Schuster notified his current congregation, Christ the King Presbyterian (PCA) in Houston, Texas of the unexpected news in an email early today. The entire email follows.
My dear Christ the King family,
I have some very difficult and unexpected news to share with you. I have accepted a call to serve as a lead pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. My family and I will be moving over the summer in order to transition prior to the beginning of the new school year.
I know this is shocking news. To be perfectly candid, it is to us, too. This call came “out of nowhere,” and in my human mind, it came at the worst possible time: just as we are about to move into our long-awaited church home. I fully expected to be there with you. But as God has said, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8). Those words have never been more real to me. As we prayed and sought wise counsel, the Lord made his call very clear. We’ve witnessed a patchwork of strong and compelling marks of his gracious hand at work, guiding and confirming that this is his plan and his timing.
As your pastor, this is the most heartbreaking news I’ve ever had to share with you. Saying goodbye to you will be the most difficult thing my family’s ever done in ministry, for we love you with all of our hearts. Be assured that this has nothing to do with any dissatisfaction we have here; nothing could be further from the truth. This has everything to do with the missional call of God upon our lives. From our perspective, we are not leaving Christ the King–we are being sent by Christ the King to New York for the sake of the gospel.
In our worship services this Sunday I will share more with you. One of our elders will also speak on behalf of the Session. I’ve been especially moved and encouraged to see how graciously our Session has received this news and ministered in love to my family and me. They are assuming their leadership responsibility with great humility and diligence. You are also blessed to have an exceptionally strong staff team in place. I know you will join me in praying for them all.
Ellen and I have been praying for you and will continue to do so. Thank you for praying for us. The Lord has often reminded me throughout this process that Christ the King is and always has been Jesus’ church, not mine. He has bought you with his blood and brought you here to worship, know, and serve him. As profoundly as I love our church, Jesus loves you infinitely more and will take perfect care of you. May he give you all that you need to process this news. Our hearts are overwhelmed by the privilege it has been to share our lives together with you these past fourteen years and for the unique honor it has been for me to serve as your pastor.
In Christ’s love,
Leo R. Schuster III
To him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.