I shared this with the incredible leaders of Bay at what I thought was my last board meeting... we came up with another board meeting since then - lol. Much respect and appreciation to some beautiful people.
June 22, 2015
Dear Bay leaders,
These days I find myself grasping for words rich enough to give substance to the gratitude I feel for each one of you. Some people feel sorry for me when they hear I am a pastor. Others have horror stories of pastoral ministry. I would be lying if I said the journey as a whole has had no challenges. But I am deeply glad to say that serving alongside each of you has been one of the richest blessings in my life. I love my job, and you have made pastoring Bay such a joy.
This month as I looked back on fifteen years at Bay, I have wept tears of gratitude as I thanked God for you. Thank you for giving your time, your money, your prayers, and your love. Thank you for walking with God. Thank you for making disciples. Thank you for making Christ's mission your mission. Thank you for standing in unity. Thank you for all the things you do in secret for God that no one knows but him. He will honor you richly.
More personally, thank you for being friends and being family to me and to my family. This move to Scotland is exciting, an adventure, dreams fulfilled. It's also hard to make, and one of the biggest reasons isn't the stuff we leave behind - it's that we are saying goodbye to such good people. If it were just up to me I wouldn't want this to end. But going is God's will and I know his will is good - in fact, best - so I wouldn't have it any other way. One consolation is the hope that we will come to know people in Scotland who are perhaps nearly as good as the folks we leave behind at Bay!
It might be scary or odd, anyway, to carry on for a season without a senior pastor. I am trusting our Shepherd Jesus to lead you well. I am asking Christ to release an extra measure of leadership gifting among you which makes you more than equal to the task, as you rely on him, the Head of the Church.
My family and I are deeply grateful for your prayers and support as we take this new step of faith. We are trusting God for greater fruit in our lives and in our beautiful Bay Community Church family as we each follow Jesus into the future he has prepared for us.
As you press forward together to know Jesus and make him known, let me encourage you to cherish the fellowship you have with one another. In the words of Dietrich Bonheoffer,
"Therefore let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God's grace from the bottom of his heart." (Life Together).
And in the words of Jesus,
John 17:20–21 (NIV)
20“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me."
He has started this good work in you, and he will finish it (Phil 1:6). Glory to God.