Two and half years ago, FBC found itself in a clearly defined season of transition. Little did I know that I was about to enter into the conversations that would invite me into that season with a transition of my own. In St. Pete, ministerial shifts left areas in urgent need of care and coverage. And into that gap stepped our friend, Karl Mance, offering to do what he could where it was needed. Phil Lilly shared with me the conversation where he asked Karl what he saw himself doing. His response, good soldier that he was and is, was “You don’t have a lot of help here, I just want to support you and help the church wherever I can.” And that he did.
Karl has ministered with students and worked tirelessly with our children, particularly in the Sunday ministry called HiZhouse. Behind the scenes, he has made himself available to provide coverage in the office, manpower to any number of efforts, participated in and led mission trips. He has been a voice of blessing and encouragement to me personally. He has demonstrated a prayerful heart and submissive spirit to the work of God in this church. For that and so much more, I have been and remain grateful.
He has often referred to his role here as “a band-aid” holding things together, a necessary prequel to healing and growth. Indeed he has been. However, in both his life and the life of the ministries he has endeavored to hold together, it is time for a new season. He and I have been in prayerful conversation about this for some time. Part of that transition became clear as we welcomed Aimee Hobbs last week to take hold of children and young family ministry. The rest of that will be revealed this Sunday when we introduce a new minister giving leadership to students and young adults. Together they will give us a carefully designed approach that fosters spiritual development from birth into adulthood, with a strong emphasis upon the partnership between the church and family. That’s the way God designed it and how we want to pursue it as we go forward. The team that will lead FBC into the next era of ministry is more clearly coming together.
This transition comes not only with Karl’s input and awareness, but his blessing. For that I am, again, grateful. In his life, there is another vocational chapter to be written that cannot be until this mantle is laid down. Karl remains committed to this church, its successful transition in children and youth, and is open to how God may use him in other capacities. I can readily think of several areas where he might be a bolstering blessing. That will become clear in time. What is clear now is that we are more than appreciative of his yeoman’s work in holding the front. At the end of next month, he will be relieved of that duty, transitioning, as will we, into a new season of service. Blessings on Karl, the new regime, and the church I am privileged to love and lead.