Pastor Reads Hearbreaking Resignation Letter to his Congregation Over Mental Illness Liability

(Photo: http://gregatkinson.com/)

Pastor Greg Atkinson stood in front of his Forest Park Carthage congregation this Sunday and read a bittersweet resignation letter. The pastor decided to resign because he suffers from a mood disorder that makes him a liability on the church insurance policy.

“I regret to say that I will not be able to continue on as your Campus Pastor. I have a mood disorder (which I’ve been very open about and blogged about and posted on Facebook) which is controlled by medicine and allows me to function normally and at a high level,” said the pastor, according to his website.

Atkinson explained he is stepping down as Campus Pastor so that the church doesn’t lose their liability insurance. “As a leader, I learned a long time ago that you make the right call for the many, even if the few don’t like it. In this case, my family and I are the few and the right call is to protect the entire Forest Park Church.”

This was a very heartbreaking moment for the pastor and his congregation. “I love you. I don’t want to leave and this breaks my heart. I love Carthage and we plan on living here unless God calls us somewhere else.”

Atkinson said the church will be left with the “strongest pastoral team we’ve ever assembled at this campus.” And he assured, “You’re in good hands.”

The pastor called his congregants, “an amazing church” and said he hopes to meet them in a restaurant or stay in touch via Facebook.

“I have no doubt your best days are ahead of you. God has just begun what He wants to do at this campus.”

Here is pastor Greg Atkinson's resignation Letter:

Why I Resigned Yesterday

Yesterday, I stood in front of the congregation that I dearly love and read the following letter. It was horrible, tough and extremely emotional. My hands were shaking holding the letter and I never get nervous speaking in front of groups. Here’s the letter (word for word) and why I had to resign from a church I love.

Resignation letter for Greg Atkinson:

Hello Carthage family. It’s bittersweet to see you all again. On one hand, I have missed you for the past month and am thrilled to worship with you today. On the other hand, I have some hard news to share with you today.

I regret to say that I will not be able to continue on as your Campus Pastor. I have a mood disorder (which I’ve been very open about and blogged about and posted on Facebook) which is controlled by medicine and allows me to function normally and at a high level. I say this to reinforce what I’ve always said, “God uses weak, messed up people.”

As things would have it, the church’s insurance company just recently found out about my mood disorder and classifies me as a liability. Pastor John and Forest Park were put in a very difficult situation by the insurance company of losing their liability insurance as a church (which would open them up to law suits for all their staff and pastors) or releasing me.

I am stepping down as Campus Pastor so that the church doesn’t lose their liability insurance. As a leader, I learned a long time ago that you make the right call for the many, even if the few don’t like it. In this case, my family and I are the few and the right call is to protect the entire Forest Park Church.

Please know I would have stayed here a decade or longer. I love you. I don’t want to leave and this breaks my heart. I love Carthage and we plan on living here unless God calls us somewhere else. I hope I will run into you in town or see you at a restaurant or stay in touch via Facebook – I just can no longer be your pastor.

I wouldn’t trade these last nearly 3 years for anything in the world. This was where God wanted my family and we have been amazed and blessed to see God move in this church. Over three hundred new people have joined this campus since I started and out of that I’ve baptized well over a hundred of you. I have nothing but sweet and special memories of Forest Park Carthage and I thank you for the privilege of serving you these last few years.

I’m leaving you with the strongest pastoral team we’ve ever assembled at this campus. You’re in good hands. Again, this is an amazing church (I know because I’ve been visiting other churches in the area the last month and none compare to here) – this is an amazing church with strong leaders and tremendous leadership from Pastor John. I have no doubt your best days are ahead of you. God has just begun what He wants to do at this campus.

Please pray for myself and my family as we transition and look for another ministry to serve. Again, we’ll live here in Carthage unless God calls me away somewhere else and opens a huge door of opportunity – which I’m confident He will do. Know I will miss you and I love you. God bless you all.

Greg Atkinson

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