Continue to pray for Andrew and his family as he now serves as the youth pastor at Tulsa Bible Church. The note below is what Andrew shared with the Springs of Grace Church when he left in 2010.
Pastor Andrew’s Resignation
There is no easy way to tell you this, but effective today I am resigning my position as one of your pastors. For many months Cara and I have sensed that the Lord preparing us for a new assignment. We have prayed and talked and sought much counsel. After reflecting over the many ways in which the Lord has worked in our life, many positive and some negative, we have begun to see how the Lord has slowly been readying us to leave Springs of Grace Bible Church. We are convinced that the Lord has brought us to this point, and we are ready to begin taking the next steps in following him. Right now we don’t know where those steps may lead. We simply know they lead away from here. So, today, Sunday, May 23rd will be our last Sunday to worship with you.
I know this seems abrupt and for many of you it seems unexpected. Let me assure you it is not. This is not a decision we have come to recently. Rather, it is a decision that has been reached over a long period of time. Cara and I feel the timing is right to go now and step out in faith believing in the goodness of God to show us the next step.
Please don’t think that our leaving means we think poorly of you or poorly of the church. We love each one of you. Just because we are leaving the church for what God has next doesn’t mean we are leaving your friendship. We are confident in the Lord that He will continue doing a good work here in this church. We have been greatly blessed during our 8 ½ years here to watch the Lord work through your lives.
There are few people who have intersected my life and my family’s life who have been more of a blessing to me than Joe. I have complete confidence that he will continue to lead you and love you with a wide open heart for you and for the Lord. And, I’m thankful for the fruit that his ministry has born in my own life and the life of my family. In fact, we never would have had the blessing of moving to Tulsa and being part of this church family had not the Lord put it on Joe’s heart to ask me to partner with him in this work.
Now our time here has come to an end. In many ways it is sad. And, in other ways it hopeful. In some ways this is an end. In other ways it is a beginning.
We pray God’s richest blessings for you and we hope you will pray for us too as we try and follow the Lord’s leading.
Andrew, Cara, and family
Pastor Joe’s Response
Sometimes God brings things into our lives that we don’t understand – things that we don’t want. This is one of those. Andrew said that in some ways this is sad and other ways it is not. I feel the sad. I also hope for the ways it is not. I have a love for Andrew and a commitment to him that goes way back and runs deep. Andrew’s father and mother showed incredible kindness to me and Rosa when we were young and immature and Andrew’s dad became one of my dearest friends. I had the privilege of being Andrew’s youth minister and coaching him as a junior high athlete over at Lewis & Clark; listening and praying with his dad about his years at East Central and then Northeastern State; rejoicing over his marriage to Cara; watching him explode spiritually as a young man in the preacher school in Shreveport; watched him step up as a man of faith after the death of his dad and then mature on the Springs of Grace staff there. I watched and prayed and rejoiced and when the elders at Grace Church in Texas felt like it was right for us to come and start a church in the center of Tulsa with a dream of catching a wave of God’s grace that would use us to take the gospel across class barriers and racial barriers and reach this city – I called Andrew and asked him and Cara to come with us. I asked him to come and pastor with me with no guarantees only a promise that I wouldn’t let him or his family starve before I did. And with that glamorous sales pitch he agreed to be a part and 8 ½ years ago moved up to join this work. I – like many of you have been enormously blessed by his preaching and teaching. I have thanked God over and over for the truths he has expounded from God’s Word to my family and my own heart. I have reveled in the times he has taught us in our preacher school through books like Romans and Hebrews and many others – I tell you that so you know the sadness you are feeling about losing your pastor is felt more deeply in my own heart.
Ministry is hard. It is hard to give yourselves away for others. It is difficult to cross cultures and to invest your lives in areas that you aren’t good at. It’s hard but it is exciting to be in a place where you have to depend upon the Spirit of God. I’ve been thankful to get to pursue this ministry together with you, Andrew.
It is an enormous understatement to say, “You’ll be missed.” Your departure will be like losing a part of our body. It will hurt.
But your leaving to pursue the next step of ministry God has for you will also be like the Church at Antioch sending out a Paul or a Barnabas. No doubt that was difficult but they commended them to the Lord and they rejoiced at what God would accomplish through them – and we feel that too.
Church family – I just want you to be clear. As Andrew said – this is something they have been praying about for some time. There is not any sin issue or problem where Andrew is being forced to resign. That is absolutely not the case. This is a matter of him following what he is convinced the Lord is showing him to do and because we trust the Lord and we love Andrew we, as a church family want to send you out with much anticipation of the Lord using you for His glory.
I have asked some of our men to step in the leadership gap as Andrew leaves. Doug Fry, Jared McCoy, Topper Coursen, and Curtis Branch have stepped in to help and as leadership we want the church family to know we are going to continue to support Andrew during this time of transition. Even as God leads you on to something else we want you to know that we see you as a part of this family and want to remain a part of what God does in you and through you.
I know many of you may have questions about what is ahead. Our leadership team doesn’t pretend to have all of the answers but we want to hold a church family meeting tonight at 6:00 pm right here to share with you how we are hoping to function leadership wise in the days ahead and to answer any questions you might have. I am thankful for strong, godly men God has given us to help lead us and I have asked some of these men to come forward and pray for Andrew as we thank the Lord for the years of ministry and service he has given this faith family and to ask for God’s continued blessing on his and Cara’s life and the lives of his family.