Saturday, January 28, 2012

Matt's resignation from tmh

This was posted on The Mercy House website regarding the resignation of their pastor. This is son Isaac's church.

Important Announcement: Changes at The Mercy House

Mercy House Family,

With equal measures of sadness and joy we come to you to announce that Matt is stepping down as Pastor of The Mercy House. For sometime now Matt has been feeling God’s tug to move on and the time has come for him to abide in that call. We are saddened to see this season come to a close and yet we are proud to see Matt do no less than what he has compelled us all to do for almost a decade now. In this move Matt continues to lead by example in submitting to God’s will. For our part as the Vision Team and staff we are admittedly sad to see our friends move on and yet we are excited at the same time for what God has in store for them and our community in the next leg of our journey.

This Sunday we will take the time to sit down as a family and community to discuss this move and what it implies for our community. Matt will explain how he came to this point in his walk and we will have an open forum with Matt, staff, and The Vision Team to process and work through any thoughts or questions you may have. As can be expected, we won’t have all the answers. Yet we have faith that God will provide for our needs and that what God has in store for this community will surpass our wildest imaginations. The Spirit is still moving and there is work to be done. We will grieve the passing of this season and turn with hope filled eyes to the season that is just over the horizon. Below you will find a letter from Matt and Lindsay explaining this decision.

The Vision Team and Staff

A Letter From Matt and Lindsay Conner

Sometimes the most difficult thing to do is follow your own advice.

For these last eight years, I have met with women and men hungry for the gospel and motivated for the kingdom to encourage, challenge and pray for them in their own journeys. My wife, Lindsay, and I have shared meals and lives together with so many in a common goal for the Anderson community — to live better lives together than we could apart in the hope that the shared dreams and resources could accomplish something beautiful that would otherwise be impossible. And we called all of this stuff of life…The Mercy House.

Yet even as so many have labored here locally, we’ve also been a transient community — watching beautiful people with dreams for the greater world leave us after some time. A close friend gave me an analogy once for this leaving and staying from a vision he had. Since he’s a friend who is the opposite of a vision-getter (you get what I mean), I knew to pay attention:

“Matt, I saw this weird vision so I hope this means something. You were on the edge of a river and people floated along slowly on the river while you stood on the bank and you were instructing them and building into them as they passed. Some got out of the river and joined you to build something meaningful along the banks. Others floated through. Poof. End of vision.”

Staying and leaving.

It’s always defined the Mercy House. Some of us have felt the unexpected, unexplainable call to stay, to better a city that no one has a vision for yet one that so desperately needs a vision dreamt on its behalf. Others have left to places far and wide — an orphanage in Uganda, a farm in Guatemala, an elementary school in Bolivia. And, of course, all parts in between.

Eight years of conversations. Names forgotten and faces too many. Yet there’s one common thread I’ve attempted to weave through every one of them:

Set your heart on God. Then follow accordingly.

Some stay. Some leave. And now, Lindsay and I realize that we’re called to do the same.

As I’ve continued to grow in my own calling as a writer, I’m making the move to do so on a full-time basis. Because of this, I am resigning my position as pastor of The Mercy House, with my last day as March 4. While we will still be in the area for the time being, Lindsay and I will be stepping out of leadership positions in order to make room in our lives for writing, creating, and to leave a space for the work we feel God is calling us to.

I could over-explain and tell you a myriad of stories that have led me to this point. I could speak to you of sleepless nights, of times of prayer, of dozens of conversations with counselors, friends and mentors. But ultimately as I’ve trusted each of you to obey the God-given impulses, I am now hoping for that same level of trust.

Those of you know me best know that this has been coming for some time. The impulses to move on to other things, to explore words unwritten and venture further into education have been calling me for some time. Yet I’ve waited and waited for the right time to leave. That time is now, or rather it’s soon.

The Mercy House is healthier than it’s ever been. The leadership that is now in place will continue to move the church far beyond anything I could have ever moved it toward. People are finding life and light not only in their own lives, but they’re learning how to offer that to the world around them. I’m filled with only gratitude and love for this community, so this is the only way I could have ever left — knowing that everything was going to be just fine.

But I’d be lying if Lindsay and I also did not acknowledge the deep sorrow that comes along with this. For eight years, I’ve been the pastor to the most dynamic group of creative, missional, authentic people I could ever hope to share life with. The Mercy House is a child I’ve championed as a proud parent, so there’s a deep sense of loss amidst the changes. Still there’s a whisper.

It’s that same whisper I’ve told people for eight years to follow.

I wish I had the ability to sit down with everyone and recount the twists and turns of the last few years — to offer full understanding and clarity to each friend along the journey. But at this point, trust is sometimes all we’ve had between us and it might be the bond of our relationship now.

We will be discussing the details of all of this next Sunday morning, so I invite you to join us as we explain, converse, question and answer each other in this process of transition. More than anything, we ask for your prayers. Whether you are an old friend or a new acquaintance, you’ve been an important part of this journey — one that we will never forget.

Matt and Lindsay Conner