From Mike Yunker,
I wanted to take a minute and share my heart as to all that has happened over the last few weeks concerning my wife and I stepping away from Real Life and my resignation as Senior Pastor. After 17 years of being shown unconditional love, grace, mercy, kindness and generosity from this church family, you can imagine how difficult it was to consider leaving and how Spirit-led the opportunities had to have been for us to choose anything other than pastoring here. Both of these truths are held in tension as my wife and I pursue the Lord with a full heart through faith and trust.
It was about a year ago we felt something stirring within us to consider ministry outside of what we currently knew. Although we were in the middle of selling our home and getting acclimated to living with one teenager in the house, we felt like the Lord was up to something. Earlier this spring as I was surveying the church, praying over the next season of ministry and really doing some reflection, it became apparent that God was ready for us to release Real Life and take a hold of another ministry.
As we were praying through this, God was orchestrating things at both Shepherd’s House Ministries and Watercup Counseling. After working with SHM for years as a board member, teacher, and mentor, the need for more leadership at the staff level was growing. They asked if I would consider joining the team, beginning part-time and over the next 6 months grow into full time. While that was developing, Bill Mahnke at Watercup and myself were dreaming and scheming about retreats specifically designed to minister to the hearts of those serving in the church. Long Hollow Ranch opened its doors to us and those dreams quickly became real opportunities.
So which did we choose? We chose both! As I’m working part-time for SHM, Bill and I will launch AnaPauo Retreats and hopefully have our first retreat in August 2018. You can check it out at www.anapauoretreats.com
That’s not all! While all that was happening Terry O’Casey, a good friend, former pastor and current professor at Northwest Christian University and myself had coffee where I shared my heart over what was happening and he shared his desire to reenter the ministry and stay here in Central Oregon. After much talking and praying between Terry, the Shepherds and myself, it became obvious what God was up to. Of course this was not without tears, fears and much prayer, and yet we knew that the Holy Spirit was leading and in that we could find rest. Terry was the one God wanted to be the next Senior Pastor for Real Life.
So, on May 25th I handed this letter to my two best friends and partners in the ministry, Chris Babcock and Dave Kamperman:
Friday, May 25, 2018
To the Shepherd of Real Life Christian Church
It is with a full heart I write this letter. In July 2001, as a young man, father and husband, I thought I had moved to Bend to learn how to a plant church but I was mistaken. God brought me to Bend because he knew my life needed it. He surrounded me with people of such love, grace, mercy and forgiveness that it transformed every part of my heart and mind. Over the last 17 years my life, like yours, has had its up and downs, good times and bad and yet we had each other and in that we had Jesus in our midst. That is why it’s by faith that I write the following sentence.
I am formally resigning as the Senior Pastor and Board Member of Real Life Christian Church effective July 15th, 2018.
There are not enough pages to express my gratitude towards everyone. All I can say is thank you so very much for allowing me to serve you all these years. The love and kindness you have shown me is planted deep in my heart and it’s my hope to multiple it in every person God brings my way.
Over the next few weeks we will laugh together, cry together, dream together and be a bit anxious together but we will do it together. Please be in prayer for my family as we enter into these new adventures! God has always been kind to us and we have no doubt he will continue to be. I am confident God will continue to use Real Life to love those who God brings and believe that the church’s best days are ahead. We love you very much and will always see this church as the place God both saved my life and healed my soul.
Love, Your Friend,