Season 1 / Church & Work: Steve Has a Job in the Ministry - with Steve & Jane Warner

In our second episode with Steve and Jane, we dive a little deeper into their story with Church & Work. Steve explains what it was like to work in the church setting while also grieving his sister's passing, and Jane shares with us what it was like being the "supportive" wife. The situation gets a bit messy, but they loved the people they were working and serving alongside. There is definitely more than meets the eye when it comes to mixing church with work.

Scott deVries

Today I want to talk a little bit about a few of the things that happened in the 2000s that affected you guys and your family quite a bit.

Steve, for you, what were some of the main events, at least some of the main events that happened between 2000 and 2008, that affected you and your family?

Steve Warner

I mean, I think you can look at it two ways. One would be events, but one would be, perhaps, background struggles. You know, we talked about them a little bit about the idea of pressure that builds and stress and not really having a way to deal with things. I think everybody's going to have different ways that they deal with pain or stress or inabilities to deal with things or to cope. For me, probably, I mean, it's no secret because I've shared lots of places, but some pornography issues were rolled along in there at different times.

It's probably something that back then was still being not addressed very well in the church at large. And that never helped people to come to grips with it, right. And so much of a taboo sort of mentality. Combined with, you know, back then there was just this massive sort of purity, culture push and 'Kiss Dating Goodbye' kind of stuff and all that.

In that journey, Jane was not unaware of it, especially as we began to talk about some of that stuff. So, we were aware of that. But, I think Jane mentioned last time about the strong push to be a great example and be up front leading. And that doesn't really allow for much expression of our common brokenness as humans. And I don't think that people that are in ministry positions have any special ability to cope with life any different than anybody else.

Scott deVries

Did you feel a bit like you had to hide or feel pressure to hide these things away as far as possible, both because it was taboo, but also to protect the church in some ways?

Steve Warner

Yeah, I think there's some spoken some unspoken, but kind of inferred. The other thing that I think that sort of meshes with that is that we're kind of afraid some times to share in the middle of our brokenness. There's often a push to wait until we have a "testimony" or "victory report" of how we've overcome this thing. And sadly, that ends up with a lot of closeting going on in all kinds of different ways. And, you know, some experiences that I had with trying to share, I think, didn't really create a place that would lead to open, healthy dialogue; and just so much of a mentality of wanting to get stuff fixed and move on.

Jane Warner

I think you were made to feel like it was a character flaw; it was not...

Steve Warner

God won't really use you if you don't get a handle on this thing.

Jane Warner

Right. And if you're the person who leads you doesn't struggle there, they maybe, I don't know, don't know what to do with you.

Scott deVries

And it's, I guess, one of those sins, quote - unquote, that are much worse than everything else, at least at that time period. Right. Where it wasn't well known at the time, as much. And even the word itself everyone was scared of stuff.

Steve Warner

And there's a lot of fear mongering that happens with it. I mean, I think it was well intentioned in the sense it was trying to get people to, quote - unquote, get past it, but statements like, "God won't be able to use you if you don't get over this" or "your marriage is going to collapse" or all kinds of stuff that just, I think, leads to a lot of shame cycle that happens; where people just learn how to closet this. It's a roller coaster of sort of getting a handle on it and not getting a handle on it or not. And, coupled with that, is a feeling of "I'm a success, I'm a failure; I'm a success, I'm a failure".

Jane Warner

And being a good evangelical boy, you already struggled with shame because of it. And that was emphasized to you when you were a young teen, as well, that it was shameful.

Steve Warner

Yeah, grew up a good church kid, and you don't want to tarnish that image.

Scott deVries

And now that you're part of a church that's growing, that's big, and that God's apparently really using. This pressure continues to build on you, a little bit. Now it's not only personal consequences, or whatever. But it's God's plan in jeopardy, in some ways. Which is quite a burden to bear in some respects.

Steve Warner

And everybody finds ways that they deal with pain or stress, or both, that some could be more outward and perhaps harm other people. Some could be more inward secret, hidden, whatever. We all have our stuff. So that was just to say that there's events, but there's also just dynamics of things that are going on in your life that can play into what you're wrestling with. And can be contributors, maybe, to where things end up blowing up and coming to a head or whatever.

