FBC Family & Flemingsburg Community:
Sunday I resigned as the Youth Pastor of FBC. My last Sunday will be August the 18th. I did not arrive at this decision casually and without much prayer and fasting. I have also sought out the counseling of those that have been my ministry mentors. This transition is bittersweet for me. I am saddened to inform you my time as Youth pastor of FBC is coming to a close. I love what God has accomplished during my tenure at FBC. I love the people—a church that was very accepting of a young couple from Tennessee, fresh out of seminary. I pray that my departure will not hinder the Gospel work here, in fact I pray that it is a catalyst.
Selfishly, I must admit my time here has personally benefitted me. Both FBC and the Flemingsburg community have taught me several life lessons.
I’ve learned how to be a pastor. You all have seen me mature in my calling, many of you remember me the first time I stood in the pulpit scared to death, some of you all shared in my ordination, and you all rejoiced with us in my graduation. Flemingsburg will always be special to me for that reason. I have developed my work ethic here, I have been able to practice my preaching, and I have been able see a ministry grow from almost nothing to two ministries in the school, Wednesday night services, and our personal favorite our Friday Bible studies after school.
I’ve learned how to live in a small town. It’s no small accomplishment for us coming out of Louisville. All pastors live a public life. A pastor in a small town is under a particularly strong microscope. Through Flemingsburg, I’ve learned how to be a better statesman and figurehead for the church, something you don’t necessarily learn by default in a big city. No Christian is called to live anonymously; we are called to a public testimony. This small town has challenged me to be more intentional about relationships and my witness.
I’ve learned how to have close friends in the church. Sometimes pastors have difficulty making friends in the churches they serve. I’ve had more close friends in Flemingsburg than in any other place I’ve lived. Flemingsburg has graciously given me the blessing of shepherding while also having close friends. Too few pastors experience this blessing. I do not take these friendships lightly.
I’ve learned how to follow. All pastors lead. It’s an inescapable part of being called to serve the local church. One of the most difficult aspects of leading a church is discerning when to follow and who to follow in your congregation. At FBC, I’ve served with and under the leadership of people wiser and more experienced than me—laypersons more spiritually mature and equipped with gifts I do not have. I’m continually learning how to limit a claim on pastoral authority to follow other servants who lead better than me in certain situations and environments.
We came to FBC because it was a great church in a loving town. We have loved it here since we first stepped foot here. However, over the past several months it has become clear to Kaley and I that our season here is done. I pray you will not view this transition as one of me leaving, but rather as one of you sending out Kaley & I more prepared for ministry than when we first came in. Undoubtedly, I’m excited about the future and a new season of ministry. The transition, however, is bittersweet. While I will not have the privilege of being a youth pastor here anymore, I know the mission to further the Kingdom of God will never stop. And I know you will persevere, regardless of who takes our place.
We will continue to pray for this church, our youth, and our community, and we ask that you will be in prayer for us as we seek out the next season of our ministry.
Thank you again, your brother and sister in Christ
Joe & Kaley Gunter