(By Gregg Brekke, The Presbyterian News Service). The Rev. Charles (Chip) Hardwick today announced his resignation as the director of the Theology, Formation and Evangelism ministry in the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Hardwick’s final day at the Presbyterian Center is December 12 and, as of this writing, he has not accepted another call.
“I’m still discerning where God might be calling me,” he said. “There are some irons in the fire and I’m hoping to get back closer to congregational ministry, but I don’t know yet what’s coming. I’m counting on our God who provides to provide the next right thing at the right time.”
“As he approaches every aspect of his life, Chip has led Theology, Formation and Evangelism with imagination, enthusiasm and a deep love of Jesus Christ,” said David Crittenden, acting executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “He has created a solid foundation with his team of talented and committed colleagues. Although he will be deeply missed by everyone at the mission agency, we know that he is following his faith to use his gifts in God’s service.”
Hardwick said he’s “filled with pride for the ministries I’ve gotten to work with here,” including curriculum development, 1001 New Worshiping Communities expansion and camps and conference centers.
“I think about the chance to impact what children and adults study in Sunday School and small groups,” he said. “I’m so thankful for the work of New Worshiping Communities and how they take shape, and the chance to help Stony Point [Camp and Conference Center] to turn around financially and to encourage their work in interfaith relations. There’s just so much I’m grateful to have been a part of here.”
Hardwick began his ministry in Louisville as director of the Theology, Worship and Education ministry in January of 2012. He said one of the “biggest challenges” of his time with the PMA was his interim oversight of the Evangelism and Church Growth and Theology and Worship and Education ministries following the departure of the former leadership of the Evangelism and Church Growth ministry.
“Trying to balance running two different ministry areas with two different staffs, leadership teams, offices, administrative assistants and work cultures was very challenging, especially in a time of crisis,” he said. “There was a lot of anxiety in the wider church and a lot of anxiety among the remaining Evangelism and Church Growth staff and the 1001 New Worshiping Community staff.”
The two ministry areas were ultimately combined to create the current configuration of Theology, Formation and Evangelism. Hardwick said the combined staffing arrangement “turned out to be a great synergy between the two areas that have grown to rely on one another very much and to support each other’s ministries,” noting the experience of a recent staff development retreat has shown Hardwick “they’ve grown together to be one team.”
Crittenden said he will be meeting with Hardwick in the coming weeks to discuss a transition plan for leadership of the Theology, Formation and Evangelism ministry area.