Jane Warner

Right. So...it what was found out. Our senior leader did find out that you had an issue with this; which didn't go really well. And then there were restrictions put on you; which I'm not saying it was right or wrong. And this accountability that was supposed to be there. So you were talking to me some; you were talking to him some. But that kind of rolled out for a few years until something happened when that sort of came back on you; what you had shared was used against you.

Scott deVries

What happened then? (That was a few years later, I'm guessing). What happened and how did that affect both of you?

Steve Warner

Looking back we realized now how closely they were both in time, but also in sort of a connected impact. The one I mentioned was my sister passing away in 2004. Very unexpectedly, she took ill and was dead within 48 hours.

Jane Warner

23 years old.

Steve Warner

23 years old, living on the West Coast, too far from anybody other than my other sister, who was there to be present; very traumatic for our family. I had to jump right in as the oldest sibling to help with logistics. And not only the oldest sibling, but the only one who really had much, sort of, church experience. So my involvement in planning the funeral service was pretty intense. I think that for me, it meant that I didn't have the space to grieve then because I had to kick into strong older brother, strong oldest son, mode. And the reprieve from my church work was very minimal. I think I had two or three days off to deal with all these logistics, the funeral happen on a weekend, and then you're back into it on Monday.

Jane Warner

Well, I think we did actually have a week's holidays already pre booked at that point.

Scott deVries

But still not quite enough time to process everything at this point.

Steve Warner

Anyways. Just looking back and realizing that that's a major life event that if you haven't learned or been given space to really drill into, you're probably going to carry some effect of that more subconsciously than consciously, for sure. But just realizing that, I think back then, generally - in our setting, in our culture - we didn't really know how to deal with grief.

I not sure we still learned very well, but I think that is and again, as I mentioned earlier, is tied with often this sort of constant push to get towards a place of victory and strength and testimony. Grief is too messy, grief is too... 'you haven't got it together yet'. You know, 'why are you such a mess', sort of thing. I think that played in on my psyche, my MO more than I even realized for a long time.

Jane Warner

Because at the time, you seemed to have it together. And I felt like I was falling apart.

Steve Warner

Yeah. The truth is Jane was probably processing way better than I was.

Jane Warner

Every time I would drive, by myself, I would cry. Because at home, the kids are there, at church the people are there, but in a car on my way to work, I could just...and I cried for a year or more - every time I was by myself in the car.

Scott deVries

At that time I church, there had been very few areas of grief, either publicly or privately. So did you feel a little bit alone in your feeling of grief, like you couldn't really share it, or nobody would understand?

Jane Warner

It just wasn't talked about. I mean, I did have a friend that came at least twice, I think, and asked me how I was doing without, if I was okay. And both times I'm, I'm pretty sure I just like fell hard. Because you're so overwhelmed, somebody is acknowledging what has happened, and then it might still be affecting you. And then this was like, there's a missing piece in your life, right? There's nobody gets or they didn't seem to understand that that's a missing piece.

Steve Warner

Now, it would understand that the, the whole that creates actually never goes away, right. And if we could really acknowledge that, then we wouldn't try to pretend that that is gone, healed up fixed. And I think like, there's just the least for me, I would say from the context of the work, the church work, the vocational ministry, there's just so much of a kind of soldier on, you know, we have something to build here. We got people's lives are being impacted, etc, etc. And it just doesn't really allow you the space to really drill in on that and say, what's the effect of this on me. And for me, like getting through the funeral and all the logistics of it, okay, where's my breathing room, actually, just as a big brother to mourn the loss of my baby sister, you know. So you can't... I'm too far past it now, like, time wise to go back and try to unpack all of that. But just looking back and realizing that, yeah, that just didn't probably roll out in the most healthy way.

Jane Warner

So puts more pressure. It's something else added there, like another level of brokenness; another broken part that you don't know what to do.

Steve Warner

Exactly. And then, I mean, a parallel we were talking about things were happening that in those years was we had a friendship with another couple that we had been developing and enjoyed time with them. She was actually on church staff, and in some of her role was doing some administrative support for me.

Jane Warner

And had grown up in the same small town that we did.

