February 24, 2019
Letter to the Calvary Bible Methodist Church family
It is with a great deal of heaviness of heart that I stand before you and offer my resignation as pastor of the Calvary Bible Methodist Church.
For the past few months I have been grappling with this decision as I’ve been sensing God leading me in this direction. Without going into great detail of the journey, I will say that God has confirmed this path through prayer and through the godly people that I look to for counsel. Michelle and I jointly feel that God is moving us on. Right now we do not know where we are going. I tell you often that the “just shall live by faith,” and that is what we are presently doing. If I was going by pure logic, I wouldn’t pick the time to resign when we are having a newborn baby. But I trust that God’s timing is best.
I was in dialogue with President Cravens about this not long after I began having these strong feelings that God was moving us on. I have appreciated his confidence and counsel through this. He has certainly asked me hard questions to test the decision (He really wasn’t looking for us to leave), but he has also stood by me in support, love, and counsel. And just to clear up any confusion, his coming here today for a Conference visit was scheduled before I felt like God was leading in this way.
I realize that I’ve had a few months to come to peace with this and you all have not had the benefit of time to process this drastic change.
In these kinds of situations, the common question is usually “what is the real reason that you are resigning?” Let me assure you that there is not some conflict behind the scenes that we are trying to escape, we are not angry or upset with someone, and we are not pursuing greener pastures somewhere else. You have been so gracious, generous, and loving to my family. Many of you are like surrogate aunts, uncles, and grandparents to my kids. The relationships we are blessed to have here is the reason this decision has been so difficult. Take this at face value: God is leading this change to happen – and His ways are best for everybody.
I count it the highest honor to have been welcomed into the most sacred moments of your lives. I’ve had the privilege to stand before you and God on joyous occasions and minister the sacraments of communion and baptism to you. I have dedicated your children to God, and joined some of you together in holy matrimony. I’ve preached the Word from behind this pulpit about 900 times. I have also been honored by your trust to be invited into the most difficult or grievous moments of your lives, in a hospital or funeral home, or sometimes in a living room or even my office. I hold these moments as sacred, and it has been my privilege to pray with you, point you to God’s grace, and love you.
We will always have a soft spot in our hearts for the Calvary Church. We love you more than you know.
I don’t fully understand why God is leading in this way, but I am confident that He is orchestrating this. You have trusted me to shepherd this flock for almost 12 years, and I am humbly asking for your trust that I am following God’s will for our local church now. I believe He is preparing another shepherd to come and lead this flock, and take you even farther up the road for the glory of God.
Here is the good news. You have a Conference President who loves the local church more than any other man I know. He will help you to walk through this transition.
Better yet, the Good Shepherd Jesus has wisdom, counsel, grace, and leadership to continue to care for His church. You are not alone!
I will do my best to make this transition as smooth as possible for you and the incoming pastor. As far as timing goes, President Cravens advised that the end of the Conference Year (which is the end of June) would be a natural time to make the transition. I will gladly take his recommendation and serve through to the end of June.
Michelle and I will always treasure our time here, and our love for you will remain. I long to see each of you continue in the faith, and one day celebrate around God’s throne for eternity.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Mike Mater