Here we go again.

Just in case you missed this announcement:

I have been appointed to Tahlequah FUMC as Lead Pastor starting June 1st.

So here we go again, many trips to the liquor store for empty boxes to load up to go where God is calling me and my family. After meeting the  Tahlequah church, it feels like God does have a hand in this. I am really excited about this next chapter.  Here is my letter that I sent to the congregation.

Dear Church Family,

In consultation with our District Superintendent and lots of prayer and consultation with Ashley, I have accepted another appointment which will start in June. It isn’t easy for us to leave Locust Grove. We have had a great chapter of ministry together that we will never forget. We have grown with you as we experienced life together. The Chapter that we have written together here at Locust Grove has been awesome. We have truly lived into the mission which God has called the Locust Grove Church to Live, Share and Serve. This has brought me joy.

As part of my Lenten discipline of reading the Psalms, I have felt a peace about the decision I have made.  In reading the Psalms I have been reassured that God is not abandoning this Church, that God has a hand in this transition. It will be exciting to discover who the new Minister is that God has chosen for you. It will also be exciting to see the next Chapter of faithfulness that God will be guiding you on.

You will soon be introduced to your new Pastor. I am sure that your new pastor and parsonage family will be missing their old friends and wondering whether or not you will accept them. Welcome them and support their ministry.  They will need your warmth, your acceptance, and your love just as much as my family and I have needed it.  Knowing you, I envy their experience here and I trust that you will take the initiative in taking the “first steps” to reach out to them and let them know that there is a place of belonging for them here in Locust Grove.

The fact that I will no longer be your pastor when I move does not mean that you are suddenly no longer important in my life.  You will remain in my prayers and I look forward to hearing about your lives and effectiveness in ministry.  But it does mean that after moving I can no longer be your pastor.  You will want to give your newly appointed pastor every opportunity to be used by God in this local church community.  This means that I will not be able to return to perform pastoral duties such as funerals or weddings. I do not want to do anything here that would complicate the acceptance and effectiveness of your new pastor. Ministry in a new location is challenging to all.  Both your new pastor and I will be equally busy attempting to meet the demands of new appointments. I hope that you will understand that I am motivated by love and not by indifference. I hope that you will begin now to pray for us and for those that we are being sent to serve.  

The greatest compliment that you can pay my family and I is to keep being faithful to the mission of Live, Share and Serve. Until my last day in Locust Grove you are going to get my best. Dr. Seuss wrote: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” I smile because we have written a beautiful chapter of faithfulness to God together. So together let’s finish this Chapter strong.

Peace be your way,

Pastor Matt

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