Steve Warner

So we knew each other from way back. So clicked on lots of levels as friends, and so on. And, yeah, the whole thing that you mentioned about some sort of restrictive boundaries being put up and, and sort of a being under a close watch. An incident happened, where we were both in the building later at night after a worship team rehearsal, and somebody happened to walk in on that. And we were both working at some cleaning up in my office. And it got reported, right, and blown way out of way out of proportion and context. And again, there was a sort of a sense of a slam down on it, you know, not behaving the way you're supposed to, and, and what's the matter with you, and this sort of feeling anyways, so, and then we had a conversation with the leaders about, you know, their concern that this friendship with this couple was...

Jane Warner

Which actually happened before that.

Scott deVries

Just the relation between the two couples was it?

Jane Warner

Right, so it was sort of, it was, yeah, us with our senior leaders, and they're talking about our relationship with this couple. And we walked away going, I'm not going sure what they're trying to say. It sounds like we shouldn't let it be known at church, that we're close friends because it looks cliquey.

So that was maybe in the fall, his sister died in June. This conversation maybe happened through that summer, I don't know. By the fall, I knew I was not okay with his sister dying. So he reached out to an older gentleman that used to come to the church to talk with the staff and mentor to our senior leader, could we maybe together talk to him. And became apparent that, I don't know how this older gentleman who doesn't even go to our church is not from here would lead the conversation this direction, but I'm saying like, I'm struggling with losing my sister. And like, I met her when she was four. That's how old she was, when I started going to their house. And this was like, I don't know what to do with this pain. And he made basically steered the conversation to, I don't think that's as big a deal as you think. Because she lived in the West and you weren't that close. But there is this situation of these friends in your life where the connection is too much. I think that's what you're really struggling with. And I walked away like, what was that? I don't know what is going on? That is not why I went for help.

Steve Warner

And to point to the irony of that statement, I mean, when Jane and I started dating, that sister was about four years old. So yes, she had been much of a change life as a little sisters and she looked at her like a big sister.

Jane Warner

By the time we got to the next March, Steve and I were having conversations about the relationship already, like, because I start to notice some things, right. So we're in actually fairly intense conversations already, probably the most intense conversations we've had in our whole marriage, which is crazy.

Scott deVries

So what year would that have been?

Jane Warner

2005, in the winter, and then, but looking back, I can see they were our closest friends. So they were the ones who were kind of walking through this with us. So and he's not really been able to grief his sister doesn't want to what to do with that is another brokenness. And yeah, she's offering to help them clean his office. So she goes to the office and cleaning the office. And all of this starts to blow up. But because the senior leader...See, that's another whole thing is...to be, as a wife, to be set apart from the whole conversation, like, because Steve and I, this is the main relationship, not him, and the senior leader, okay. He doesn't actually have to tell that senior leader everything that goes on in his life. We're having conversation, it's out in the open, it's not hidden. But when the senior leader finds out, then all of a sudden, it's this accusation of hiding, and all of this stuff without ever, you know, having a conversation with me about it.

Scott deVries

So at the time then, and I mean, you might not have been able to assign meaning to it, then. But now, which seems like it's an obvious case of protecting the institution over the health of its people, in many ways, right? Where you have an individual in the church that potentially can threaten the integrity of the institution, and therefore, we must do whatever we can to stop that from happening. And so at the time, you probably didn't understand that.

Jane Warner

This was the time when we probably should have left because after that whole situation was done. It was like, This is not necessarily safe place, because what happened through that was, and yeah, did in talking to the senior leader did, Steve acknowledge to him that, yeah, there was probably some emotional attachment there. Clearly, we're in a mess. Right. So emotional attachment. Yes. I'm emotionally attached as well, because we're grasping, right, so how that was handled was all the worship leaders were called into a room, I was there, and it was announced that there had been an unhealthy relationship. I can't remember how it was said.

Steve Warner

It wasn't just the worship leaders. It was a broader team than just the worship leaders.

Jane Warner

Okay a broader team. Because you're, you're in a little bit of fuzz, your head is a little bit of fuzz at that point. So you don't really pay attention to how it's announced; except that our son, I don't know how old he was, at that point. He came away for years, thinking it was a physical relationship. So like, I don't know how these things get out there. But anyway, so that had happened. And Steve was taken off the Sunday morning stage for three weeks.

