For the past year and a half the middle and high schoolers of FBC have been led by our youth director, Jared Sumners. In this short time he has provided our youth with many opportunities to learn and grow in their faith. It is now that Jared has the opportunity to move on in his career goals. I invite you to read the letter below that Jared has given to the youth and their parents about his experience here at FBC and his decision to resign as youth director. Although we are saddened that he will no longer be working at FBC, we appreciate the work he has done and wish Jared and Kate all the best as they move on to this next chapter of their lives.
Chair of Pastoral Care and Personnel
(The following is a letter from Jared Sumners to the congregation, published originally in the March 2016 Tapestry)
Dear Youth and families,
This letter is to tell you of my resignation as youth director of First Baptist Redlands. I’m sad to be going, because I love you all so much. But I’m excited for what’s ahead, both for you and for me.
My time here has been wonderful. I’ve had the opportunity to teach some of the brightest and most compassionate individuals around. We have a remarkable group of youth. As their leader for the past couple years, it has been my immense joy to watch them grow, to watch their opinions and beliefs become their own, and see their hearts draw nearer to God. These students are committed to following Jesus faithfully. They want to change the world. And they’re going to.
Over the next two months I’ll transition from the role of director of this brigade of world-changers into the role of enthusiastic cheerleader, watching from the sidelines as they set out to make earth look more like heaven.
As to why I’m leaving, the answer is simple. I have ignored the call to deeper study for long enough. God has made it clear to me, through the way He made me and through the incessant playing of my heartstrings, that I am to take on the academic world. I’ll be working towards degrees in philosophical theology, and maybe one day, when our current youth are entering seminary (they’re all going to seminary, right?), I’ll be their teacher again.
I wish I could stay at this wonderful church longer. You have all taught me so much about loyalty, the familial nature of the Body of Christ, friendship, and love. I’m leaving only because my school is in Orange County. No other reason. No scandal. No heartbreak. No hunchback in the belfry. (Or is there?) I’m simply called onward, and though I’ll miss you all, I’m excited for your futures. I’m excited for your next youth director. I’m excited for your next pastor. I’m excited for the things our youth will all achieve. I’m excited for you all to be floored by the powerful love of our God, and to be awestruck by what He can and will do through you.
I leave February 28th this year. Until then let’s enjoy our time together. And know that I’ll never be too far away. I’ll come back at a moments notice. Just allow for traffic.
Help will always be given at First Baptist to those who ask for it.
Jared C. Sumners