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The sweet sorrow of departure provides unique ministry opportunities.

Conventional wisdom suggests that a good Academy Award acceptance speech and a pastor's farewell from a church have something in common: both should be short and sweet. And then you should get off the stage.

But what do you do when you tell everyone you're leaving and then have to stick around for four months?

I recently left a church where I had served in a staff position for eight years. My wife, Becky, and I were excited about our accomplishments yet eager to begin the next chapter in our lives. I had sensed a call to ordained ministry, and that meant a move to receive additional academic preparation.

As with most staff departures, this was not going to be an easy good-bye. In this place two of our three children had been baptized, and it was the only home they remembered. The congregation was full of people who had nurtured our children and who had shared with us joy and sorrow, success and disappointment. We had been together long enough to be richly blessed, and occasionally wounded, ...

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