Steve Warner

And talking to a counsellor now, she would say that's total shame management. That's how you're trying to direct your people.

Jane Warner

You're being slapped. So there was no pressure taken off. We went home and tried to figure stuff out, you know, on our own, we did the best we could. But I mean, we weren't equipped. And we were already not as emotionally attached with each other as we should have been, because of stuff way back in history. So none of these things are helping us. Right.

Scott deVries

So you mentioned that that would have been the time to quit, why didn't you? Why didn't you quit?

Jane Warner

Well, also, through that time, I mean, things are written on paper, because he needs to know how serious this is. And there's a lot of things right now, paper that we didn't even agree with. But he signed because you're scared. Your senior leader and an elder sits down with you and tells you you need to sign it.

Steve Warner

And on paper thing is an interesting thing. Because what you are sharing about personal struggles, you think you are sharing in the context of a relationship with a pastor with a leader. And then when it is not transferred over and ends up on an HR report. Basically, what you've just done is undermined the confidential communication that should just happen as man to man, or, you know, to a leader or someone like that in your life, when you make that now become a corporate piece, however intentioned or guided, or misguided it may have been, the net effect is that you just have said that you actually can't share your life in confidence because it's going to end up over here in a permanent paper document that people signatures are on. And of course, in future, can be used against you when when needed. So I think that really, you know, gets messy and we start throwing around this whole mix of corporate and cause and community and it I just think it gets counterproductive.

Scott deVries

Yeah, this was probably the first time when you felt like, all of a sudden, you couldn't trust the institution, like in a in a tangible way, where all of a sudden, oh, the, you know, what we say, or who we are the institution doesn't really like, or they have power over us. This might have been your first top change, it kind of experienced that firsthand?

Steve Warner

Yeah, not not trust, not trust unconditionally, like, you want to trust. But then there's other ways it's being walked out that is actually undermining that trust. So the net result is, yeah, whether you realize it consciously or subconsciously, that trust factor is has just taken a big hit.

Jane Warner

And I think you still, I mean, we talked which we had been, and you still share stuff with me but the push and I would push you to say, Did you say something to senior leader wasn't because he had something to offer to help you. It was because it was if you don't tell him he's going to say at some point that you're hiding. He's like he's in a need to know situation. Otherwise, it's not going to go good. It wasn't out of a, this person can probably help you, like, you know, confide. It was it was a different motive at that point.

Steve Warner

It's not this is the safest place to go. You better cover yourself here, so you don't get in trouble later. And, and all that just totally works against being open; really acknowledging your brokenness and really reinforces, I think how shame retreats into corners, and, you know, hiding parts of yourself keeping the best parts of yourself forward.

Jane Warner

Because you had some good shiny parts that were out there, like you're an amazing musician, you're creative, you're talented. So you know what, we just got to keep those other ones that don't look so good, kind of keep them little bit hidden, and controlled and managed.

Scott deVries

So felt a bit, like celebrity culture in some ways, where you know, you were, you are managed by a team, because some of your gifts that you had were really valuable to the church institution. But then the other few negative parts it was, let's either get rid of this or hide it as much as possible, and maybe perhaps hoping that, you know, the less the church knows, the less they have to worry about.

Steve Warner

And there's big statements that are made that that may have a sliver of truth them, but I'm not so sure they're as big a deal as we think. And they end up really affecting your mentality and the way you live life and a big one for me, is the state it gets tossed around, you know, your gifts will only carry you as far as your character can sustain you. And I understand kind of the intent of the statement. But the flip side of it, the underbelly, of that statement is basically saying, the more you can get it together, the better God will really use you. If you have broken pieces, and if you have things you still wrestle with your gift is in jeopardy, the longevity of your gift and your contribution to the world, to the church or whatever context is in jeopardy because you haven't got your shit together.

