(Yesterday I sent this letter to our church here in Newberg.)
To my Newberg Friends Church family,
For virtually all of my adult life, you’ve been my church family. I’m grateful for all the ways you have shaped me and my family for the better. For more than 14 years, I’ve had the privilege of being Lead Pastor, serving you with all I could bring. It is with sadness that I share with you that I feel released from this role, and that this church year (ending June 30, 2017) will be my last.
This discernment process began for me several months ago, and has become certain just recently. I’ve examined the kind of thoughts and ministry God is prompting in me, and I’ve done my best to discern what I believe Newberg Friends needs from the Lead Pastor role. It’s become clear that the things God is prompting in me do not fulfill what the church most needs. I’ve let the Elders know just recently, and am letting you all know this week so that there will be plenty of time to work on the transition process in a healthy and careful way.
I believe in “the church”. I believe in THIS church. I believe strongly in what we have been trying to do over the last couple of years, to be a community of Jesus followers who can figure out how to love each other and be committed to each other even when we disagree about important things. I wish that I could step out of the role of pastor and just continue as a member of the community, but it’s a normal and prudent practice for a lead pastor to step away. I do not want to be a hindrance in any way. I do hope and pray that you will graciously continue to welcome our daughter Aubrey as a member of the church and youth group, allowing her to remain in community with the people she’s been with her whole life.
Because I would wish to be part of this church, I want to say as clearly as I can: I hope you will also remain committed to NFC, and not assume that my release from the role determines your relationship with the church. I have always believed a church is far more than any pastor.
I am sad, but clear. I do not have any sense of what will be next for me, and would appreciate your prayers for guidance–just as you can be assured of my prayers for NFC to continue to love people with the love of Jesus.
Thank you for all you’ve meant to me. I still have time to continue serving as pastor, and I look forward to serving you in the coming months!
In Christ’s love,