To my Ridge Church family,
Seventeen years ago, Nancy and I and our three little girls arrived on your doorstep. Since the moment we arrived, you have welcomed us into your homes and into your hearts.
I was a young man, 37 years old --- desiring to help you change the world. Instead, over the past 17 years you have changed me and together we have made a huge impact for the kingdom of God.
Last year, at a friend's suggestion, I picked up a book called Necessary Endings. I got it to help me with the transition that was necessary in our staff at that moment. As I read the book, I found myself surprised at how it spoke to me. I became more and more convicted that it was time for me to pass the leadership mantle. We have accomplished some amazing things together to grow God’s kingdom, but I realized that I was not the leader to lead you to the next place.
I have always said that Ridge Church would be my last appointment. I intended to stay here until I retired --- but sometimes God puts opportunities along our path that remind us that we really are not in charge.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to put my name in for the Director of Marketing and Development with TradeWinds Services. I am a big fan of TradeWinds, having served on their board the past two years. Little did I suspect that they would be interested in me.
I do not see this position as leaving ministry. I have asked the Bishop to appoint me to TradeWinds, and I will keep my credentials with the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church.
I will remain as your pastor until June 30th, and will continue to serve you faithfully until that time. Your Staff Parish Relations Committee will be working with our District Superintendent Larry Whitehead and the Cabinet to find the pastor Ridge Church needs to lead you on the next part of the journey.
As I reflect on the past 17 years, I see all the amazing things that we have accomplished together. That is why it is so hard for me to leave this well-traveled path.
I have never served a congregation that was filled with more love than Ridge Church. You are family to us, and we will grieve mightily over this transition.
But I also know, that it is time for me to choose this new fork in the road. Nancy and I look forward with great fear and excitement what this next phase in our lives will be like. And we know that with all of you working together with the new pastor that Ridge Church has a very bright future.
With much love,
Steve & Nancy Conger