Pastor's Blog: “How Can I Say Thanks?”

 |  Pastor's Blog

It’s hard to believe, but this Sunday will be my last as your Senior Minister, and my last Sunday as pastor of a local church. Ten years ago, you extended the high privilege to me of accepting the call to lead a congregation that I have esteemed as exemplary since my college days. I cannot begin to express my gratitude at the opportunity you gave me to serve this great church, and to conclude my pastoral ministry closer to family when they needed Judy and me most.

I am proud of what we have accomplished together over this last decade. The church was in strong shape when I arrived, due to the incredible leadership offered by Dr. Jim Moebes, who was your Senior Minister for 30 years. I wouldn’t have been able to make it for very long without his unquestioned support, and I plan to offer the same to my successor, albeit from long distance. I anticipate a new Senior Minister being named in the coming weeks, and I invite you to join me even now in praying for his ministry. The next year will be a critical one for MBBC, and our Senior Minister will need the same encouragement and affirmation you gave me. I know I am a much better Christian because of my time with you, and I believe that you will offer what your new pastor will require to lead this church to even greater faithfulness. I will let you in on a “trade secret.” Churches make great pastors, not the other way around.

I remind you that our service this Sunday will be a combined one at 10:00 AM. The combined schedule is more for my benefit. Leaving pastoral ministry in general and this church in particular will be difficult enough, but preaching two times on my last Sunday would be emotionally and spiritually challenging. I just hope that by God’s grace I can get through one more Sunday.

What does cause my heart to soar is to know that I leave the church in good hands. For example, we serve a great God. God wants so deeply for this church to do well that He will always raise up the right people in the right places at the right time. That’s how God works. Moreover, we have a faithful membership, who while showing their appreciation for the leadership of all their Senior Ministers, have recognized that it is Jesus who is the head of the church and by following the leadership of the Holy Spirit will move into God’s good future with joy and anticipation. Finally, you truly are blessed with a capable and committed staff. I have never been around a group so talented and dedicated as they. Each of them is ready to stand in the gap and see this church through the upcoming transition, however long it may be.

My last words to you are these: come together, stay the course, and believe the best. I have heard it said that the best measure of someone’s ministry is what takes place months after he has moved on. I fully anticipate hearing good reports from this Mountain Brook Baptist Church, because such expressions of faith are simply consistent with who you are.

It’s been a joy and a privilege to have been your pastor. I don’t know how else to put it but to say as Paul said to the Philippians: “I thank my God every time I remember you” (Phil. 1:3). I only hope you will do the same.