The following is the letter I presented to the Tyndale family on March 2nd, announcing my decision to step down as Tyndale’s president.
March 2, 2014
Dear Tyndale Family,
Within the past year, my family and I have thoughtfully and prayerfully arrived at a very difficult decision, and in late 2013 I met with Tyndale’s board and confirmed that after eight years serving as Tyndale’s president, I would be stepping down in the Spring of 2014. Tyndale’s leadership has always been so gracious and supportive. While they expressed their desire that I remain and emphasized their willingness to facilitate that, they understood and respected the need for the decision – a decision that is now being formally announced (and will be effective May 26).
From the first day I began to teach at Tyndale, back in 1997, I had no idea how long we would be able to continue in service there; Cathy and I simply sought to meet the opportunities God put in front of us each day. We recognized the (especially) financial challenges associated with serving at Tyndale, and left Tyndale for about five years to build a base from which we could operate and later return to service at Tyndale. When we did return in early 2005, we had prepared for the challenges associated with service at Tyndale, but really still had no idea how long we would be able to continue. One day passed, and then another, and nearly a decade later we look back and see God’s marvelous provision over these years. We don’t regret a single day of our time at Tyndale, but still, in service there is usually sacrifice. Over these past years we have neglected some family financial needs that now need our attention, and it is simply time for us – as good stewards – to prioritize some of these things.
It might be helpful for me to include a bit of context. At Tyndale, I, and those working with me have developed and installed a business model for Tyndale that has been instrumental in Tyndale’s financial health and ability to grant tuition-free education (e.g., through the TMP Program, scholarships, prison ministry, etc.), and to respond to needs as we see them. That model depends on the service of many people, and is by design simply not capable of competitive financial compensation for anyone serving there. Despite obvious disadvantages, that model is a core element, I believe, of Tyndale’s success to this point. And that model – at least for now – should be guarded rather than compromised. So, as my family’s needs surpass Tyndale’s ability to support us, it is a simple fact of one chapter’s end and another’s beginning.
Obviously, this move has absolutely nothing to do with any disagreement, controversy, or problem within the leadership at Tyndale – none exists. I have never seen such committed, strong, and united leadership as Tyndale has, and I am thankful that even though my role is changing, we will always be partners in His service. This move, very simply, has to do with my family responsibilities – and even in that, this decision is not a response to problems, it is simply a proactive effort to maintain faithfulness in stewardship. There are seasons in life for all of us, and for my family this is a seasonal shift. God is good, regardless of the season.
What’s Next For Tyndale?
I am thankful that the board followed my recommendation that Dr. Patrick Belvill, Tyndale’s current Vice President, be appointed as Tyndale’s next president, and I am equally thankful that Dr. Belvill has accepted that appointment. He has been such a godly friend and co-laborer in ministry for as long as I have known him. He is of high character, is wholly committed to the Lord and to His word. Patrick has understanding of Tyndale’s past and vision for Tyndale’s future. In addition to all these things, he has essentially been running Tyndale’s operations for several years now, so under his leadership Tyndale won’t miss a beat. I would serve under him anytime, anywhere.
Still, a quality organization is never about any one person, and that is true in Tyndale’s case. There are many areas in which I believe Tyndale has done well, and in all of those aspects God has provided both the opportunity and the people necessary to meet the need. That same team of people that has exhibited strong commitment to excellence in His service is not only largely intact, but stronger than ever. It is evident that Tyndale is healthier than it has ever been, and is poised to move forward, maintaining the same values and standards it always has.
What’s Next For Me?
While I don’t have specific plans beyond continuing my speaking and teaching schedule and beyond implementing the succession plan at Tyndale over the next few months, I certainly desire to continue working with churches and schools around the world, teaching and consulting (encouraging), participating in conferences and classes. I will pursue continued research, teaching and writing in an academic setting as God allows opportunity; and, of course, I expect to remain involved in the local church – whether in a pastoral role or in whatever other role God provides.
In the short term, I look forward to remaining at Tyndale in a faculty and support role until the Lord opens other doors. Please keep my family and me in your prayers for His wisdom and provision as we continue in His service, and please continue to support Tyndale with your prayers and your resources. Supporting Tyndale is a remarkable investment – one of the very best my family and I have ever made.
Always in Him,
Christopher Cone, Th.D, Ph.D
(Soon to be Former) President
Tyndale Theological Seminary and Biblical Institute