For the last few months, the Lord has been speaking to my wife, Monica, and I about radical obedience. It’s a phrase we are familiar with, something we frequently hear about in church, and even a concept that I’ve preached on, on numerous occasions. But the test of true obedience, we have come to find, occurs when significant life decisions are made, purely because it’s what Jesus is asking us to do.
This journey of obedience began in April of this year, when the Lord clearly spoke to us to take a sabbatical from ministry. You see, from the time we started dating, all the way through our engagement, and since we’ve been married for the last 5 in-a-half years, Monica and I have been heavily involved in ministry at HRock Church, especially since we were installed as Senior Pastors on January 17, 2016. This would be our first real break in almost 10 years of being together. Yet, it also was not an easy decision for us, as both of us were heavily involved in the day-to-day aspects of the church, working through numerous major decisions. Nevertheless, on September 8, we obeyed and started our sabbatical. In short, it was an incredible time of rest, personal growth, and marital breakthrough, but most importantly, a time where God began to speak more clearly about what He was calling us to next.
Obedience is expensive. Obedience often doesn’t make sense. It’s uncomfortable and painful. Obedience doesn’t require an answer, need explanation, or warrant a reason. It initiates the “unknown.” Obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). And when God speaks, our choice is either to obey or not obey. It’s as simple as that (easier said, than done, of course). So, when we arrived back home from our sabbatical in early November, we met with my parents—who, by the way, started HRock Church in 1994, and in turn, handed us the church in 2016—and from that meeting, it was clear that God was doing something unique and special. He was asking for both of us to step down as Senior Pastors of HRock Church.
A letter does not do justice to describe or explain this decision. We understand that there is a myriad of emotions you may feel as a result of this news: pain/hurt, confusion, anger, peace, joy, etc. And we validate how you feel, as we ourselves have faced some of these very same emotions. The bottom line is that God is calling us to “step down” from ministry in order to pursue the next purpose, and new vision for our lives as a couple. We don’t know exactly what that is, or what that looks like, but as I mentioned before, “obedience initiates the ‘unknown.’” There may be a lot that we don’t know, but what we do know is that He is a faithful Father, and He would not call us to obey Him and then not take care of us.
As many of you know, I’ve been here since the beginning. I was there when my parents gathered a group of people on 4/4/94 at our house to pray, thus birthing HRock Church (then called “Harvest Rock Church”). I’ve had the honor of being employed for the last 22 of those 24 years, doing everything from janitorial and facilities work, to working as a receptionist, to overseeing kids and youth, to leading worship, and finally to leading as a Senior Pastor along with my wife for the last almost 3 years. And in case you’re wondering, I have no regrets, but only a grateful and full heart for all the years I’ve spent in leadership here. Words cannot describe what an honor it’s been, and I am eternally thankful, first and foremost to the Lord for this privilege, but also to my parents, Ché and Sue Ahn, who have given us this incredible opportunity. And it goes without saying that Monica and I are extremely blessed to have led the pastors, the staff, and the HRock Family over the past few years. We love HRock Church, and we will continue to love HRock Church. But it’s time for us—for lack of a better phrase —“to step out, spread our wings, and fly!” It’s time for us to take a risk, trust God, and adventure into the unfamiliar. Thus, lies the test of radical obedience.
Our request is that as you continue to pray for us and encourage us, you would prioritize your love and support for our parents, who for the time being, will be taking over the church. We invite you into this season of obedience, that unless the Lord says otherwise, you would be faithful to your commitment to this house and to the leaders who are still in place.
We love you, family! You have had a profound impact on our lives, and we look forward to what God does as we—and you—walk out obedience.
With all our love,
Gabe and Monica Ahn