Pastoral Transition Update

December 2018

Dear Theophilus:

Quinn, Elliot, and I wish you a joyful Advent season as we prepare once again to welcome the baby Jesus into our world and our lives.

I want to take a few moments to share about a transition soon approaching in our own lives. Nearly ten years ago, Quinn and I sensed the Lord call us to Southeast Portland to establish a community that loved Jesus, served the city, and ate good food together. What began as a tiny Bible study in our living room with a few people has become a thriving community of Jesus-followers from all over Portland.

In the last year or so, we have experienced what has felt like a seismic shift in our calling and vocation. We’ve lamented, prayed, asked for wisdom, talked to our friends, stayed up late talking to our family, and wrestled this through with the leadership team. But something seems to have changed in our hearts.

In mid-November, it became clear to us that we have fulfilled our calling to establish the foundation of Theophilus. With tears, we share that the Swoboda’s season at Theophilus is coming to a close. We will be making the announcement of our departure to the whole congregation this Sunday, December 2nd and our final Sunday here will be the 16th of December.

I am sure you may have many questions. The Swoboda’s will be sharing their heart regarding this transition and the eldership team will be laying out some of the practical structures for this transitional season on Dec. 2nd. Please join us for the evening as we pray to the Lord for this next season.

I had the opportunity to take some time and share this news with the entire congregation. You can listen to that talk here. The evening was filled with love, joy, tears, excitement, and thankfulness.

We have loved Theophilus with our whole hearts. We always will love Theophilus. Perhaps due to some bias that we are blind to, we literally believe Theophilus is the best church in the world! Not programmatically speaking, not the coolest gathering or the hippest worship team, but the people that comprise its community are the most loving, thoughtful, dedicated, gracious, caring, kind, generous, understanding and wise people in the world. It has been the greatest honor of our lives to serve this church family.

In the grace of Jesus,

AJ, Quinn, and Elliot Swoboda

Listen to A.J. announcement sermon
Download a copy of this letter