Scott deVries

Yeah, exactly. That it feels like at the time too, compounded by that is, this is a theology of, you know, as you mentioned before, victory. And, you know, if you're doing well in life, it's because God's blessing you and if you're doing well, that means you've got things together. And so there's this ability to try to either hide or put on a face of how things are going to show that you're following along with the program. Do you feel a little bit like that at the time? You know, at that point, you have a growing family, you know, you're on the front row at church and there's this feeling of I need to look the part and look the way...look a certain way so that people see that we've still got it together. Did you feel that pressure at all? Or was it

Jane Warner

Totally. You show up on time? Yeah, you're there for everything

Steve Warner

You guys were in the front row, staff were in the front row.

Jane Warner

Like it wasn't just a feeling. There were some conversations. Again we may be taking more impact from it. And then the person saying it right, I'm saying this is arts from our perspective, these are the things that impacted us. So yes, you want to believe it was our van was not a nice place to be unnecessarily heading to church on Sunday morning with for getting for kids out the door and time to get there. Get everybody's boots off, coats off and get to the front row before church started.

Steve Warner

Not to mention that van never included me.

Jane Warner

No, never.

Steve Warner

I was already there earlier. So this is just Jane dealing with four young kids. Trying to get them all corraled in.

Jane Warner

Thankfully, there was one beautiful, gentleman who would meet us in the hallway most Sundays and help me get the boots off and the shoes off and the coats off and hang them up.

There's church. That was church right there. I could have just gone home after that, because... someone cared.

Ariana deVries

...someone cared.

Steve Warner

And I think the other part of it that really plays in is the fact that's kind of a sort of every day how you're behaving, so to speak, as a family at church. But there is, like, there's a parallel theological side where if we feel that God turns his face away when we mess up, like, if he's offended by sin, and can't look anymore. Well, then it's almost like he sits in this revolving chair and every time I kind of mess up he turns his face away his blessing is off me, his favour is off me, but when I get back together again, and you know clean living kind of thing, then now he's looking at me with favour again, and we're going to be good. It just creates, it's almost like a bipolar Christianity; where you have this I'm in, I'm out, I'm in, I'm out. I just don't see it like that anymore. Like, God is just constantly looking on me, mess and all, all the time and smiles; and I think if we could help people to live in that security of that love, it would be a massive difference on how we feel as as a human.

Jane Warner

I feel like that game. I don't know if it's groundhogs where the animal pops up over the ground. you have the big hammer and hit them. What is it?

Ariana deVries

Whack a mole?

Jane Warner

That's what, when I look back, that's, you know, you do you go. But when one of those issues pops up, it's like, Wham with a mallet bang that one back down. Keep it all, you know, managed.

Steve Warner

You either do it to yourself, or it's done to you. But that's the mentality is you got to keep that stuff stuff down. Because

Jane Warner

it's more important.

Again, it's it's not about how are you doing right, as a person, it's about what is this looking like houses affecting what you do? How is this affecting other people? So the need to share with the whole worship team that there I don't even can't remember what was said, like, What was the need to do that there was really no need to do that. Except that people needed to know that this was not okay. Right. So you're the example public public punishment. Yes.

Scott deVries

So protect the institution, because God's plan is paramount

Jane Warner

anyways, yeah, and maybe from their perspective, they want to be this transparent place. But I think the, the, what transparency is, means different things to different people. But I think that was maybe their way of saying that they were transparent.

Scott deVries

There's a couple of things. I mean, we started coming in 2005, just after that. And shortly after, the church - it stopped growing meaningfully. It seemed like at the time, you know, we plateaued at s certain amount of people and a certain amount of stuff. I'm interested to see how the next few years impacted you guys a little bit. There was more and more stuff happening at church. But there became an increasingly revolving door of staff up and going. Did that affect you in any way?

Steve Warner

It could, again, some conscious and some subconscious, because I think the subconscious side would be...just again, like, you kind of need to make sure that you keep yourself together and don't get off the tracks here, because you are going to end up in a situation where you are gone or leaving, or, you know, don't face it. The other thing that we've talked a lot about is just this dynamic of when people do go that you develop a very handy little box in the corner called the I don't know, box, and it's basically I don't know what really happened with that person. And I don't really want to follow them and find out what really happened because then I'm gonna have to face that if they are questions that I don't really want to delve into. I'm in a bit of a pickle now. So it's better just to leave it alone, let that person drift off into the sunset and not actually follow them. You know, which sad, I mean, I look back on that sadly, and think, boy, it's not really walking out relationship. Like we say, we should, when we do that with people, because it's, you matter as long as you're here and contributing. But once you're gone, then we're just going to let you drift off and find your own way.

