The president of Moody Bible Institute, Dr. Michael J. Easley, announced Wednesday that he will be resigning next month for health reasons.
Easley, 51, said in a letter written to the Moody community that he made his decision after "much thought, prayer, and consultation."
Last November, he took a medical leave of absence to have surgery on his ailing back and has since found it hard to fully engage in duties.
"Surgery has already once interrupted my tenure for several weeks, and unfortunately it has become clear that more treatment is required," wrote Easley. "I have come to the difficult conclusion that under the circumstances I cannot be as effective a President as the Institute deserves."
His resignation from the Chicago-based school will be effective at the end of June. The board said it will begin the search for a new president immediately.
Easley, however, has agreed to serve as President Emeritus through the 2009 school year.
Jerry Jenkins, the chairman of the Board said the board is "disappointed" to see Easley go. "He is a man of unique gifts who has greatly benefited the ministry here," he said.
Meanwhile, chief operating officer Ed Cannon will handle the business side of the Office of the President while dean of Education Dr. Charles Dyer will assume the role as a spiritual leader, according to the school.
Easley joined Moody Bible Institute, known for sponsoring the first non-commercial Christian radio station in America, in early 2005. Before, he had served as a senior pastor of Immanuel Bible Church, a large suburban church in Virginia. He was also a national conference speaker with FamilyLife marriage conferences.