Play, stop, rewind, and play again

After today, I have one more Sunday in the two churches I’m pastoring. It’s been an amazing journey. I’ve already started cleaning out one of the offices. I’m starting to purge through old books I have.

I have no regrets that I became a pastor. Has it been the easiest thing to do? Nope. Has it been difficult? Sure. Have I seen and experienced shalom? For sure. Have I seen God’s hand in the midst of the lives of God’s people? Yes. Yes. Yes.

It’s pretty wild when you think about it. I get to stand up every Sunday and I get to tell others that God is good and that God is with us and that God stands with us. In a nutshell? I get to tell others good news. In a world where there sometimes isn’t a whole lot of good news. I get to tell others that God loves us in the joys and in the struggles. It’s what I do. It’s what I’ve been called to do. I think it’s kind of cool when people I meet say, “You’re a pastor? You don’t look like a pastor.” I usually ask, “What’s a pastor look like?” One time someone responded, “Old and white.” I laughed.

Since I’ve announced that I was leaving to another church, I’ve been pressing the play button, the stop button, and the rewind button and then pressing play again. I’ve been processing so many things. I’ve shed tears. I’ve laughed. I’ve also prayed for my friends. I’ve reflected on things I’ve done. I’ve reflected on things I wish I would have done. I’ve also pondered things that I would have done differently. I’ve thought about the weddings, memorial services, and the lives of the people I’ve encountered over the years. It’s been almost 8 years. It feels like I’ve been here much longer than 8 years.

Two years ago this month, I’ve had the joy of pastoring, not just one church, but two. I never thought I’d ever be in a place where I can say I’m the pastor of two churches. I’ve had folks ask me, “how have you done it?” I’ve usually responded by saying, “I don’t know.”

How have I done it? Grace. It’s been a whole lot of grace. I’ve been a recipient of grace too. I’ve received grace from people who have allowed me to be part of their lives. People who have listened to me at my best and at my worst. People who have needed me to be there and people who’ve wanted me to just listen to them. How have these two churches remained viable? They’ve remained viable because of people who love God and who love people. No flashy stuff. No staff. Just people. People who have expressed a desire to respond to God’s command to love one another and not to give up the mission in front of them.

I will miss my friends. I will pray for them lots too. I still have one more week. They’ll be our friends for a long time.

I am confident though of this. They’ll be fine, because it’s not about me. It should never be about one person. It’s about God’s people.

It’s about Jesus.

As for my new friends?

See you soon. Praying for you too.

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