Simple. Missional. Stewarding.
And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.
Your calling of me as pastor on August 15th, 2021, was a surreal moment in my life. I want to thank each of you who voted in confidence of my leadership. I expected to be headed for home by the time you concluded your deliberations; our family was still in the parking lot as you filed out. It was an unexpected joy to hear your excitement, energy, and laughter, to see your smiles, and hold your embraces and love, as you wished our family blessings. I will always remember those minutes and the wonder of a moment not anticipated.
I never set out to become a pastor, calling my own shot so to speak. Instead, the LORD gently pulled me over several decades, initially reluctantly, changing me piece by piece, turning my heart towards the hurting. My family and others closest to me noticed it first, well before I understood the change. In their words, I was increasingly “different”. Hearing them tell their perspectives leaves me empathizing how confusing, and alluring, the change must have been from their front row seat. I was in midst of an accelerating corporate career when “dad” began listening more earnestly, asking for forgiveness more vulnerably, loving his wife more tenderly, hosting others openly in our home, shedding tears that flowed surprisingly. I also began reading my Bible honestly, not simply doing “the time”, praying that God would illuminate it and make it real, practical, and whole to me. The migration towards “new self” was underway. I smile, remembering well, all glory to God, the ups and the downs, the twists and the turns, the whole journey to pastoring and Audubon.
I prayed continuously during those years. The LORD answered me often with encouragement in His Word, a well-timed spoken word from a friend, the countless notes received from this very congregation, drawings from children created during the sermon, and through the uttered prayers, hopes, and affirmations of a father and mother. He also answered me this way – with purpose around three words – Simple, Missional, Stewarding. Those words give insight to me; you will increasingly see them on our website and other print materials. More importantly, you will hear them from me and, plan fully, experience them as we journey as a church in the park. I hope that you will ask me about them; I hope that you catch them in action; I am passionate about each one.
The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians that we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. While you have called me to be your pastor, let us agree that Audubon is His church, we are His people, and He has put us together, each and every member important and valued, and necessary, if we are to grow up in every way into Him, our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, today is more than my calling. This is our calling. I love our church. Audubon Baptist Church, a church in the park.
His grace upon grace,