Hey folks, it has been a while since my last update, and many things have happened since then. This is likely going to be my final update because – as the title says – I am resigning as the Pastor of Downham Baptist Church. I gave (and read out) my letter of resignation to the church on the first Sunday of this year (Sunday 7th January), and below is an almost verbatim copy of that letter (Note: I changed some of the wording to make it more appropriate for this news update format). Please take the time to read it, as it explains the reason for my resignation.
“It is with a grieved heart that I announce my resignation as the Pastor of Downham Baptist Church. Although this may come as a surprise to many, please know that this is not a rash decision that we have made overnight; over the last five months, my wife and I have been fasting and praying on a weekly basis so as to ascertain God’s will and guidance for our family and for the Church. With the various things that have happened in our lives and in the Church in these months, we believe that it is of the Lord for me to resign, and for my family to depart and, although it breaks our hearts, we are confident that our decision to leave is not contrary to God’s will for our lives.
Our decision to leave is not because of any quarrel, any dispute, or any grievances with any of the Church Members or Attenders. Our love for you all has not grown cold, but rather, our hearts beat for you with a desire to see you all love the Lord Jesus and His word more, to mature in your walk with the Lord, and to grow in your love and service for one another; making this announcement all the more difficult.
Our decision to leave is not because we have a desire to abandon the Lord nor His work for us. We still love the Lord Jesus – in fact, as we have sought Him with tears and in agony these last few months, we have grown to love Him more and to desperately cling to Him. We still desire to serve Him, we are not departing so that we can abandon any endeavours to serve, but rather, we are going to serve where the Lord places us, and we will worship Him as He leads us for He is worthy.
To summarise what I have mentioned so far, it is not our desire to abandon the Lord, it is not our desire to abandon His work and calling upon our lives, and it is not our desire to abandon you all. However, we believe that we are following the Lord’s leading in my resigning and my family’s departing.
Having stated all of the above, I would like to communicate the reasons as to why I’m resigning and leaving:
Firstly, I am not what Downham needs, and I can’t provide what Downham needs. When we first came to Downham Baptist Church in April 2021, it was so I could occupy the role of Assistant Pastor and work alongside the Pastor at that time – the original arrangement was for us to work together in such a way whereby he (as a Missionary Church-Planter) would continue to establish the Church (financially and administratively) while I would help in teaching and discipleship so as to help mature the saints so that we, as a body, might be built up to do the work of the ministry together.
His departure from Downham was unplanned, leaving many works undone and incomplete (as I alluded to in the Church Update made in July 2023). Because I am not trained in the same way and don’t have the same gifting, I am unable to continue in the works that he had begun. Since the beginning of my tenure as Pastor of Downham Baptist Church in July 2022, the Lord has continuously opened my eyes to the needs of the Church that I have been unable to meet, and we have encountered (and are continuing to encounter) issues that I am not equipped to address competently. In short, Downham Baptist Church needs someone who can plant the church – I believe that the Lord has called and gifted me to Pastor, and not to plant. One man plants, and another waters (see 1 Corinthians 3:3-9), and I am unable to undertake both works.
Secondly, it is no longer financially viable for my family to continue living in London. With the ever-rising cost of living in the UK (with the added difficulty of the higher cost of living in the Country’s Capital), the birth of our third child in April 2023, and the Church’s financial difficulties, my family are in a financially unstable position. In order for my family continue living in London, our personal income must increase significantly, however, as it stands, the Church’s income has dropped significantly since June 2023, and therefore, would not be able to increase the Pastoral Stipend adequately.
Thirdly, I need to take time to minister to my family and lead them in worship. The Bible plainly states that a Pastor must be “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Timothy 3:4-5). With the overwhelming work of Pastoring and attempting to continue a church plant, I have been unable to minister to my family in the way that I am called to as a husband, a father, and as a pastor.
In conclusion, I am not able to meet the needs of Downham Baptist Church, my family can no longer afford to live in London, and I need to take time to rightly and properly minister to my family. For these reasons, I am resigning as the Pastor of Downham Baptist Church.
This letter serves as my notice. My family and I will be leaving towards the end of March 2024. Our final Sunday here at Downham Baptist Church will be the 17th of March.
Until then, and by God’s grace, I will continue to Pastor you all with integrity and sincerity – my desire to properly teach the Word of God that you may all grow in grace and conform to Christ’s image remains unchanged.”
Thank you for taking the time to read it all. Please keep my family in your prayers as we prepare to move, and please pray for wisdom and guidance for Downham Baptist Church as we seek the Lord’s will and plans for the future.
God bless you all, and I love you guys.