Three Years in Retrospect
My blogs have been few and far between these days.
I could not go into another Lord’s Day without chronicling the past Lord’s Day celebration. Last week, God blessed us to celebrate three years together as Pastor and People at the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.
I am beyond grateful for the People of Shiloh!!!
The journey thus far has been joyful, amid the natural challenges any congregation experienced along the way. I am sure I have said it more than once – that I have never fathomed Pastoring in Ft. Worth, let alone a church like SMBC. This is not a negative notion at all; but just one of life’s curve balls providentially thrown in my direction. In just one example, my father and mother have been married for over 51 years. She was only 16; and he was 19 years of age. God forbid something should ever happen to my father first. But I contend that no sane man, in his right mind, could ever realistically fill the shoes of a man who has so met the challenge, that I have never even seen my mother pump gasoline into a tank. In like manner, no aspiring young preacher (who has any sense) would initially dream of following a Pastor who has literally set the bar and pastored one congregation for 57 years. It can almost seem that he is doomed for failure. I have always said that this is a recipe for disaster; and that any preacher who does it is a fool. But God….
Three years ago I didn’t know what to expect. It is often said that, at a good church, it will take a leader 5 to 7 years to become THE PASTOR. That is at a good church. While many laypeople are taken aback by this notion, it is actually true. I have yet to determine if that number is greater when considering the tenure of my predecessor. My greatest challenge was trying to get settled while also learning the people and my environment. The culture was changing at Shiloh. Unfortunately, as the new guy, I didn’t know it. It took me some time to learn my congregation, her history, the people who comprise our church, the issues, the strengths, the weaknesses, along with how I fit into making our congregation better; and grow and move forward. In fact, it has taken me three years!!!
In the first three years, the major challenge for me has been patience, by far. God has done a major job on me in the area of just being patient – with myself and even with others. More than this….others being patient with me. The people of Shiloh have been patient with me. With any given (and new) relationship, what keeps us going and flourishing is our love for Christ and our love for one another. We are forever called to love one another; and I pray each day that we walk together until we realize God’s vision for us together.
It is always refreshing to have my friend Rev. Parish Lowery and our sister church, Greater Friendship MBC with us for Pre-Anniversary; and my father with us on Anniversary Sunday. They both did a stellar job of sharing with us God’s Word.
How I thank the Lord for Brenda Jordan, who chaired our celebration this year. The tributes each week were inspiring and touching; and my wife and I enjoyed going through and reading the wonderful notes and seeing the gifts and expressions given by the Shiloh members. It was beyond encouraging.
My personality is always upbeat. But on the day of the celebration I was overwhelmed by who wasn’t there in the room with us. My Uncle, Rev. Lloyd A. Pullam, went home to be with the Lord this past May. He is the one who told me about Shiloh. He was very proud of my being called there. And he is the one who assured me that Shiloh was a good church; and would become great one day once I had ‘a few funerals.’ I miss him so very much. And I shall never forget the seeds he planted in my even realizing the plan God has for me for the remainder of my ministry.
If there are any members of Shiloh who may read this…I LOVE YOU!!! I thank you for your support; and I cherish your prayers and your presence. The best is truly yet to come!!!