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
For those who grew up in a world of rotary phones and dial-up Internet, it is hard to imagine that most teenagers today have no recollection of life before cell phones. In fact, these Millennials have had so much exposure to technology, cell phones and laptops and iPods have become common aspects of everyday life. Which might explain why 94 percent of Millennials have cell phones, and 70 percent have laptops.
Are you confused by how this generation interacts with one another? Wondering what life is like for these technology-obsessed teens? The OnlineSchools.com infographic offers a detailed look at the tech-savvy world of todays teens and shows the old fogies what they are missing.
Courtesy of: Online Schools
Pastor Shannon Wheaton, his wife Trena and their youngest son, Benjamin, were among seven people who died Friday in a head-on collision on Highway 63 in Alberta.
The couple’s oldest son, three-year-old Timothy, survived only minor injuries.
Some members of the congregation were in tears as they left the church. One member told reporters that they were trying their best to explain the tragedy to the children, but that it was difficult for the youngest ones to comprehend the tragedy.
Services were also held Sunday at church in Newfoundland, where Wheaton was originally from.
Church website – www.familychristiancentre.org
I’ve never really been good at math and I know that I’ll have to probably get a math tutor for my son at some point, but when I look at the math associated with REMIX it is hard to deny that it makes sense and it’s clear that this is not your typical trip to Toronto.
5000 students + 300 youth groups = 15 years
Local Focus = Global Impact
REMIX is an inner-city mission trip and this should be your mission trip.
Churches are using REMIX as the beginning training ground for their students to get the basics before they go out on an overseas mission trip. This is an excellent way for you and your students do life together before you take that them overseas. Chris Folmsbee loves REMIX and what they have going on in Toronto each year.
This is one mission trip that should be on your youth ministry radar for training your students to know how to…
live out the mission and message of Jesus.
By figuring it out locally so they can have a global impact in the future.
This is one mission trip I highly recommend and that’s why I have been personally involved with it for the past four years.
Facilitation Groups: Messy Spirituality and Effective Programming #ODU
Wrestle with Implications: Make a difference in the world. #ODU
Wrestle with Implications: I don’t know…my #youthpastor told me #ODU
Issues for Youth Workers
Moralistic Therapeutic Deism by Smith also mentioned in Almost Christian Great read!
IMPACT of SPIRITUALITY
HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT OF AN INDIVIDUAL’S sense of identity .
Stages of Faith: adolescents are looking for authority in their lives.
Fowler – Stage 3: Synthetic-Conventional Faith
Life has grown to many social circles and they need to start to make sense of everything.
Moral Development by Kohlberg: Conventional Level of Moral Development
How many of your youth will walk away from their faith in the next 10 years?
Key Issues for Youth Workers
Divorce, Depression (Toronto Star Article calle – Suicide on the rise for adolescent girls), Power of Friends
IMPACT on GIRLS
1) Time of extreme emotions.
2) conflict and ongoing negotiations.
3) yet, often times wanting to stay close to parents.
4) great social pressure to be accepted by peer culture and to become autonomous individuals.
1) sensitive to warning signs
2) Learning ways to talk to boys allowing them to share their feelings without being ashamed.
3) Learn how to accept a boys emotional schedule
4) Connecting through actions
5) Telling the, our own stories
Young people do not decide who they are, it’s the labels (good/bad) that you receive from this group of kids. Making you feel like…
Groups of Adolescents:
Jocks, burnouts, skaters, skinny jean crowd, gamers, etc…
Talking SOCIAL now:
Cliques – 6-12 kids based on common interest or activity. Learning social skills.
Crowds – large group based on reputation or stereotypes. Shapes identity.
Watching a Wonder Years Clip. Such a brilliant clip explaining the social world of adolescents.
Technology Licence was suggested from one group. Kids needs to earn their licence to use technology in youth group before they can use it.
Giveaways from BrettUllman.com
Furthest church: 115km
Longest in youth ministry: over 15yrs
Shortest in youth ministry: 2 months
Effective Programming for Jr. High and High School
Messy Spirituality for Jr. High and High School
Wrestle with Implications
What is the right length of teaching time?
How do we incorporate different learning styles?
What is the role of technology in our programs?
Listening and Learned Kung Fu by doing Kung Fu.
Watching a Kung Fu Panda Clip: “You Are Free to Eat!”
CHanges in thinking
Wrestle with implications
Prize goes to the winner. What is the role of competition in our program?
Boys on one side, girls on the other – the mennonite way! How much should we combine genders or keep them separate?
watching a video from childlike, childs help line in the UK. lots of laughter and and a dose of reality.
How do we tackle “body issues” like sexuality or self image in our teaching/relationship with our jr. high/high school students?
Issues for Youth Workers
- sexual exploration
DISCUSSION: what are the physical changes that happen during puberty?
Physical development is about one word: PUBERTY
Development is a biblical thing: Luke 2:25
Session One will focus on Cognitive and Physical Development.
Chris Tompkins from Muskoka Woods si getting things started.
One of the darkest days in my home province of Ontario was Monday, March 26, 2012. That is the day when prostitution and owning a brothel house became legal. You can read the Globe and Mail article here.
I was speechless (which doesn’t happen very often) at the ruling even though I knew that it was eventually a Fait De Complet after the weeks of media coverage leading up to the ruling.
I’m no longer a proud Ontarian.
I’ve made a personal decision today on this subject. I’m making an appointment to meet with my Member of Parliament. I’m also going to make an appointment to meet with my Member of Provincial Parliament.
I’ve looked to many people for the opinions and thoughts on this ruling and I especially paid close attention to my coworkers here in Toronto with Youth Unlimited (Toronto YFC). My colleagues work in a front line organization called Light Patrol and the director, Joh Cassells, was recently interviewed on Sun News Network. Watch and listen to what John says about this ruling.