That phrase doesn’t begin to convey the deep gratitude and joy that comes to mind as I think of how well you loved us and sent us off into the wild last Sunday. I had the chance to talk with so many people after the service that it made me wish we had a Luau each week. That would’ve been especially nice during those harsh winter months together.
Together. We’ve been together for 10 years. Ten! Lexi, Mac, and Zac have grown up around you and with you. You have loved, supported, cheered on, and been there faithfully in the good times and bad. In fact, you played a big part in helping to make the bad times less bad. As we’ve talked about regularly, only God can truly take bad and make it good. Only Jesus can turn suffering into hope. Only the Spirit can be fully present and divinely helpful in every detail of every challenge.
You are, dear sisters and brothers, the body of Christ. And you have loved and cared for your pastor and his family very very well in the last 10 years. I have been shepherded by you. This reminds us that it is truly the Lord Jesus who leads the church. He “owns” the place, not you or me. It’s just better that way. Plus, it gives us every reason to have nothing but confidence and trust as Renovation moves onward, which it will — to even better days.
If you know my story, you know that I, by God’s grace, have moved forward to better days. As it turns out, I fell in love with the best woman. No, I didn’t mean to, and neither did she, but it seems that this is just what the Lord had for both of us. Now that we’re happily married and are in the process of merging our families, the most important pastoral ministry of my lifetime is unfolding. I am now entrusted with Brittany and her boys, as well as Lexi and my boys. Our kids. Together. With Christ at the center of our marriage, we make a great team. No, it’s not perfect, nor will it be easy, but it will be covered in grace and carried by the promise of redemption, which is all anyone can ask.
Renovation, you prepared me for this new pastoral challenge. Thank you. For the hospital visits, the weddings, funerals, graduation parties, and the sermons. Oh, the sermons. They just went on and on! Thank you for letting me be part of your spiritual formation. I asked Jesus for a chance to lead a church like ours, and he granted that prayer request with flying colors. What continues to surprise me, however, is just how loving and patient you were with me. I came to you as a child and left as a… more mature child? I’m not sure how to measure it, but I do know that you were a big part of my spiritual formation. Thank you.
Lastly, thank you for such a great going away party last week. Britt and I read through the notes and cards and felt loved and heartbroken, held on to and sent off, all at the same time. You’re so gracious and supportive. We know that your prayers and encouragement cheer us on like no other church possibly could. Thank you for your generosity and understanding. It’s time for me to move on, but not time for you to move on. You stay strong, stay together, keep being the faithful, encouraging, generous, and solid church family that you are. Your next pastor is about to find out how amazing a local church in Southwest Michigan can be.
Until then, know that we love you, and that we’re cheering you on.
Don’t’ forget Ephesians 3:20-21.
Adam, Brittany, Lexi, Mac, Carter, Zac, Cameron
PS: Tell the new pastor that their office might need a little space heater this winter. Those windows get a touch drafty.