentle reminder of his presence and plan.

So, that’s our big news this week. I’ll definitely keep everyone posted with current news.

Thanks for your prayers!


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9 Responses to “Big News for the Conley Family”

  1. JohnnyE! Says:

    Kenny, I am sorry to hear about the job man. It really doesn’t make sense, but then again, God doesn’t always make sense to us. If there is anything Belena and I can do for you and Sara, let us know. We are praying for you.


  2. Josh Suiter Says:

    Hey man,

    I hate to hear this. But God doesn’t waste talent and I have seen your ministry with my own eyes when you were at Graceland. Hang in there. God will provide.

    We are praying for you!

    Josh and Lizzie Suiter


  3. vjameson Says:

    I’m really sorry to hear about the job. I know God has a perfect plan for you, Sara and Titus. You are an awesome Children’s Pastor. I know you won’t let Satan get you down.

    Still love you guys.
    from good ole Indiana, Valerie Jameson


  4. Nene Says:

    Hey guys! This is just one more step in the path of your life, according to God’s plan for you! It’s an awesome plan! Just keep trusting and believing. . .you’re in His Grip! Love you all, Nene


  5. Rose Says:

    Kenny and Sara,
    What a year, huh? I know God has BIG plans for you. You are an awesome couple with hearts as big as Texas. Trey and Denver love seeing pictures of Titus online. You hold a very special place in all the Condra hearts. We’ll be praying for you. Love and hugs, Rose


  6. mcox Says:

    Kenny and Sara…
    Just had a moment to catch up on everyone’s news. Joel and Heidi’s Blogs as well. My heart aches for you guys as you get ready to go through the craziness of packing, moving, etc. But I rejoice with you, knowing how sovereign our Lord is and the provisions he has already made for you guys. Let us know where you guys land. Hugs and Kisses from the Cox clan… soon to be family of six!
    In Christ,
    Melissa Cox


  7. Karen Says:

    Psalm 121

    1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
    where does my help come from?
    2 My help comes from the LORD,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
    3 He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
    4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
    5 The LORD watches over you—
    the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
    6 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
    7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
    8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

    I’m sure he’s watching over your coming and going even in a state a big as Texas. We love you all.


  8. Shawn Acrey Says:

    There are a lot of things I could say, but I won’t. I am so sorry. This just means you’re coming to the Boro to be the children’s pastor here with me!!!!!!!!!

    We could really rock this town (we need one anyway!)!!!

    I love you bro and will be praying for the Conley family!!!


  9. avandekieft Says:

    Kenny, Sara and Titus — forgive us, we have not been keeping up with your blog since before Thanksgiving and we only found out this past weekend that you and Sara were not at CTCC anymore. We are so disappointed, but like the other comments here, we know that God has great plans for you. We will miss you immensely — Zoe loves, loves, loves Pastor Kenny. Whether you knew it or not, she accepted Christ under your leadership!! So we thank you, more than you’ll ever know, for the role you played in our daughter’s life!

    We love you guys and will pray for you to find exactly the right opportunity to be used by the Lord!

    Steve & Allison Vande Kieft


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