I’ve said goodbye to some wonderful folk at Mt. Carmel. I’m resigning from pastoral ministry (at least in one place!) Coaching and consulting, teaching and some preaching will be my focus.
I’ll confess to being a bit anxious, and, at the same time, energized.
Working through this experience, I’m discovering that for every exit, there is an entrance. Of course, nothing new here, I’ve always had to give up things in order to get things. But each transition is a challenge, isn’t it?
Faith notwithstanding, it’s still hard, saying goodbye to loved ones, to familiar routines, to a comfortable rhythm.… You can find yourself awash with emotion, feeling alone.
Part of making such a transition a good one is gratitude.
The last 32 years have been all that I could have ever asked or hoped for. Mt. Carmel Baptist Church gave my family every opportunity to serve God and others—which is what I have always felt my spiritual calling to be. I cannot think of a more blessed life than what I have been privileged to lead.
In so many ways it seems like only yesterday that Cindy, Brandon (our oldest, at the time 2 yrs old), and I pulled up into the gravel parking lot to meet new friends for the first time. And now, as I consider all our experiences together, I can hardly remember ever being anywhere but Cross Plains.
As pastor and people we experienced so much together. Our children and their children were born, baptized, graduated, and married here. I have rejoiced as we have welcomed so many into the household of faith. We have laughed and cried, played and worked, worshiped and served, celebrated and mourned with one another. We have enjoyed the simple things of life and worked our way through the challenges along the way. We have always been quick to come alongside one another, hand-to-hand and heart-to-heart as friends and neighbors.
It was Frederick Buechner who reminded us that true Christianity finds itself in the flesh and blood of real life, in our life stories. We have lived out our faith in God together.
As I think about all God has accomplished here I am truly thankful. There’s much to thank God about when it comes to brick and mortar, statistical growth, and ministry staff and programs. But the real accomplishments were Spirit-breathed relationships that made this our home together. That will last a lifetime. Thanks be to God!
Please pray for Cindy and me as we make this transition. We certainly will always remember Mt. Carmel with thanksgiving and praise in our hearts.