I hope you'll take a moment to read these words from my video with a few additional updates.

I remember the call like it was yesterday. It was February 2020 and my DS called to let me know I had been appointed as your Senior Pastor. I had heard of all the great things happening at FMC in recent years and was thrilled at the opportunity to take the baton from Jeff and run with you! 

Two weeks later, COVID-19 shut the world down, and as our churches closed their doors, we knew that life as we knew it would never be the same. Fast forward a few months and the Irving and FMC families had the most unique of pastoral introductions. I met you through ZOOMs, preached to an empty sanctuary while you watched from home, and then only months later greeted you through masked faces and socially distanced high fives. 

As this became our new normal, it was clear to me that in spite of these imperfect circumstances, God was doing a new and wonderful thing through the people of First Methodist Conroe. God led us through the wilderness of isolation and quarantine and gave us a vision of what it would for us to invite all to experience Life.Better.Together as a multiethnic, multigenerational and soon to be multisite church. With our mission to make disciples propelled by this vision, in early 2021, we launched into a season of growth in giving, worship attendance, first time guests and especially in our ministries to children and young families. 

Earlier this year, our lay leadership discerned that, along with 100s of other churches in our annual conference, it was time to enter the uncharted wilderness of denominational discernment. Since mid-May we have made our way together and arrived at the crossroads on September 18, when FMC voted to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church and as of January 1, become a Global Methodist congregation. 

From the beginning, my public intention has been that I would remain a United Methodist pastor but that I intended to continue to serve you. In the weeks since the vote, I have continued in discernment and have now concluded that because I believe that The United Methodist Church to be the denomination God is calling me and my family to serve for the future, someone else will need to lead you into a new chapter of fruitful ministry in First Methodist Conroe’s story as a Global Methodist congregation. 

A mis hermanos y hermanas en la comunidad de la celebración, los extrañaré mucho. Gracias por la oportunidad de adorar con usted y hacer mi mejor esfuerzo para predicarle en español. Gracias por el amor y el cuidado de mi familia. Qué maravilloso es ser una congregación multiétnica. Realmente somos mejores juntos. Dios los bendiga a todos.

As I say each Sunday and in nearly every letter, it has been an incredible privilege to serve as your pastor for these two and a half years. For those keeping count, that’s a year more than a Bagley and a year short of an Olive

As I make this transition, I am in my 15th year of full-time ministry. While many of my mentors spend their entire careers in ministry, with the added pressures of a pandemic, a polarized political climate and the like, the number of younger clergy who have considered or completed leaving the ministry grows each year. I intend to be one of the former, and not the latter. 

God has called me to this work and I want to give Him and the churches where he sends me my very best. Accordingly, as I transition to my new appointment to Christ Church in Sugar Land, Texas effective January 1, I will be taking time for personal and spiritual renewal through the end of the year.

In the meantime, Dr. John Wayne McMann will lead as interim Senior Pastor beginning November 21 while the FMC Leadership Team works with the Global Methodist Church to determine the future needs of First Methodist and the greater Conroe mission field. When the Lord put John Wayne's name in my heart over a year ago and I made the first inquiry to his desire to plant our second campus, I knew he would be a key to the future fruitfulness of FMC. And now, "for such a time as this," I am thrilled to hand off the immediate future of FMC to him. In his and the incredible lay leaders and staff, I leave you in hands more capable than mine. 

This past Sunday night was truly a joy as I watched you boldly say YES to the work that God is calling you to at FMC! I cannot wait to see what God will do through you as you extend this mission to the Willis community and beyond.

Bittersweet is the best word I know to describe how I am feeling. I am and will forever have been privileged to serve you. God has FMC’s best future in store! 

I hope to see you Sunday.

Blessings,

Daniel Irving
Senior Pastor
First Methodist Conroe