Dino Rizzo, lead pastor of Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge, La., told his congregation Sunday morning that he and his wife, DeLynn, were resigning from their positions as pastors of the church.
"We feel it is best that we step down as pastors today," Dino told the congregation during the first morning service on Sunday, according to The Advocate. He and his wife, who served as a co-pastor, believe God is moving them into "a new season" of their lives, he said, although he did not share any specific plans as to what they will do with their futures.
"Over these last two months, I've needed a lot of mercy and a lot of grace," said Rizzo. "To those I have disappointed, I want to say forgive me. I'm sorry if I've ever disappointed you as pastor."
In July, Healing Place's spirituality board had the Rizzos take a sabbatical "for healing, reflection and restoration of spirit, soul and body," the board said in a statement, according to The Advocate. Rizzo indicated in his farewell speech that around that time he was "depleted" both spiritually and physically, and "did not make good choices as a dad, as a husband, as a leader."
"To keep our family as a priority and to continue keeping on with what Jesus wants us to do, we feel it's best to step down and resign as your pastors today," Rizzo said. "This is our choice – no one has asked us to do this."
Acknowledging the lack of clarity provided by the Rizzos as to why they were stepping down, Chris Hodges, an overseer of Healing Place and pastor of Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Ala., asked the congregation to just accept that the seven overseers of the church know the whole situation.
"We're going to take care of them and we're going to take care of you. Trust me," said Hodges during Sunday's service.
The Rizzos founded Healing Place Church in 1993. The church has been named to Outreach Magazine's list of the top 25 most innovative churches in the country, and is attended by over 6,000 people across all of the church's campuses.
Dino is also a co-founder of the Association of Related Churches, an organization founded in 2000 that seeks to support both church plants and established churches alike, and is the author of Servolution: Starting a Church Revolution Through Serving.
Several well-known evangelical leaders have offered their support for the Rizzos via Twitter since their resignation.
"We love you @dinorizzo & @delynnrizzo," tweeted Steven Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C.
Geoff Surratt, director of the church planting resource organization Exponential, tweeted, "I'm hurting and praying for @dinorizzo and the Healing Place family today. We don't need details, we just need to love them."
The Christian Post was unable to reach a spokesperson from Healing Place Church before the time of publication.