The General Secretary of the Methodist Church, the Reverend Dr Martyn Atkins, is to step down from his post in August 2015.
Dr Atkins, who is also Secretary of the Methodist Conference, is moving on after seven years in the role.
In a statement, he said the decision had been made over a period of time and "in a spirit of prayerful discernment", and would "offer a handful of years to a further appointment of some sort prior to retirement".
Dr Atkins said he would work the remainder of his post as Methodist General Secretary with "integrity, vigour and passion".
"Many months of hard work still lie ahead ... indeed there may well now be an even greater sense of urgency about my work in relation to those issues about which I believe progress and transformation is critical to the life of our Connexion at the present time," he said.
"This work will continue to be enabled by my close colleagues who are among the finest and hardworking people it has been my pleasure to know, and to whom the Connexion and this Council should rightly be proud and care for.
"It has been - and will remain for some time yet - a deep privilege to serve Christ, among the people called Methodists and beyond, through this significant appointment. Thank you."
Connexional Secretary Doug Swanney invited prayers for Martyn and wife Helen as they take the next steps on their journey of discipleship.
"We are hugely grateful for Martyn's faithful service to the Church and look forward to seeing what more he will bring in the final year of his work in this role," he said.