For those of you who were unable to attend our Sunday Gathering on April 7th, I apologize for this kind of notification. I wish we could have shared in person, but I wanted to let you know about an announcement I made yesterday at the end of the church service:

This is a bittersweet moment for me and my family. I want to begin by saying how much I love you. My family loves you. We pray for you often. We think about you regularly.

Many of you know that over the last few years, our family has witnessed various family members, particularly Alecia’s family, battle health issues. As you can imagine, watching that decline has been difficult. Additionally, as we have read God’s word, wrestled with the commands in 1 Timothy 5 to care for family, and even seen some of you care for your family, we have wrestled with the Lord regarding our responsibility to honor and love our families.

Likewise, over the last couple of years, many of you have witnessed Alecia’s own health struggles. How every day over the last 3 years, she has either battled a migraine or, at best, a low-grade headache. And as some of you know she has seen over 10 different doctors searching for answers but with no relief.

Simultaneously, over the last little bit, we have wrestled with passages like Luke 24, which I preached yesterday. We have always had an open-handed approach to our lives and to God's call on our lives. We have simply wanted to be used for God and his glory in the way he sees fit. We have wrestled with our role in the kingdom of God, our role in seeing the ends of the earth reached with the gospel, and our recognition of a deep passion that God has implanted into us to train church planters and missionaries both locally and internationally.

Over the last little bit, these three – our parents' health, Alecia’s health, and our wrestling with where God has wanted us – began to collide. And as they did, we sought the Lord. We invited some close pastor friends to pray with us. And I started to have conversations with Chris and Chapin, as well as Corey from Winfield Baptist Church. After much prayer and consideration, we feel that the Lord is leading us to a place where we will be able to meet those three needs God has laid on us.  Yesterday, at the end of the church service, I  announced my resignation as your lead pastor.

Over these last several months, it seems that the Lord is moving us to a mission field closer to home where those three needs can be met. (In God’s providence) I have been offered and have accepted a role as the Associate Pastor of Discipleship, Missions, and Training at a church in Wisconsin, where we will be able to care for our aging family, better care for Alecia’s health, while also fulfilling my call training church planters, and leading the church in international missions. With a heavy heart but with great hope for both your future and ours, I’m resigning as your lead pastor… but leaving you in capable hands. My final day will come at the end of April, with a transition in early May.

I’m sure you have many questions that I’ll be able to answer, but just know I love you. We love you. This has been the hardest decision we have made. It was not taken lightly. But we feel the Lord’s calling to this new role.

We hope that you can understand that we did not know how to inform each of you without feeling the need to rank who finds out first and so we felt this was the best way to inform you. We love you. Thank you for letting me pastor you for the last 9.5 years.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

In Christ,

Derek Van Ruler