Looking for the Lord to open doors of ministry opportunity for Carol and me has been a labor of love as my federal career transferred us around the country seven times. New communities, new churches, and new opportunities. And that doesn’t even include the forty-six countries I’ve visited on official business … or was it forty-seven? … ahhh, who’s counting. During those years that now seem to have gone by so quickly, I heard the call to ministry, went back to school in my early forties, and began serving local churches in a bi-vocational status.
On several trips overseas I had the opportunity to preach at local community churches. I was blessed by humble people of other nations that were hungry for the Word of God. The Bible was their most prized possession. On other trips, I would bring donated Bibles and hymnals to congregations that didn’t have the finances to purchase the tools of study and worship.
Not long after our arrival in the Tampa Bay area, we were invited to visit First Baptist. After a couple of conversations, I was invited to come on staff and eventually became the Pastor of Senior Adults and then all adults. Inheriting the senior adult program was the work and foresight of Pastor Ray Graves. Taking on the full adult division was actually a surprise gift when I read about it in a Sunday worship guide. I looked at Carol and quietly said, “I guess I just got a promotion of sorts.”
At the end of my Federal career, I was asked to come on staff at FBC full-time and assume the position as your Executive Pastor. That role very quickly evolved into an expanded role during the interim and search periods. At the end of those segments of time, the church rejoiced in the arrival of Pastor Glen
and Lisa. We are now quickly closing in on the two-year mark of having Glen as our Senior Pastor. I’ve always believed and understood that every minister and ministry has a lifespan and period of effectiveness and utility. As church and ministry needs evolve, so do lives of those in ministry. It’s been nearly ten years since Carol and I came to St. Pete and First Baptist. We joke with each other that we’ve never lived in one place so long … we don’t know how to behave! Within a year and change, I will be seventy … WOW!
In order for Carol and me to spend more time together, including travel and home projects, I will be leaving the FBC staff at the end of January 2018. We won’t be leaving the church! We will remain members at FBC though you might not see us sitting together on the front row. I will also continue to teach the Pastor’s Class … so come and visit anytime. You might even occasionally hear that “I think the Lilly’s are in Arizona or Wyoming.” Blessings to all of you …