This Sunday will be my final Sunday day with you and last time in the pulpit until October 8th. I have been spending this week putting all the final touches on everything that I needed to do before heading out for this time of pastoral renewal. As I finish up these last few moments in the office, I have a couple of final thoughts and requests for you.
First, I hope that you are able to take time out of the upcoming holiday weekend to join us for worship on Sunday. I have a special final message and ritual prepared before I go, and I would love to have your participation and see you one last time.
Secondly, I ask that you show me how great of a church we have while I am away. Please prove that this church is much bigger than just the Senior Pastor. Show me that you will have great attendance in worship and strong, stable financial giving even when the Senior Pastor is away. Besides, this church always has been and always will be bigger than any one person...even the pastor!
Third, I pray that you make use of the many options for renewal that our Fall Programming offers. I hope that while I am away seeking God, spending time in quiet isolation and study, that you, too, will find opportunities for rest and renewal. Pastor Lillie and Pastor Katie have given you some great options to choose from, and they are going to be doing some great preaching on the topic, so please take advantage of those programs.
Finally, and most importantly, I want to say a word of thanks. I want to thank the Pastoral Search Committee who agreed to place this time of renewal in my contract nearly four years ago. I want to further thank the current Board of Directors for ensuring and encouraging me that the church was healthy and that it was in all our best interests for me to actually take this time of renewal that was contracted. And finally, I want to thank you. Since we announced this was happening, I have not had one person question it or complain about it. Without exception I have felt your full support and love, knowing that a rested and spiritually strong pastor was good for everyone. I thank you for ministering to me by so generously giving me this time without any sense of shame or judgement. I am deeply grateful and humbled by your kindness and love.
I am blessed to serve this amazing congregation, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday and returning to you on October 3rd.