This past Sunday marked my eight year as the pastor of Central Baptist Church. A couple years ago Palmyra became the longest location in which I’ve lived since college, and its certainly the longest I’ve been part of a congregation! Ten years is usually the mark at which we’d naturally reflect, but I’m say, “The nether-regions with the tyranny of logic-based ten count thinking! Who needs Metric!?” Actually, at eight years I’ve now been here longer than my predecessor, so I figured it’s a good time as any to look back.
When I got here my kids weren’t out of diapers — now my oldest is (too) quickly encroaching on teenage-Dom and my youngest is not far behind. There were little kids here when I arrived who are now in college, and college students who are now married (and home-owners). It’s been a wild ride, I can’t believe how much has changed in eight short years. We’ve gone from two services, over which people fought, to one where people enjoy the wide sampling of worship styles we employ (mostly music, but also the wider liturgy). We’ve gone from overhead projectors to digital projectors. We’ve gone from tapes to podcasts. We’ve said goodbye to some cherished ministries which had run their course well and said hello to new ministries which are just managing to find their strides. Many people have moved on from Central (too many from death), and many new people have come in. This is not the same congregation which called me here eight years ago. For that matter, I’m not the same pastor who received a call here eight years ago! We’re, together, in a much healthier place.
Eight years in, however, we’re still just getting started with what we’re called to be and do together:
- We need to continue working on follow-through — we come up with some great ideas which never actually happen.
- We need to train ourselves to be specific with our targets, so we can know if we’ve hit them, instead of giving ourselves the “out” of being vague.
- We need to continue our training our hearts and minds and souls for worship and service, so we will know how to ask each other the questions which which we need to wrestle.
We’ve come so far, and if we continue to be faithful we’ll go even farther! I’m humbled to be the pastor of theCentral Baptist Church of Riverton-Palmyra. Thanks for letting me be on this journey!