Below is an informational letter that youth pastor Mark Strickland sent to his congregation. His letter is filled with a clear sense of grace and dignity. His honest letter is an excellent way to inform your congregation that you will be leaving.
What are some points you can take from Mark’s letter? What would you have done differently?
Monday April 23rd, 2012
To the Elders, Deacons, Members, Families, and Teens of Milton Bible Church:
This letter is difficult to compose as I write today to inform you that Wendy and I plan to resign from our positions at Milton Bible Church as of Saturday June 30th, 2012.
I (Mark) have been offered acceptance into Teacher’s College at Tyndale University, starting in July and have accepted that offer. Going to Teacher’s College will be a career change for me as I plan to pursue teaching over the next season of my life.
Our journey to this decision point has been a long one. We have enjoyed our years of ministry at MBC and love the people in this church. Over the past eight years we have experienced highs and lows in ministry, but about a year ago both Wendy and I began to feel a strong stirring that persisted in our hearts. As we talked and prayed about it, it became clear to us last December that God was pushing us towards a new chapter in our life. Although I have enjoyed serving as a pastor, I did not feel a strong calling to continue in vocational ministry. A desire of my heart had always been to teach and as Wendy and I prayed about our future I decided to try applying to Teacher’s College atTyndale University. In late February of 2012 I was invited for an interview at the school. I had that interview in March 2012 and I was offered acceptance into the Bachelor of Education program in mid-April. Wendy, who is already a teacher by profession, has been applying to public school boards and Christian Schools over the past month. We are hopeful that she will find work, and we believe that God will provide the right opportunity at the right time. We plan to sell our home in Milton and move closer to Tyndale University by late August.
I cannot emphasize how much we have enjoyed being a part of Milton Bible Church. MBC goes way beyond being a workplace for us and we consider all of you a part of our family. You have loved our family and have treated us with exceptional kindness. We can only hope that we served you well over the years.
God has done incredible things in our time here and I know he will continue to move in amazing ways in the future of MBC. Jim and Mary have been fantastic mentors for Wendy and I, and I know that we would not be the leaders we are today without their example, mentoring, and leadership in our lives.
In youth ministry, there is never a good time for a youth pastor to leave. When I started eight years ago, I vowed to not be a 1 or 2 year youth pastor, here today, gone tomorrow. I’m happy I’ve been able to spend so many years ministering to youth in this community. But the hardest part of God’s leading in all of this will be leaving the amazing students we work with. We love all of you and pray you will understand that God has a plan in all of this for you, too! In this upcoming season I challenge you to be strong, trust the Lord, trust the church, and trust those who come after Wendy and I!
I am confident that the Lord has a bright future for MBC, particularly in the areas of children and youth. Those who come after us will take these areas to another level. I am confident that God has a plan for some of you in this, too!
A scripture that strikes me as summing things up is this one:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
I pray all of us will strive to live in His calling and purpose!
Mark and Wendy Strickland