This Sunday will mark my final Sunday as pastor of Memorial Baptist Church in Port Arthur. My ministry began on Easter in March of 2008 and will conclude on Christmas. Prior to my time at Memorial I served three different congregations over a ten year period as a youth pastor but the saints at Memorial were the first for me to shepherd as Pastor. I've learned a lot over these last few years, had my share of grief and joy as a pastor, and made friendships that I pray will endure for many years to come. Here are a few thoughts about what I'll especially miss when I move on in 2012:
1. Senior Adults who are excited about learning the Bible. When you are over 70 it is probably easy to assume you've heard it all or learned all you need... and they have heard and learned a lot. I was blessed with senior saints who still had youthful enthusiasm to learn about Christ.
2. Senior Adults who are committed friends. Again, I don't plan to shake loose of these friendships but I won't see them every Sunday and unfortunately church planting rarely draws in the elderly. I'm concerned that my kids won't get to see "old people" worship and learn from them as part of a church family. My wife and I are very sensitive to not wanting our kids thinking youthful strength is more valuable to the Kingdom that long-term, enduring, aged faith.
3. All the behind-the-scenes servants. There are men and women at Memorial who serve and do ministry all the time but never get noticed. They like it that way. They aren't likely to be the ones with titles or those speaking the loudest in business meetings. They just faithfully live out the gospel. I'm thinking of names and faces but if I starting naming them I'd miss one and they don't want to be named anyway.
4. The Sanctuary. Or auditorium. Or worship center. Or whatever is the trendy thing to call the place where the church gathers for worship. I know the church isn't a building but Memorial has a beautiful building that helps set the tone for a reverent time of worship. Go by and check it out sometime. It is in my top ten coolest places of worship.
5. The generous spirit of the congregation. These folks are givers. I'm not just talking about my salary though they did generously meet my family's needs. They are generous, sacrificial and cheerful givers to mission work, local ministry, benevolence ministry, etc etc. I pray Cross Point becomes such a giving church.