In July 1998, I arrived as the fresh-faced new pastor of Richview. I was scared and excited, and like every new pastor, I had no idea what lay ahead.
Thirteen years later, we've been through many highs and lows together. I've been stretched in ways I couldn't have imagined. I've preached, counseled, prayed, baptized, married and buried and done all the things that pastors do. My oldest child has grown from a young child to a beautiful young adult. My son, born at Richview, is now in Junior High. It's hard to know where the time (and my hair) has gone.
And now it's time to leave. You don't leave family easily or without pain. It hurts. David Hansen writes:
Saying goodbye is part of life, maybe the most important part. It is certainly one of the most difficult things we ever do. I don't imagine this goodbye-saying will be easy. But the goal, what we are really looking forward to -- and it will come eventually -- is the gratitude to God we will feel for the many years we have been granted to be friends in Christ. And that is what you all are to me, dear, dear friends. (The Art of Pastoring)
I am profoundly grateful to Richview for the years we have spent together. And while I'm excited about the future -- more on that later -- I am finding it hard to say goodbye. Thanks to my church, my family, for their love all these years. It's marked us, and we'll never be the same.