A Message From Pastor Thomas

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It has always been my goal to be authentic and honest in the way I have pastored this church over the last six years. Most of my sermons highlight personal stories and are full of my own shortcomings. Today I need to share some personal news with you that is very hard for me to share.

If you have been at The Journey any amount of time, you have heard me speak about the pivotal role my father has played in my walk with God. His decision to follow Jesus and the radical transformation that followed changed the life course of our family. It played a significant role in shaping the man I am today. Over the past several months my father has had several new health challenges arise in his life. In addition to many physical ailments, he is in the early stages of dementia. As you might imagine, this is a tough transition for my mother. She is overwhelmed with the prospect of caring for her husband as he goes through this season of life.

God tells us in Exodus 20:12 – Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. With no one else there to help them in this season of their life, I began asking myself, what does it mean for me live out this commandment today? What can I do to honor my Father and Mother?

Another personal challenge that you have may know about has to do with my Wife’s health. I have not talked about this from the pulpit to protect her, but in personal life, many of you know we try to be open about her health. She has a condition called Fibromyalgia, a nerve disease that causes her to live in pain, and keeps her in bed, sometimes for entire days. She was diagnosed a few years ago, and at first, she had rare bad days. Today it has become much more debilitating and is at the point where she seems to have more bad days than she has good days. Much of her pain appears to be climate related, and the weather in Madison has been very challenging for her and our whole family.

God tells us in Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. As I have watched my wife dealing with this pain, I began to ask myself, what would it look like for me to love my wife the way Jesus does? Is there something that I need to give up to love her?

With those two concerns in my heart, I came before the Lord and have prayed for the last two months for His wisdom. We talked to family and friends and asked them to pray for us. Today I need to share with you we have concluded that I need to step away from my role as the Pastor of The Journey.

I feel called by God to honor my Father and love my wife, so to do that we will be moving away from Madison to my hometown, Honolulu. While we are excited about what lies ahead, we are broken-hearted to have to leave this city and this church. We love this church – The People and The Mission.

I need to be clear – There is nothing wrong with the church or with us. The Journey is in the healthiest place in its history. Many times in pastoral transitions there is the public reason, and there is a real reason. In this situation, those are the same. There is no personal issue, moral issue, or financial issue. I will remain your biggest cheerleader.

While I know this affects the lives of many people, I genuinely believe that The Journey’s best days are still ahead. I can say this with confidence because The Journey has never been about the pastor. It has always been about the mission and the people behind it. The reason we came to pastor this church in 2013 was that we fell in love with the people. The reason this hurts so profoundly today is that we fell in love with the people. God has amazing things in store for this church. I believe that with all my heart.

It has been the biggest honor of my life to be the pastor of the people of this church. We love you all.

Thomas Costello

Lead Pastor @ The Journey