February 1, 2021
Dear Baptist Temple Family,
It has been almost 17 years since I accepted the call to become your pastor. Serving as the tenth pastor in this remarkable church’s 113-year legacy has been one of the highest honors of my life. Now, after nearly 6,000 days and more than 850 Sundays, the time has come for me to close this chapter of ministry with you. I hereby resign my position as Senior Pastor of Baptist Temple, effective Sunday, May 16, 2021. With your permission, I will provide my assistance and guidance to the church during the beginning stages of this transition time.
When this journey began in September 2004, I was 29-years old and finishing my last semester of seminary. I am grateful for the opportunity you gave me and for faithfully walking alongside of me during some of the turbulent moments we have faced together over the years. I am also grateful for the good times, laughs, and friendships we have shared. You have been faithful to God, to Baptist Temple, and to me and my family.
Our boys were only toddlers when we arrived, and our daughter, Bryn Abigail, was born almost two years into our ministry here. That is to say, our children have no memories of any church home except Baptist Temple. Each of you have played an important role in their lives and in the formation of their faith. And in that same way, we have been privileged to walk alongside of you in your personal journeys of life and faith – in hospital rooms, cemeteries, Sunday School rooms, and Sanctuaries. We are grateful for each of the memories and moments we have shared with you. Our hearts are full. You have cared for us, and we, for you.
It is important for me that you know why I made this decision, and to tell you that God has made it clear to me that the timing is right and good.
For some time now, my sense of calling has been evolving. Although I do not yet have great clarity about my next steps in ministry, I believe God is calling me to something different. I do not yet know exactly what lies ahead for me, and I have not made any commitments at this time. For now, the only thing I can say with certainty is that God continues to call me, and I will seek to be obedient to his call.
Baptist Temple is a wonderful and healthy church, and today you need different pastoral leadership. I am very proud of what we have accomplished together – in the health and well-being of our church, for its future, and for the Kingdom of God. We have come a very long way since the fall of 2004, but I believe that I have led you as far as I can. It is time for someone with new gifts, energy, and ideas to come and lead you to greater heights.
While it may seem odd for me to make this decision during these most unusual times of pandemic, I believe the timing is perfect. The current conditions will allow a new pastor the flexibility to dream and plan and lead you with a blank slate. This is a rare and wonderful opportunity for them and for you.
Shelly and I have purchased a beautiful piece of land near Fairfield, Texas, and we will move there this summer. As you know, our oldest child, Hudson, is presently a freshman at Baylor University. Our middle child, Aiden, is graduating from high school this May and will join his brother at Baylor in the fall. Our youngest, Bryn Abigail, is finishing up middle school this semester and will begin her high school years at Fairfield High School next fall.
I have loved being your pastor, and I do not have adequate words to express all of the feelings Shelly and I have for you in this moment. We will have time to reflect more fully on our time together in the months ahead, but, until then, I want you to know of my heartfelt appreciation for the gift of serving along side of you during these years. We will always cherish this season of life here at Baptist Temple.
Above all, I remain unwavering in my belief that Baptist Temple’s brightest days are still ahead of her. We have accomplished so much together, and yet there is still so much left to do for the cause of Christ at Baptist Temple. We covet your prayers as we take this next step of faith, and we look forward to the opportunities we will have in the next few months to express our love, our appreciation, and our encouragement to you all.
With deep love, affection, and appreciation,
Kelly K. Burkhart
Dear Baptist Temple Family,
On behalf of all of you, we extend our deepest appreciation and love to Kelly and the Burkhart Family for their 17 years of service to us, to our church, and to God. As Baptist Temple’s third-longest serving pastor, and only the tenth in its almost 113 year history, Kelly’s tenure has seen some of the most transformational and significant growth in the health and prosperity of our church. It would be impossible to innumerate each and every one of Kelly’s accomplishments in his work and ministry here, but it may suffice to say that without his faithfulness, dedicated and tireless efforts, and unique skills and talents, we would not be poised for the bright future that awaits us today.
It is with sadness that this season has come to an end, but with joyful expectation of the season to come, that we accept Pastor Kelly K. Burkhart’s resignation, effective Sunday, May 16, 2021.
First, we want it to be known that Kelly has submitted his resignation with a clear conscience and without duress. There has been no wrongdoing, rumor of wrongdoing, or any other cause which has precipitated this resignation. No one has asked for Kelly’s resignation. Rather, Kelly has made this decision prayerfully and of his own accord, and we join him in prayer for his own future and for that of our church.
Second, we want you to know that the state of Baptist Temple is strong. While the Covid-19 pandemic gives us unusual circumstances under which we will face this transition, we are spiritually and financially healthy, and we have a solid plan forward.
One of the greatest gifts that Kelly has given to us is the gift of *time.* The timing of this resignation allows us to comfortably execute this transition without facing any interruptions of administrative, ministerial, or financial operations.
We have retained the services of the Center for Healthy Churches, a consultation firm with a tremendous track record and glowing recommendations to guide us through the process that begins with Kelly’s resignation and culminates with the inauguration of Baptist Temple’s eleventh pastor. The CHC is based in North Carolina, and their professional consultation staff work with churches around the country in a variety of ways, including pastoral transitions and search processes. You can learn more about the Center for Healthy Churches by visiting their website: chchurches.org.
Through three major phases over the coming months, the CHC will lead us in the creation of a Pastor Search Team and their training, the identification of a Transitional (Interim) Pastor, a self-study process for the congregation that results in a Congregational Profile, and the Active Search for the new pastor, including receipt of high-potential candidate resumes. Throughout these phases, both the logistical and the spiritual discernment aspects of the process will be addressed and guided.
Soon we will identify and hire a part-time Church Administrator. This person will work with Kelly to learn the church’s administrative, financial, and facilities operations and will begin overseeing and executing the operations of the church through this transition.
Kelly’s last Sunday as Pastor will be May 16. Our Transitional/Interim Pastor will begin May 23. This is a significant day, as it is the observance of Pentecost, and Baptist Temple’s 113th Anniversary. What a wonderful day for us to begin a new chapter in the life of our church.
Please join us in prayer for Kelly, the Burkhart Family, the Transition Team, and for the future of Baptist Temple.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Kelly or any member of the Transition Team.
In humble and joyful service to Baptist Temple and to our Lord,
The Baptist Temple Transition Team:
Ray Elliott, Chairperson of Deacons: 713.906.5480
Steve Pittman, Immediate Past Chairperson of Deacons: 713.206.1129
Edward Crowell, Director of Music: 713.628.2468 / firstname.lastname@example.org