Monday, April 18, 2005

On Retirement

My pastor retired after 30 years in ministry at the same church. Yesterday was his last day and I can't explain the well of emotions that were dug up. This post comes from the blog I share with my students. It may not make much sense, not knowing our church or situation, but I wanted to share none the less. On Pastor Don's Retirement: Building the Kingdom of God on earth is a HUGE task and responsibility. Pastor Don has shown me that it's best done 1 person at a time. As much as I'd love to "preach to the masses," be a part of an incredible revival movement, be swept away in a era of extraordinary evangelism, I realize God will use me to make more impact, more change, more reform, and more disciples by simply being ME. Pastor Don set the examble of loving people, no matter who, compassionately and unconditionally, listening to their hearts, sharing their joys, successes, failures, fears, regrets and sorrows. What a legacy. Trinity baptist church has a firm foundation because God used Pastor Don to show people what it means to love God and Love People. I really wish you could know Pastor Don like I do. I worked with him, saw his many hours in homes and hospitals, saw his desire to lead people to Christ, and no, he didn't even use a "method" of sharing the gospel. He just shared as God lead. There will be a HUGE void with Pastor Don's retirement, one that won't be easy to fill. The pulpit can be filled, the office can be filled, the schedule can be filled, but the care, compassion, concern, and love; that's going to be hard to fill. If you missed Sunday morning, you missed incredible WORSHIP. It was NOT all about Don, It was all about God and His Glory. If you missed the retirement banquet, you missed the honoring of a humble servant who was overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity and love. The order of the Palmetto, numerous community resolutions, recognition by leaders and friends, and even a letter from President Bush. I was amazed. Don was more than a preacher, more than a boss. He was MY Pastor. He baptised me, counseled me, helped solidify my call in the ministry, gave a great reference on my resume, married me and Kim, checked up on me through the years, and invited me back to serve beside him. He called the house about 10PM the night we found out about Kim's miscarriage and spoke words of comfort and peace. The glory of God will be seen in many years to come because of the faithfullness of this man. I could only hope I will also be found so faithful.


Jim S. said...

I'm in the same boat. My pastor is 75 years old, he's been pastor of this church for 10 years and was pastor of the church I grew up in for 25. We are at the beginning of a building program which at the end of, our pastor will retire. It will be a shock when he announces it. But he has ministered for over 50 years and frankly it's getting physically taxing on him.

Men like this may retire from the pulpit but they don't retire from church service. Something many of our senior adults could learn from!

Renee said...

When we lived in TN our preacher retired and it was SO hard! My mom still goes to the church and now they have a new pastor that they have learned to love. I'll be praying for all your church family!:-)*HUG*