Helping a Pastor Move

Posted: October 28, 2012 
Filed under: Deep Thoughts with Pastor Jeff, Grace Evangelical Church, Leadership, Pastor Jeff, Spiritual, Waterbrook Bible Fellowship
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On October 28, 2012, Waterbrook Bible Fellowship had the difficult task of sending off a family we dearly love. It was a mixture of blessing and sadness because we sincerely believe God was calling this family to a new ministry. The McCune family, Mark, Michele, Kaitlin, and Izzy, are dearly loved by the Waterbrook family.

Though Mark wasn’t a paid staff member at Waterbrook, he and Michele were part of our teaching and shepherding team. They helped launch our young adult ministry. They began a new adult class when we moved into our new building and went to two services. Sure, they’ve “done” much for than that, but more importantly, they were a key part of the heart of Waterbrook. Quick to love on people, sincerely care for and pray for people, and always ready to give or receive a hug. This is what we’ll miss more than anything.

At the farewell luncheon, I had the opportunity to read a letter to the McCune family on behalf of the Staff-Elder Council of Waterbrook Bible Fellowship. A framed copy of that letter was given to the McCune family. Another copy of the letter was sent to the leaders and membership of Cornerstone Community Church (Harrisonville, Missour) where Mark will be serving as their new Senior Pastor. The complete version of that letter is below.

I believe every church should consider this when gaining and losing a pastor. Too often pastors are treated as new employees who start from scratch when they arrive at a new church. I wish church boards and members understood that pastors are still working for the same company, just at a new branch office. If this was understood and embraced by churches, I believe churches would feel more connected and pray for one another. I also think churches who understand this treat pastors better. (Most make their pastors start over with minimum vacation and salary restrictions.) A new church would also comprehend that they’re not getting a new pastor (and family) to “try out” and “teach how we do things around here”, but would realize they’re getting a valuable spiritual leader (and family) who have been dearly loved elsewhere because of who they are and what they’ve already accomplished. That understanding makes it easier to build trust and loving relationships among a new pastors (his family) and a congregation.

Complete Disclosure:  I did receive a similar letter from the elders at Grace Church when I came from there to Waterbrook Bible Fellowship in Wylie, Texas. I know what it is to be loved well by two churches in a transition.

I also think church members who hop to another church should also get a letter from their former pastor that explains what that person/family was like in the former church and what others in the church think of them. But, that’s a post for another time. (wink, wink)

UPDATE: The McCune family did pull out of Garland, Texas, Monday, Oct. 29th. They arrived safely in Harrisonville, Missouri, on Wednesday, Oct. 31, and got unloaded with the help of many wonderful people from Cornerstone. I’m thankful to hear how the church is already taking care of this new pastor and his family.

– Jeff

So, as a blessing – and a challenge – for the church family at Cornerstone Community Church in Harrisonville, Missouri, here’s the letter we sent them.

To the Brothers and Sisters in Christ at the Cornerstone Community Church in Harrisonville, Missouri,

Greetings from the Brothers and Sisters in Christ at Waterbrook Bible Fellowship in Wylie, Texas.

It is with mixed emotions of joy and sorrow that we send our beloved Mark, Michele, Kaitlin and Isabelle McCune to you. We
believe and affirm God’s hand at work in the call you have extended to Mark as your Senior Pastor.

Mark has been a member of our teaching and shepherding team at Waterbrook. Michele has been a key member of our women’s
ministry leadership team. Together they have labored as leaders of our young adult group and an Adult Bible Fellowship class. Their value to our church family has gone beyond these ministry functions. They have also been primary instruments of personal discipleship and love among God’s pepole. As they have blessed us, we know they will bless you.

Whereas we have acknowledged the call of God upon their lives, and prayerfully agreed of their calling to your congregation and community, we therefore commend them to you for the work of the Lord among, with, and through your church family. Though they begin a new season of ministry among you, their work is a continuation of the work they have done among, with, and through our church family.

In light of this, we challenge you, the leaders and members of Cornerstone Community Church, to continue to care for and love Mark, Michele, Kaitlin, and Izzy as we have. We call upon you to provide for their financial, emotional, and spiritual support as they minister among you and on your behalf.

In return, we pledge to you our continuing prayer for the McCunes, their family, and your congregation.

In the Name of Jesus Christ our Savior,

The Elder-Staff Council of Waterbrook Bible Fellowship, Wylie, Texas

Jeff Denton, Lead Pastor

Stephen Bramer, Teaching Pastor

Don Moore, Worship Pastor

John Rossetti, Elder Chairman

Dan Carnefix, Vice Chairman

Larry Heath

Odie Hume

Walt Ransom

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