Well, this is probably old news to many of you reading this. I announced to everyone at the congregational meeting Sunday evening that I will retire from full-time ministry at the end of 2016. Evidently, posting this makes it official.
I told the elders this last fall about my plans. We decided the best venue for the announcement was the congregational meeting held Sunday evening, February 21, 2016. I know that it is somewhat unusual to announce retirement so far in advance. Hopefully, this will give us a chance to find a new lead minister in a timely manner. The goal is to have as seamless change of ministers as possible. This will also give the new minister some time to help with the move to the new building, should God let us do that. The elders have already started the process by defining what LCC needs in a lead minister and a group of our elders is in the initial stages of searching for the new guy. There is a possibility that the new minister may be here before I leave and then the transition would indeed be smooth. Please be in prayer for these elders and the search.
Why retire? Well, I am not retiring from ministry just full-time ministry. I am tired — long days and often several weeks without a full day off have taken a toll. I have been preaching for 48 years. Most of those years I have been responsible for a church’s weekly sermon. My first sermon was in the Topeka (Kansas) Rescue Mission. Then as a student I preached in really small churches that had no regular minister. I stayed in one of those churches for 39 years. That was the Rossville (Kansas) Christian Church. When we left Kansas the church had a full time senior minister, a full time associate (a talented youth minister) and a very gifted director of children’s ministry.
Another reason I am retiring is that Longview Christian Church needs a younger man leading her. The elders are searching for a lead minister who can lead with vision and communicate well with all ages.
Vickie and I are not leaving Longview. This is our home. It was about this time of year seven years ago when the move to LCC became possible. We hope to continue to worship and serve at LCC. We both hope to continue to teach people about Jesus’ love for them and help them have a deeper understanding of God’s Word. I also want to spend more time ministering to the Longview Fire Department as chaplain.
And then there is the to-do list. I have projects to finish and hobbies I really want to spend more time doing. Maybe, Vickie and I can even get some more camping and fishing done. We have such fond memories of camping trips from years past and we both love being outdoors.
More than anything, we want to know what God wants us to do with this new phase of our lives. Neither one of us has ever looked forward to retirement as unending vacation. As long as we have the ability, we want to serve our Lord. Vickie and I both have a life time of walking with and trusting Jesus that we want to share that with others.
At the end of old Western movies the lead cowboy could be seen riding off on his trusty horse into the sunset—his job done. I don’t think that is the case with me. Ministry isn’t over until the One who called both Vickie (wife and sidekick) and me into it, says it is.
Besides, I would rather ride a motorcycle.