Jane Warner

And then sometimes, more so than not, a story was presented as to what happened. And you heard one side of the story.

Steve Warner

Yeah, and that's another thing you put in that, I don't know box. Ok, guess I better just go with that.

Scott deVries

Because you'd already experienced that your story got taken a bit out of context, and things that have happened to you, or display in a way that weren't quite accurate. And so that probably, I mean, maybe subconsciously, you kind of felt the same way about other people's stories that at the time, at least.

Steve Warner

And when those, like, as Jane said, you tend to hear a certain presented side of the story and interesting common denominators, those stories, the way they're presented, it's typically what is going to make the institution left the best, right, like, they handled that really, really well. And the other person kind of blew up and was off the rails and stuff. And that all that stuff just serves to make sure that you very carefully manage yourself. Yeah, and, you know, just keep plowing forward soldier on total line. And I don't think it's healthy on so many levels of true team to community for you personally, for obviously, marriage and family can take a hit on that, too. So.

Scott deVries

I'm fascinated by growing up. There's a lot of war and soldier imagery in some either some of the songs we sang in evangelical circles. And it feels like in many ways, your story is a reflection of health far left to go where, you know, we're in a war, you know, our institution is what we are protecting, and if there are a few casualties along the way, and that's just how it is, which I find is an interesting way of looking at what God's doing. I'm not sure if it's totally accurate, especially years later.

Steve Warner

It's like we say things for the sake of the people, but then it's actual people that get hurt or run over sidelined. And so if people don't, kind of nebulous term but without actually looking at the real people. I read a quote the other day that said, "It's hard to hate the one whose eyes you look into". And it's this idea, if you're right up close with somebody and understand them as a person, it's hard to hate, but when we push them away and make them a "they", then it's easy to to write them off, and to reduce them to just a commodity that's gone now.

Scott deVries

Yeah, so there's one other event that I wanted to just touch on. You were, obviously, the worship leader at church for many years. And you were involved in events, especially later on, bigger events are starting to do more conference type of stuff we did you know, Christmas shows, things like that. But remind me what year this was. But you were essentially asked to become the pastor of the church in a different city, kind of a satellite plant for the church. Where now how, how did that come about? And why Why did you do that? Why did you take the job? Why did you move to try something new?

Steve Warner

There's lots of pieces that story. For sure the beginnings of it, I think, were that the gentleman who had launched congregation ended up taking on a staff role at our church. And now that left that other congregation without a sort of a consistent pastor.

And so there was a bit of a revolving door idea, they would call it that enemies now, but just, you know, sending different staff to look after it in the first year of involvement there, one of the big things we could help them with was just with their music and worship team. So we were sending some people from our team every Sunday over there, and I was one of those people, I would go once a month to help myself as well. And I think Jane came sometimes in that. And, you know, in that in that year's time, we began to connect with more people there were really enjoying the setting, it was obviously a much smaller town in the city that we're currently in. And for Jane I, growing up in the Old Town area, that kind of setting was not unfamiliar to us very similar kinds of feel and vibe as a city.

So it wasn't, it didn't feel foreign to us. So there was a, there was a lot of things that kind of clicked, you know, in that and I think on the leadership side, they are realizing that this sort of revolving door idea of different people every week to lead the services was not providing the people a sense of continuity and care. So they were realizing that perhaps one person that would be anchored, there would be a better idea. So we were invited to a conversation in the late in the year 2013 and were presented with this idea, and it clicked, especially for me, because I think I was feeling a good sense of sort of camaraderie with what was happening over there. Jane wasn't opposed to it. It was just a bigger shift for her because we still had some kids that were at home and attending and for them if they're going to go with us then that's that's quite a bit bigger.

Scott deVries

You're kind of planting yourself in a different space.

Jane Warner

So I thought we were in trouble; that's what the breakfast meeting was about. I was sure of it; we'd done something. And I think; what's that?

Steve Warner

Which we weren't.

