Below is the letter I wrote to my church family…
regarding my decision to leave Pastoral ministry. I post it here for reference, and for clarity to those who may not understand either “why” I chose to leave ministry, or “how” I went about it. If you have any questions, I’m glad to answer them!
Hello church family, this is Pastor Carey,
I’m writing to fill you in on some things the LORD has been doing in my heart over the past 6 months. I invite you to join me and the Elders in responding with faith to what the LORD is doing. Please read the following carefully and prayerfully.
For the past 6 months I have been contemplating whether or not the LORD is calling me out of Pastoral ministry. Through much conversation and prayer with Mindi and the Elders and their wives, and time alone seeking the LORD, I have determined that He is indeed bringing my time in Pastoral ministry to a close. I did not expect this, but do welcome it because I believe the LORD is completely behind it. As always, I simply want to go where He is leading me.
Please know this: there is no scandal or sin involved in this decision, no other church that has enticed me away, and nothing secret happening behind the scenes. What I’ve told you in the last paragraph is all there is to it. I currently have no definitive plan for what is next for me or my family. For now I will do my best to assist the church family through this time of transition until the LORD indicates otherwise.
As a next step, the Elders and I invite you to an officially called congregational meeting on the evening of Sunday, December 16th, at 6PM. The purpose of the meeting is very simple: I would like to tell you the details of how I have come to this conclusion, and respond to any questions or comments you have. From there, we’ll begin to prayerfully chart a way forward for my family and for the church family. We would love to have this meeting much sooner, but our church by-laws require a 2 week notice for meetings of this kind so that everyone has adequate notice and opportunity to attend. However, I will be sharing a small portion of my journey over the last 6 months this coming Sunday, December 2nd during worship.
In the meantime, the Elder team encourages you to do what is pleasing to the LORD by not speculating about this situation, or having lengthy/unhealthy conversations with others about the decision that I have made. Trust the LORD. I also ask that you not mention this decision to folks outside our church until after the meeting, when you will have the facts needed to answer questions that may arise. Please be patient, and bring any and all questions to the meeting on the 16th. If you are unable to attend the meeting, or feel a need to know more before then, the 3 of us are open and happy to speak to you about the situation. Feel absolutely and entirely free to make that connection.
I believe this can and should be a very exciting time for the church family. God is obviously doing something unexpected, but new. The church family has a great opportunity to make this transition well, in a way that honors Christ, and be stronger for it in the end. But if that is to happen, it is important that everyone guards themselves against the devil’s tactics of fear, suspicion, doubt, and division. As the church family stands in faith as one, the LORD will be faithful to reveal His God-sized plan for this circumstance.
I look forward to a more complete conversation about these issues with the entire church family on the 16th of December. As always, childcare will be provided.
Thanks for your understanding and prayers.
Pastor Carey, for the Elder Team