Twenty-three years ago this week, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, I became your Pastor. It was the beginning of an absolutely wonderful journey with our Lord and the Eastern Hills Baptist family. Now it is time for me to share with you some words about our future.
Some of you know that my ministry as a Pastor is not only my twenty-three years here, but twenty-two years before that. In fact, it was in June forty-five years ago I became Pastor of a small church in Alexander City, Alabama. From there God led me to Huntsville and following those years to First Baptist, Clanton, where we served prior to coming here. Additionally, I was licensed and doing Youth Ministry over six years prior to being a Pastor. I have now served just over half my whole full-time ministry here and have been the Pastor more than one-third the history of this church.
I have not lost my love for preaching or ministry. However, after much prayerful consideration over the past year, I believe it is time for me to transition into retirement from the rigorous schedule and daily responsibilities which go with full-time ministry. We are blessed with a fine team of ministers and support staff who have been such an integral part of my ministry here as well as good friends.
This certainly has not been an easy decision. As you know, I have a deep love and appreciation for this church and felt God wanted me to complete my full-time ministry here with you. If I had it to do all over again, this is still the place I would have wanted to serve.
Words are not adequate to express the joy, blessing, comfort and support you have been to Judy and me through all the moments of our lives while serving here. When we came here there was just Judy and me with our three children. You were with us through the passing of our parents and the marriages of our children. Now we are blessed grandparents of seven precious grandchildren and one due in August.
I also want you to know that my decision does not mean we are leaving you. This is the church home for our family. Judy and I look forward to continuing our membership here as Montgomery will be our home.
My final Sunday in the pulpit as Pastor will be September 24, 2017, the last Sunday of this church year, with the official date of my retirement October 31st following accrued vacation time.
Let me add just one other word which is also important for you to know. I will support whatever the church wishes to do in electing a Pastor Search Committee, whether before or after September. I want to make it clear that even though this will be our home church, I will not be involved in the selection process of who serves on that committee or of the next Pastor. But just as much I want you to know, whoever the Lord leads to this church as the next Pastor will have my full support and prayer.
I realize this may seem sudden to you, but it has not been without much prayer. Let’s not make this a sad time, but rather, one of gratitude about how God has blessed us as a Pastor and people through the years. Let us not look back, but forward. I pray that God will in His time gloriously bless this church with a new Pastor and for those days to become some of the greatest in the history of our church.