Yesterday was my last day as senior pastor at Providence! Now I am just a member, but I want to be a good one!
When Cathy and I found ourselves with eleven other couples on the threshold of starting a new church in 1978, we could never have predicted what the next 37 years had in store for us! After preaching thousands of sermons, writing several books and articles, traveling hundreds of thousands of miles to speak at conferences here and abroad, baptizing hundreds, marrying hundreds more, counseling those in trouble or in need, comforting those who were bereaved or hurting in some way, sharing the gospel with individuals, small groups or entire congregations, my calling to preach the gospel and to equip the saints for the work of ministry has never left me in search of something to do!
For all the mistakes I made, and the failures I endured, there was never a moment in all those years when I felt any lack of support from you. Don’t get me wrong! There were plenty of antagonists to be found along the way and the sailing was not always smooth. But I always knew that Providence consisted primarily of men and women who loved Christ, loved His Word, loved His church, and yes, loved me as their pastor. How can I thank you properly for all of that? What words of praise can adequately be expressed to a great and glorious Savior, Jesus Christ? Praise and thanksgiving will always be in my heart and on my lips for you and to Him who alone is worthy to be exalted!
Through all of those years, you the people of Providence have extended much grace to me and my family! Thanks for loving my family and for loving me well!
Looking back, some of you I baptized, then officiated at your weddings, dedicated your babies…only to get to do the same thing for your children! Scores of you we ordained to the ministry, hundreds we commissioned to be missionaries, and thousands of others we affirmed to be salt and light in whatever circumstances God has placed you. In this day of short pastoral tenures, who gets to stay in one place long enough to do all of that? Your gracious love and prayers and faithfulness provided a place for us to call home and raise our own family right here.
From a purely practical standpoint, you have also been a generous people. Through four relocations, you stood by the ministry and gave freely so that we have never had debt for more than a few years at any given time. We have met our budget all but a handful of those 37 years. And even then, we managed our spending well and ended the year in the black! That was done without ever compromising our commitment to give sacrificially and gladly to support various missions endeavors around the globe as a gospel centered church should. You have joined me to treasure Christ and make His glory known in your hearts and in all the earth! Thank you for that!!
May the riches of His grace flow freely as Brian Frost excels in his new role. I now get to join you as a member of Providence, loving, supporting and praying for my new pastor. So as I step aside and Brian becomes your Senior Pastor today, my heart is filled with joy and gratitude that I have been your pastor and friend all these years. “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (3 John 4).
As I begin a new phase of ministry as Executive Director of Equipped for Life ministries, continuing to equip the saints for the work of ministry, especially ministry leaders, please pray for me as I will for you! May the grace of Jesus Christ be yours completely!