Here's a copy of the email I sent out today announcing Pastor John's call to a church in PA.
Dear Five Oaks Family:
It’s with a mixture of deep emotions that I am announcing that John Westurn, our Executive Pastor and my dear friend, has accepted a call to Chippewa Falls Evangelical Free Church in Beaver Falls, PA, as Executive Pastor effective October 1. We often speak of callings when making such a move or change, and I can say that I am convinced this is a calling from God. God has his plans and purposes for John, Michele, Josh, Melanie and Rachel, and he has his plans and purposes for Five Oaks.
My heart is hurting because I fully expected to work side-by-side with John for the rest of my ministry “career.” But God has been merciful to me and given me peace and assurance that this is God’s will and God’s leading. We may not be on the same squad in coming years, but we are on the same team, and I know that my friendship with John will endure in spite of the distance.
John and his family have been here for nearly fifteen years. They deeply love Five Oaks. You might say that they are even surprised that God has led in this way. But God has led, and we have the privilege of sending them out to continue his work.
John began his ministry here as youth pastor, and over the last few years he has been the implementer of the vision. For years he has been the leader of our Discovery and Next Step classes, the “gateways” to involvement in our church, so most people know John even though he’s not up front all that often. Most mostly know him from the front lines. He’s one of the most effective evangelists I know. He’s our best small group leader, welcomer and mobilizer. Wherever John and Michele go there’s joy and laughter. And he embodies bringing lives to Christ and Christ to everyday life. John and his family are deeply loved by so many, and we will miss them.
For those of you who have been around for a while, this will take some time to sink in. But we will soon take every opportunity we can to celebrate and honor the Westurns.
Pray for them and pray for our leadership as we begin to formulate our next steps.
I am sending this same letter in the mail today together with one from John. You can expect to receive it in the next couple of days.
Yours in Christ,