Monday, November 11, 2013

A Resignation

On Sunday, Nov. 10th, 2013, I resigned my position as Minister to Youth at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Midwest City, OK. I have accepted a call to serve God and the Church as the Sr. Minister of FCC Kingfisher, OK. The following is the letter I shared with the Church Board. I intentionally redacted a few names.

Nov. 9, 2013

TO: The Congregation of First Christian Church of Midwest City
            AND: xxx, Board Chair
            AND: xxx, Elder Chair
            CC: xxx, Sr. Minister

RE: An Announcement of Resignation

Greetings Friends,

February 6th, 2005 was a Sunday. It was Super Bowl Sunday and Trisha (who was serving as part of the Youth Leadership team) hosted a Super Bowl watch party for the youth group at her parents’ house ([they] were living in Houston at the time). Trisha didn’t think her folks would mind the party. Gavin was there, so was Nick, Kacie, Cody, Josh, Beckie, Austen, Monica, Sarah, Sarah and Danny.

I was there too because it was the day that First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Midwest City trusted me with the care, nurture and faith development of the Chi Rho and CYF aged students of the church. When I was called to ministry here I had a High School diploma and 5 years of ministry experience. You trusted God, that God would somehow use this church camp junkie for some meaningful work with young people in your congregation.

Since that day and over the next almost 9 full years, you have continually trusted God, and seen me through an Associate’s Degree, a Bachelor’s Degree, a Master’s Degree and Ordination into Christian Ministry. That is no small feat – yet one not unfamiliar to this congregation. Reverend Gary Mitchell took a very similar path, which also began with your trust in God. The meaningful work that began in early 2005 has matured somewhat, and gained a little wisdom and has grown in faith and understanding of what it means, and what it takes to be in ministry. It’s really the work you have done, and the grace of God that has sustained my ministry for this length of time.

It is with mixed emotions of excitement, sadness and trepidation that I announce my resignation as Youth Minister of First Christian Church of Midwest City. I have accepted a call to serve God and the Church as the Sr. Minister at First Christian Church in Kingfisher, OK. I am requesting that my final Sunday with you be Dec. 8th, 2013.

FCC Kingfisher and FCC MWC have several shared ties to clergy. Rev. Dr. Leslie C. Brown served in Kingfisher before moving to Norman and ultimately Midwest City. Rev. Julia Jordan Gillett served as Youth Minister of FCC Kingfisher twice, once while in seminary and once after – ultimately bringing her to FCC MWC. And the Rev. Don Gibson has served interim pastorates in both congregations.

This has been a several month process for me and was a decision I made in prayerful consideration and in conversation with my spouse and regional church staff. As a professional courtesy I informed Mike of my decision to enter Search and Call, and upon his request I informed the church Elders. I am thankful for their attention to the sensitivity of the matter.

It is important that we both maintain the responsibilities set forth in the Ministerial Code of Ethics. After Dec. 10th, 2013 I will no longer be the Youth Minister and therefore unable to serve in a ministerial or pastoral role with members of the church.

[My wife] and I will always be grateful for the countless ways that we have been shown love, encouragement and care. We could never return the amount of joy and love you have shown us and our family. I will forever delight in the memories of mission trips, summer camps and weekly gatherings - of spontaneous lunches and late night conversations about faith, life, parents, relationships and T.V. This has been a congregation deeply engaged with the work of raising up new and faithful generations of Disciples, for that I am keenly aware and grateful. Mostly I am thankful for your spirit of generosity and patience. Godly generosity. Faithful patience.

I’m reminded of one of the best “ordaining” stories from the Bible – Isaiah’s preparation as God’s prophet:

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
(Isaiah 6:8)

            I am excited to be answering anew “Here am I. Send me!” as God – the ultimate Guide and Shepherd - calls us both into new chapters of ministry, as we continue seeking ways to…

Be Excellent To Each Other!

-          Rev. Andy Beck