This past Sunday, I tendered my resignation as Minister of Music at Quaker Gap Baptist Church, effective June 1, 2010.  I will be taking the position of Senior Pastor at Ecclesia Baptist Church in Fairview, NC.  While we are very excited about what God has in store for us, leaving a church that has come to be family for us is very difficult.  We grieve while celebrating the transition at the same time.  Below is the letter I shared with the church on Sunday.

April 11, 2010

Dear Church Family at Quaker Gap Baptist,

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul wrote these words:

I [Paul], a prisoner for the Lord urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

(Ephesians 4:1-6)

Michelle and I came to Quaker Gap over 7 1/2 years ago, seeking to follow the call of the Lord on our lives.  You have exemplified this verse, showering us with your humility, generosity, patience, and love.  Through our ministry and your friendship, we have been blessed beyond all that we could have ever imagined.  You have allowed to me continue to grow in my gifts as a minister.  You have given me freedom to make mistakes and helped me learn from them.  You have been my teachers and partners in the ministry of the gospel.

It will, therefore, come as no surprise to many of you that God has been working in our lives to take our ministry in new directions.  I have found such life-giving joy in the pastoral roles that you have allowed me to discover and grow into.  As a result, I have accepted the call to be the Senior Pastor of Ecclesia Baptist Church in Fairview, NC.  Ecclesia is a young, non-traditional church, reaching people on the fringes in and around Asheville.

As many of you know, Michelle and I have felt the call to missions from the very beginning of our relationship.  Up to this point, however, every time that we have taken a step towards the mission field, the door has been closed.  It seems to us that God is calling us to our mission field in Asheville.

It is very important to us to express to you that we were not actively looking for a change in ministry position.  Last fall, I received a call from a friend who is on staff at Ecclesia, asking me to consider applying for the position of Senior Pastor.  After much prayer and discernment, we truly feel that this is God’s calling for us and, even though we are grieving the thought of leaving you (our family), we have great peace that this is God’s doing and not our own.  I hope that we will have more opportunities to share with you individually in the next few weeks about the process that God has brought us through and to answer any questions you may have.

I hereby submit my resignation as Minister of Music at Quaker Gap Baptist Church, effective June 1, 2010.  We will be forever grateful for the way in which you have made us a part of your families, for celebrating every one of our wedding anniversaries with us, for walking beside us through the birth of our boys, and for the great love that you have shown us during our ministry here.  You will continue to be in our prayers as we hope that we will continue to be in yours.

Soli Deo Gloria! (To God alone be the glory!)

Steven T. Norris

My plan is to continue this blog, though I will probably expand it more to include more topics than just worship and will use it as an extension of my new ministry as Senior Pastor.  Who knows, maybe I’ll even pick up a few more followers along the way.