Jane Warner

We weren't, no. But when they asked Steve about doing that, like, you started to cry, and I don't know how many times I've seen you cry; not very many times. But, and I think part of it was that you were really excited about doing it and part of it was I think that you felt that you'd made the hurdle and they trusted you again. Right i think that and that's just my perspective but and I it to me it was totally out of left field I was not I mean I liked going to Woodstock enjoyed the people there but doing that shift

I didn't have my head around that. And yes, we had two girls still at home who were kind of coming to church. In the end it turned out to be great. The one daughter, because of work and stuff, stopped coming. But our youngest one did come and got very involved. But that, that to me, I don't know.

Because it was a response like I hadn't seen before. And they felt that God told them that we were to go.

Scott deVries

So you can't really turn it down.

Jane Warner

I mean, we could have but I needed to be on board. Like I was the determining factor because he, obviously, was all for it.

Steve Warner

For later reference, for us to go over there, Jane really needed to be on board.

Scott deVries

It feels like it was similar to when Steve was first asked to be on staff.

Jane Warner

And when we went to meet with the leadership team over there. Some of the people specifically asked me where I was at. I was like, Well, yeah, I'm okay. I kind of gave a maybe a bit of a nebulous answer. And then our senior leader jumped in and said that you know, Jane has always supported Steve and whatever, you know, he's been doing. I was like; Okay. Like I'm not getting all the politicking that's going on. Right. These people needed to know I was on board. And I was, but I just things were a little bit out of context. For me.

Exactly. I don't know what the ramifications of that are. I tend not to be somebody that speaks more than what I'm feeling or knowing.

Scott deVries

So people are expecting an answer or some process from you that you don't understand what they're wanting.

Jane Warner

Right, or what they're needing or what they mean. But it definitely, I knew that this wasn't a job shift for my husband, this was a full on it had to happen together; which is good in the sense that they want us to be together on it, in agreement, because it ends up being like your whole life. So they get that part that it's not just the job, right. Which senior leader will say many times, it's not just a job. Well, okay, I get that now. But yeah, that can come up a little bit that will make sense later on, too.

Steve Warner

So it all started and happened quite quickly. In terms of the shift there it literally happened in about a month's time. Some major pieces that had to fall in place for that to happen.

Ariana deVries

I remember being surprised.

Steve Warner

Yeah, it was very quick. Some roles that I was carrying at the main campus were able to be reassigned and realigned to to others or new staff within the church and the school, which I was definitely been teaching it for a few years. So yeah, that all came to be a quick quickly and first Sunday in January of 2014, we were already there on the ground, so to speak, and yeah, it was a brand new adventure. I mean, I think for sure, a positive for us was it was a chance to sort of take a new trajectory for us spread our wings a little bit stretching to some new leadership, because you're now responsible for this whole campus, this group of people and try to bring lots of fresh ideas. And there were many that we developed with them there that were new and interesting, and sometimes messy, but we were quite okay with messy. Yeah. Which suited there because it was messy.

And yeah, we developed great relationships with lots of people there in that context. And, you know, saw a lot of great things happen. It certainly was a new dynamic of time in terms of just the load idea.

Scott deVries

So was there a lot more expected of you than previously?

Steve Warner

Well, yes. And I knew it myself, I expected on myself, because, yeah, now I am responsible for this congregation. And we did some logistical thing to try to help with that. But the reality was, it wasn't a full on removal from my roles at the main campus, right. I was still in the main campus office two days a week in a lot of meetings with other staff, one on one planning things, the new worship pastor at the main campus was under my oversight. And I was working at kind of getting him up to speed with what he needed to do and know to do his job there. So it was a big, I was honestly like, a foot in two different circles. And there can be a little bit of tension with that, because you feel some big responsibilities back at the home campus, but also things you want to see them grow and be healthy and develop new ideas. And actually the same old, same old at the new campus; the satellite campus. And so yeah, there's definitely there was a lot of tension, I think, even more than I realized at the time.

Scott deVries

So at the time, it felt like you were stepping into a new adventure without realizing perhaps how chained you were to the last few years.

