I recently transitioned from being senior pastor of the historic First Baptist Church in Somerset to my role as president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation. I am still in awe of what God can do through the local church. After 13 years, I have found this move to be very emotional, broadly inspirational and full of gratitude.
Here are five thankful takeaways from a wonderful spiritual experience.
1. Thankful for a supportive wife and family.
Being in ministry isn’t for the faint of heart. The demands on a pastor today can be very great. Living with a supportive wife has been a real blessing to me. Thank you, Rachael. I am also appreciative of my children for living in the glasshouse and doing their best to serve the Lord.
2. Thankful for a great staff.
Every Sunday was a significant event at our church. Planning and executing worship services, conducting weekly programming and promoting spiritual growth is always a work in progress. I was so blessed to have staff members that fulfilled their calling and graciously gave their best for Jesus Christ.
3. Thankful for a church that respected and encouraged pastoral leadership.
No pastor is perfect, but to have served in a church that faithfully listened to the preaching of God’s Word, bountifully gave resources to support the work of Christ and was active in all types of mission projects made for a fulfilling pastorate.
4. Thankful for a congregation that invested in young leaders.
During my season of service, we had the joy of working with many dynamic young leaders. We have watched with joy as several pastors, worship leaders and denominational servants have emerged. The church assisted these young men and women in their educational efforts, mission endeavors and presented meaningful opportunities for each to grow in their faith. I know each young leader expressed their appreciation to the church.
5. Thankful for the Bible.
I found myself in many challenging moments during my pastoral tenure. However, what I always discovered was the power, guidance and truth found in scripture made all the difference. It has become routine for many believers to automatically turn to their favorite author, theologian or personal friend for eternal guidance. That is good, but the Bible is that one true Word that points me on the right path for Jesus Christ. Remember to pick up that Bible and seek His will.
The late Dr. Adrian Rogers said, “The church is not the way to heaven but it is the sign that points to heaven.” As churches begin to reassemble, I encourage you to build the church and support your pastor. The world is now discovering that the church is essential.
French Harmon is president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation.