October has been designated “Pastor Appreciation Month” and as usual, you outdid yourselves in making me and Tina feel very appreciated, loved, and cared for! We are grateful for the very generous gift we received and want to make sure you know how deeply we love you!
We also want to take this opportunity to thank all the other pastors around First Church! As a Life Group-based Church, and as one that for a long time has tried to “equip the saints for the work of ministry” rather than hire a few “professionals” to do ministry for the saints, we have quite a long list of pastors—shepherds—in this congregation who do tremendous work and who deserve every bit as much credit and thanks and appreciation as we do…
Would you join us in thanking—publically, privately, and in your prayers—these great shepherds?
Amy Fletcher—our Visitation/Executive pastor
Jennifer Officer—our Children’s/Outreach pastor
Amy Oakley—our Worship pastor
Don and Jackie Ragland—our Life Groups Oversight Pastors
David and Eleanor York—our Youth Pastors
Duane Graves—our Healing and Teaching pastor
Along with our front-line pastors, our Life Group Shepherds:
Donnie and Christy Huff Lucile Hyder
Tom and Christy Windle Trista Whited
Dave and Debra Bliss Charlotte Elder
Lora Atkinson & Tina Green Boone & Monica Eldridge
Michael & Amanda Graff David & Eleanor York
Duane and Diane Graves Chad and Ann Kable
Amy Fletcher Dino and Catherine Cates
Lamar & Sue Burmeister Donald and Betsy Stockton
Jennifer Officer Don and Jackie Ragland
Are there others? Sure! How about Patricia McDonald and John Cahill and David and Shirley Hunley and Steve Linger and Kelly Stover, Denise Robinson, and Cherry Webb. How about Jim and Mary Miller and Dave and Debra Bliss and the Food Ministry? How about our Committee leaders and members… I KNOW I have missed some important names of people who are pastoring with tremendous faithfulness. Still, the point is, let’s celebrate ALL the pastors in our midst!
So is everyone called to be a pastor? No. But in a congregation that functions as the early Church did, there are quite a few folks who are called to shepherd in one form or another and for one season or longer, in some sort of pastoral role. Are there others in this congregation whom God is calling to a place of pastoral leadership? Of course there are. Is there ever a time when those who have been called to a place of pastoral authority can or should retire or step back? Sure—as long as we all understand that no one is ever called to “retire” from Jesus or from His Church! We are ALL called to stay and grow and serve—with a season of leadership as one of the vehicles God uses to mature and refine many—so that ALL of us can grow up in Him who is the Head of the Body, Christ Jesus!