Steve Warner

Well, maybe not realizing the scope of what it really meant. And I don't think that we can always calculate everything perfectly where we're heading into, but just looking back recognizing a dynamic of maybe still carrying so much in the old campus at the same time as the new one wasn't the most healthy thing, I don't know. Hindsight is 20/20, but definitely recognized and Jane would concur. The just the amount of pressure. And that didn't, that didn't shift fast. I mean, those logistical pieces happen quickly. But the ongoing still two days a week at the old campus, the main campus, you know, a day a week in the office, at the new campus, a day that I would try to work from home for administration stuff, and then you're back and forth both locations for for meetings and services and special meetings and events. And it's a lot.

Scott deVries

Yeah, so it felt like the pressure built a bit more than you were expecting, but you weren't aware of that at the time.

Jane Warner

No, I think we...I was aware. Well, how long...we were there, two and a half years. Okay. So I was really sort of emphasizing more on the love the sort of thing. So like, the other church was a messier congregation, in a sense, but it didn't bother us. Like...

Scott deVries

Maybe it was refreshing in a way.

Jane Warner

We didn't have this need, that people needed to be at a certain level to be able to do or server or help in the youth. Like, there was one couple that were so excited; young couple, and they wanted to help in youth and, you know, they were living together. And so we had this conversation between us like, like, is that okay, is that I should I, you know, should he called them in and have a conversation with, I know, you can't do that, I mean, as telling them, I need to do something isn't going to get that's just that's not right. But all these like conversations which we would never had at the main campus, somehow, it just felt a little more leeway. There was an emphasis on the love not as much on the performance or the perfection or the, you know, some of those other things.

Steve Warner

Well, there's that 3B model that, you and I have talked about, Scott, the Believe, Behaved, Belong, and somebody was telling that to me recently and it really resonated. It's just the idea that if you believe kind of the right things, and if you behave the way they need to, then you get to belong, as opposed to the more of an open, inclusive wide arms, embracing with love.

Jane Warner

So I think that's what we were expressing more of that, definitely. Let's start with belong and go from there and see what happens.

Scott deVries

So it sounded like you were confronted with new ways of how this could work without really knowing anything.

Jane Warner

Without ever thinking about it.

Steve Warner

In a way we sort of had to, because the context was just messier, and I don't think we were going with the objective of trying to clean it all up. Yeah, I think we're trying to make sure that we were loving people.

Jane Warner

Going with the objective of community. Yeah.

Steve Warner

And you're also not starting from scratch, you know, we were inheriting a congregation that was six or seven years old.

Jane Warner

Although we did go expecting probably more help than we got from the main campus.

Steve Warner

Yeah, and I think we all everybody involved went into it a little bit naive and probably should have a little bit more of that nailed down ahead of time. When it did become apparent that there were some areas that needed to be shored up, I think that we didn't, we weren't getting the support that we probably should have been getting in various areas; and ended up having to sort of kickstart some things. But I think if if he were taking a stronger vision towards a solid campus to be able to work a lot harder to resource. Now, looking back in hindsight, that makes a bit more sense, because I think there was a bit too much of an experimental attitude towards the current nation. It wasn't a full on buy in. we went in, and we may have to unpack this another time. But we went into it with the understanding that this was an adopted congregation.

And I'll just be frank and draw the parallel that when you adopt a child into your family they become as one of your blood kids; they take on your last name. And you know, in time the congregation there was changed, the name was changed to the same name as the as the main campus. But when you bring a challenge your family, you don't get rid of them. When things become too messy or too expensive.

If you have a foster child, and their problematical, you can send them back to Family Services. But a truly adopted child is supposed to be there for life. So we went into it with the understanding that was an adopted carnation. But looking back just realizing that there was maybe a bit more of a experimental we'll see how it goes, see if this works out long term mentality I've gotten maybe didn't know that can put our heart into the same way. If it was experimental. We didn't view it that way we were in for as long as it took. We had no exit plan, no timeline that we were going to be gone in five years or 10 years or anything. That was our mentality. I see now that it wasn't the overarching mentality and that changed things later. And so anyway, so basically, that roll along for about two and a half years and we did a lot of stuff, a lot of new initiatives, a lot of community connecting some really cool things that harness the fact it was a beautiful old building but yeah, two and half years and then it all hit the fan.