Sunday, July 16, 2017

Announcement of My "Resignation"

Following is the announcement I made on Sunday, July 16, 2017 at Immanuel Baptist Church. I used quotation marks around the word "Resignation" in the title of this post, because I prefer to think of this as a "Reassignment," for reasons I explain below ... 


On Wednesday night (July 12), I announced that I have accepted an offer to serve as the missions strategy coordinator for the Baptist State Convention here in the Triad. It is my intention to conclude my ministry at Immanuel on Sunday, August 6, 12 years to the day from the Sunday on which you called me to serve as your pastor. Officially, my resignation will be effective August 31, but practically, because of unused vacation time, the 6th will be my last Sunday and I will be around the office tying up loose ends during that week.

It is no secret that missions has been my priority in ministry for nearly twenty years. It is what brought us together on day one. It is what has kept us together for these twelve years. In my new role, I will be serving on a team of statewide strategy coordinators, in each urban center of North Carolina, to mobilize churches to engage the ethnic and geographic concentrations of lostness. Let me say clearly that this decision to leave Immanuel is not because of any problem, crisis, or conflict. I have stayed here for twelve years because I love you. And I am leaving because I love you. I am convinced that God is calling me to this role, and that means that it is time for you to have a new voice and new vision here. It would be selfish for me to stand in the way of that. I am also convinced that I have reached the end of my effectiveness here. Because we love Immanuel, it would break our hearts to see Immanuel suffer under ineffective leadership. A change of pastor is but one of many changes that will be necessary if Immanuel is to move boldly and aggressively into a bright future. Our prayer is that you will embrace this opportunity for change, and that your goal will not merely be survival, but revival, renewal, and even greater impact in ministry and mission. That will require all of you to pull together and determine to do whatever it takes to glorify God through this church.

In my new role with the Convention, I will be considered “deployed staff.” That means that my home and my car will be my office, and we are not planning to move. My responsibilities will include advising you and every other Southern Baptist Church in the Triad about ways to be involved in reaching these priority pockets of lostness in the city. I hope that your support of these efforts will continue and increase. I assure you that I will do everything I can to make this transition as smooth as possible for you, including stepping away from this fellowship which we love so much, so that a new pastor might have full freedom to lead in the direction he senses God calling.

In our business meeting on Wednesday night, you graciously approved sending us out as your missionaries to the Triad. This warms our hearts, because it means that we will always be able to consider Immanuel our spiritual family and home. More years of our lives have been spent here than at any other church. And by commissioning us as your missionaries, you are not accepting a resignation, but you are affirming a reassignment and deploying me into a new assignment for Kingdom Ministry. So, Lord willing, it is my intention for August 6 to be a celebratory service of commissioning, in which you can send us out prayerfully and with your blessings.

And let me say once more how grateful we are for all of you and how much we love every one of you.  


Edward Martin said...

Dear Pastor
As a former member of Immanuel in the 1960's, I have appreciated your ministry there and now saddened to hear of your resignation. However, it is indeed gratifying to know of your new assignment in missions. Congratulations and may the Lord bless you as you follow Him.
Mrs Brenda Jones Martin

Russ Reaves said...

Thanks so much for that! Immanuel is blessed with a rich history, and we have been so blessed to share in it. Our prayers will always be that the best is yet to come!