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Church (Religious Group) Resignation Letter Template – with Samples

Church (Religious Group) Resignation Letter Template – with Samples

Updated September 11, 2023

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A church resignation letter is a formal written notice announcing the intention to leave a position with a religious organization. It is usually addressed to a pastor or other church leader. This letter should cover logistics, but it can also offer an opportunity to share sentiments and express well-wishes to the wider congregation.

Table of Contents

What to Include

Like any resignation announcement, this letter should provide some context and relay key details. It should include:

  • The intended date of departure.
  • The reason for departure.
  • Plans for the transition period, both before and (if appropriate) after the transition.

How to Resign from Your Church (4 steps)

  1. Request Meeting
  2. Disclose Details
  3. Return Belongings
  4. Hand in Letter

1. Request Meeting

It is best to speak face-to-face, so either ask in person or send an email about scheduling a meeting. You may share the reason for this meeting in the initial email, or else hold off until you sit down together.

2. Disclose Details

Bring a printed letter along to the meeting and go over the plans for the departure. It is best to leave no stone unturned. Though it may be emotional, discussion of an upcoming resignation should address dates and other details.

3. Return Belongings

Make sure to return everything before departing. This can be a challenge for long-term employees, but churches frequently face financial constraints and rely on the thrift and good faith of their staff.

4. Hand in Letter

Do not forget to sign this letter by hand before submitting it, and keep an extra copy with personal records.

How to Write a Church Resignation Letter

Your letter should consist of a header, an introduction, a paragraph or two to form the body, and a conclusion which includes a valediction. The letter can easily be sent by email or mail, however, a personally delivered notice is generally considered the most professional means to submit your resignation.


The header should simply state the date followed by the contact details of the individual to whom the letter is addressed. Look to our example below for more information.

Example Header

January 2, 2017

Mike Bloomdale
The New Lutheran Church
123 Market Street
Detroit, MI 48002
(555) 555-5555

Dear Pastor Bloomdale,


The introduction paragraph will be used to inform your superior of your intent to leave the church (or other religious group). You will also want to specify the last possible date you’re able to work. In addition to that, you can give a brief statement explaining your decision to leave.

Example Introduction 

This letter is meant to serve as an official notice of my resignation as Youth Pastor of The New Lutheran Church, effective January 16, 2017. This decision has been a difficult one, though I truly believe that this is what’s best for myself and my family.


In the body of the resignation letter, you’ll want to further explain the reason for your resignation. This should be done in a positive way as you don’t want to leave on unfavorable terms which could easily result in a bad reference. It’s not exactly a requirement to mention the personal or emotional state which has lead to your decision to leave although, depending on your circumstances, you could explain your reasoning as long as the overall tone of the letter remains positive.

Example Body

Currently, my wife Sandy has an opportunity to pursue a new and exciting career in fashion which, as you know, has been her dream since she finished her design program in Paris. While my position at the Church has filled my heart with a sense of purpose and belonging, it would be unfitting for me let her pass on this rare opportunity. Therefore, we have decided to move our family to Capital City.

I would like to thank you for all the support you and Linda have given us over the last few years. My transition into the Youth Pastor position wasn’t easy, and you two were always there to lift me up and keep my head above water. I will always be grateful for your guidance.


Your conclusion should reiterate your previous thoughts and leave the reader with an overall sense of positivity. Remember, a good personal reference is crucial when looking for a new position elsewhere, so be sure to not bring up any sentiments which might leave your superior with a sense of bitterness towards your departure.

Example Conclusion

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments that might make this process smoother. Once again, thank you for the opportunity to serve at such a wonderful Church. You and the entire congregation will always be in my prayers.


Jonathan Snow

Sample 1

April 9, 2017

Stuart Tabac
Resurrection Catholic Church
1251 New Avenue
Townville, CA 90121
(123) 123-5555

Dear Father Tabac,

It it with my most sincere regret that I will be stepping down from my position as Worship Leader of Resurrection Catholic Church. This was an unexpected decision which was brought up by the fact that my health has been in question ever since my back surgery last year. Therefore, I will be resigning as of March 1, 2017.

As you know, my back pain has become an issue over the last few months and even more so within the past two weeks. While I wish the pain were such that I could continue serving as head of the worship team in an effective manner, however, I feel that it would be best if took my leave and focused on recovering.

It has been a great experience learning from yourself and the other members of the Church. I have not only become a better leader, but I’ve also grown as a follower of Christ. Thank you for your mentorship throughout this entire process.

Please let me know if there is anything that can be done on my part to find a suitable replacement. I will always be willing to lend a hand whenever possible.

Forever in Christ,

George Smith

Sample 2

May 22, 2017

John M. Smith
The Mission Church
77 Parkway Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85003
(321) 321-5555

Dear Pastor Smith,

Unfortunately, I am writing this letter to present my official resignation as leader of the Foreign Missions Team, effective two weeks from today (June 5, 2017). I have had such an amazing experience serving under your mentorship and instilling the love of Christ into the hearts of hundreds. However, my time with The Mission Church must come to a close.

I have been presented with an opportunity to lead a small group of missionaries in Portugal where, as you know, the presence of God has become less and less prevalent. I have prayed over this decision and I truly believe that this is what God wants me to do.

Your guidance over these past few years has been nothing but a positive impact on my life and on those close to me. I only wish to continue teaching others as you have taught me. Thank you for everything and give my love to your family and the entire congregation.

I look forward to hearing back from you and I wish you all the best.


Danny Collins

Sample 3

December 4, 2017

Bonnie Grant
Big City Church
44 Charles Street
Big City, NY 12000
(555) 555-5555

Dear Pastor Grant,

I have written this letter to inform you that I will be resigning from my position at Big City Church. I have made the decision to pursue a new career in entertainment where I hope to one day act on Broadway. My last day will be December 23, 2017.

My departure might come as some surprise to you as I have always been deeply committed to my position at the Church. However, I feel that at this point in my life I must take a ‘leap of faith’ and follow my dreams.

Your contributions have been appreciated and I will continue to uphold the values I have learned while serving under your leadership. You will always have a place in my heart.

Thank you once again for the opportunity.

Your friend,

Tanya Knowles