when should something be said?
The longer a letter is, the less likely it is to be read with close attention and therefore understanding. Also, there is a saying that "paper never smiles". You
know what you mean, and the spirit in which you mean it; your reader may not grasp your intention in either. It is better and more courteous to deal with breakings of fellowship face to face wherever possible, though I know it can be hard. Not knowing your pastor, I cannot say how he would react to a face to face conversation, but your responsibility is to be the best Christian you can, regardless of his reaction. You should (in my view) speak with him personally, not by phone or in writing. There is probably little point in trying to persuade him of your new convictions, but you should make every effort to make it clear that your reasons for leaving are not personal to do with him, but are a matter of religious conscience. I dare say others have said the same in the many lines of the thread; but if I were still pastor of a Baptist church, I would prefer to be told in a courteous, friendly and personal manner why someone left, rather than being left to guess, and probably to guess wrongly.
Like yourgoodself, I find it easier to express myself in writing, giving myself time to choose and change my wording, but I have often found to my dismay over the years that this approach leads to people completely misunderstanding the meaning or the spirit of my words. I am surprised at the meanings they read into what I have written, but that is the sad fact.
Linguistically, when we speak, 80 percent of our message consists of non-verbal body motions, gestures, and sighs.
The spoken words only convey about 20 percent of our message.
We cannot really convey the truth without our eyes, facial motions, head movements and nods, and arm and body gestures.
If the preacher does not preach .... then how are we to believe.
And then we must consider the ambiguities in our written and/or spoken words.
Our eyes and facial expressions can help correct the natural ambiguities that are present.
Our head motions can also clarify what we are trying to say.
So, yes, a face-to-face meeting might be best, but it also opens up the possibility of a heated argument by one or both sides to challenge what is said. If the convert to another church is not strong, he/she might revert under the influence of a much more educated pastor.