I was overwhelmed this week with all of the notes of encouragement from this past Sunday. Thank you for your kind words. You have blessed me more than you’ll know.
Now it’s my turn. So many of you thanked me for what my ministry has meant to you and your family over these last fifteen years, but I want you to know how much you have faithfully ministered to me and my family as well. While these are in no certain order, here are just a few of the ways this community of believers known as Northway has changed my life for the better:
You have faithfully ministered to my family. My kids LOVE coming to church. Not every pastor has the blessing of his wife and children wanting to be involved in the ministry of the church. You have taught my children in preschool, kids, and youth. My oldest two children have embraced the gospel and were baptized at Northway. You have taught my youngest two children eternal truths that will one day lead them to a relationship with the Lord. Katie loves her Home Team and the many friendships she has made since we came to Northway.
You have challenged me to grow spiritually. I’ve talked with many pastors who feel like their spiritual lives have withered during their service as a pastor. My heart breaks for them, especially because I know what they are missing. Over the last fifteen years, you have challenged me to grow spiritually. My faith in and love for the Lord has increased during my years at Northway. Thank you for how you have pushed me to pursue Jesus more and more.
You have patiently allowed me to grow professionally. I was very green and young when I began serving as your pastor. You suffered through my mistakes. You allowed me to fail. There were times that my lack of experience meant that you were getting mediocre sermons and not-the-wisest decisions. However, you were kind, understanding, and more than willing to work alongside me to find the best path forward for Northway.
You haven’t expected perfection. I’ve never felt the pressure to act guarded or superficial. You’ve allowed me to be myself. You’ve seen me chase my kids down the hallway and ride down slides with them. You’ve seen my really bad impression of Billy Joel at our groundbreaking ceremony. You mercifully laughed at my Indiana Jones parody. You’ve accepted me as a fellow believer, with all my warts, struggling to faithfully follow Christ alongside you.
You’ve partnered with me in the vision to reach our city with the gospel. In my opinion, the worst job in the world is to pastor a church in which the members really don’t care about ministering to the community and reaching people with the gospel. I’m so thankful that the Lord has allowed me to shepherd a congregation that firmly believes in the mission to which we’ve been called. This is what gets me out of bed in the morning and motivates me to want to serve you better.
You’ve made Northway a great place to belong. As I’ve often said, even if I weren’t the pastor at Northway but lived in Macon, this is the church I would choose. Not every pastor can honestly say those words.
In closing, thank you for what you’ve faithfully given to me and my family over these last fifteen years. I look forward to a wonderful fifteen more.