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Dear <<First Name>>,

When I came on staff 12 years ago, I couldn’t have imagined the possibilities for worship, music and ministry I’d experience here. Coming to First Methodist was an unexpected turn for our family. It was a surprise—a gift from the Lord that we weren’t expecting. Every ministry position I’ve ever had has come about that way: unanticipated and prompted by a sense of the Lord’s leading. Through the years, the Lord has repeatedly taken us in directions that we would never have imagined on our own.

About six years ago, out of the blue, I felt the Lord impress on my heart that I should “be open to any conversation.” I knew immediately that this meant being open to the potential of other churches. It didn't make any sense to me at the moment. I wasn’t looking to move, and I thought I was already open to whatever the Lord wanted. But the Lord repeated this phrase to me several times, and as He did it solidified into a sense of faith and conviction. 

Over the past few years, I’ve had many delightful conversations with churches. It’s a rich and beautiful thing to be invited to dream God’s dreams with local congregations. But none of the conversations developed into anything serious, and I wondered why God had spoken so clearly. Then I got a call about a church outside San Diego, California. This time it was different. I immediately felt a sense of relational connection and the Spirit moving in these conversations. Maybe God was calling us to this church—but California?

I knew nothing about Southern California, so I reached out to our insurance agent, whom I've known for years from Abilene. I asked if they had any connections with insurance agents in California so I could ask a few questions. Instead of an answer, my question was met with an awkward silence. Finally, she blurted out, “Why on the face of God's green earth would you move to California?

That sort of became a refrain between Sarah and me for the next few weeks, but the sense of God’s leading persisted. We agreed to fly out for a face-to-face visit in late April. We went feeling a lot of tension and resistance, but God met us there. By the time we returned, we both knew that something had shifted in our hearts. It was a bittersweet moment because we realized this might actually be happening.

Sarah and I shared the conviction that we couldn’t say yes if it were only about a job. We had to know this would be a good move for our family. Savannah is about to start her senior year of high school, and Noah, a junior at Abilene Christian University would be two days away, not just two and a half hours away. As we talked and prayed and cried together, we gradually came to the decision that God is calling our family to Emmanuel Faith Community Church in Escondido, California. They offered me a job, which we have accepted. It’s a significant change for our family, especially for Savannah. Pastor John and I discussed a timeline for the transition this week and have decided our last Sunday at FMC will be July 24, primarily to get Savannah settled in time to start her senior year. Please pray for us as we make the necessary arrangements for a quick cross-country move!

First Methodist Carrollton, you have been far more than an employer for me. You have surrounded our family and loved us. The unwavering encouragement and support of musicians and the congregation have been deeply humbling. We will always be grateful, and we love this church. Thank you for allowing me to serve Jesus alongside you.

See you Sunday,
David Bales

SPRC will meet in the next week to map next steps for us, as well as make plans to celebrate David's ministry. We love David and are so grateful for his faithful ministry and the blessing he and his family have been to our church. We join with him in prayer during this time of transition for all parties—us, the Bales Family and Emmanuel Faith Community Church.
—Pastor John
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