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May 22, 2022

Students, Parents, and Solid Rock Youth Ministry family,


This is a letter I have never written before. I have had the privilege of being a youth pastor at University Christian Church for over 21 years. However, the door on that chapter is closing and a new door has opened.


During my Sabbatical in the fall, I knew with the utmost clarity that God was telling me that my days in youth ministry needed to come to a close. I didn’t know when that would be or what I would do afterward, but I knew He was calling me to something different.


Recently, Jon Grogg communicated to UCC leadership that he was stepping down from his position to shift back to full-time work with Team Expansion, the missions organization he has worked with for years. When that position opened, I was asked to consider it.


After taking some time with much prayer and many conversations with my wife and trusted mentors and friends, I am excited to say that I have accepted the position of Discipleship Pastor at UCC.


I am looking forward to new challenges. To continuing relationships and community my family has within our church. To trying some new things. To remaining in my role as leader of our Family Team (children’s & youth ministries). There will be grief and mourning within this decision as well. I’m sure I am unaware of what it all entails. But I know it is of God, and it is good.


I will continue my role as High School Pastor through the summer, finishing with this year’s senior class. So I’ll still be sharing life alongside teenagers until August, when I will transition to my new role. Bryan Sammons will become the new lead youth pastor, and he is currently considering whether he will remain with middle school or shift to leading high schoolers. We have also begun the process of searching for a new youth pastor to fill one of those roles!


I want to apologize if you did not have the opportunity to hear this from me in person. That is how I would have preferred it. But due to schedules and the abundant busyness of the month of May, that was not possible. Having never gone through a transition like this before, I know it won’t be perfect and I will unintentionally miss people along the way. If that happens, I’m truly sorry. You matter and I wish I could speak to everyone personally and face-to-face.


I have loved being a youth pastor, and I’m certain that in some ways I will always be one. I’m so thankful that God called me and allowed me to lead this ministry (His ministry) to teenagers and their families. To all of my students over the years, to parents and family members, to all of you who served alongside me in ministry as volunteers, I cannot say thank you enough for all the memories, all the laughter, for every student who felt like they were welcomed and belonged, for all the life-change, all the steps taken toward Jesus. I cherish them—and you—deeply.


For His Glory,

Josh Nelson

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