Wednesday, November 2, 2016


November 3, 2016 "It's been harder for you than you thought it would be." Breakfast with pastor Joe is not an everyday occurrence, but it's always interesting and profitable. This morning was no different. We talked and laughed, two pastors thirty years apart, but one in spirit and love for ministry. A lot of people have been wondering how the transition has been working out at this stage of the game, a little more than two years in. I have to admit, it's been an adjustment going from being in the center of all that's going on to not being in the know. An adjustment, but not a bad thing; I'm learning what it's like to be part of the congregation, which has been quite enlightening. Joe's comment is only partly true. There are adjustments I didn't realize I'd have to make, but not having the weight of leadership responsibility has been worth the trade off. Whenever new leadership takes over, there will be changes. Joe is not Jim, and that's a good thing. He has his own style of leadership, his own vision of ministry. But we both love Jesus Christ, and we both love Park church, and in order for Park church to thrive, it is necessary for me to let go and let him lead. When I officiated at weddings, I often told the parents of the bride and groom that if their children were to succeed in marriage, it was necessary for them to let them go, to release them into the care of someone who could never love them as they love them. That's what it's been like in this transition. Has it been challenging? At times. But seeing the church thrive is worth it. Joe is a good pastor. He is different than me, but after 32 years, it was time to let go. Park needed different leadership, and is blessed to have this man at the helm. "It's been harder than you thought it would be." That was pastor Joe's observation. I'm not one to criticize my pastor, but I think he's wrong on this one. It's different in ways, but I made a decision long ago that I would not be an interfering former pastor. I've seen that happen, and it's never pretty. My role now is support, not leadership, and I am grateful to be retired, and to be able to say, "Joe is MY pastor." He leads in his way, and people are coming to Christ, new leaders are being raised up, and the ministry in Cassadaga Valley is growing. How can I be anything but thankful? Thank God, and thank you, Joe.

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