To The Ones Who Came Before & The Ones To Come

An excerpt from "I Have Some Things To Tell You: A Pastor Says Goodbye During a Pandemic."


First, a word to the pastors who’ve served this community. Thank you. Thank you for the countless Sundays you rose from your chair and stepped to the front of the room and offered what Spirit stirred up in you. Thank you for the hallway conversations, the narthex side hugs, the long meetings spent caring for this community.


Thank you for the difficult conversations you walked into, knowing they were the right ones for that season. Thank you for walking the lonely road of leadership in seasons when people didn’t have the full story.


Thank you for the questions you asked that stirred up imagination. Thank you for holding up a mirror so these beloved ones could see how God sees them.


Thank you for throwing seeds around with abandon. You never knew which ones would find healthy soil and take root down deep. Or which ones landed, only to be quickly brushed aside.

Thank you for the risks you took, trusting God’s leading in that season. You had no idea what would come next. Still, you took one more step forward and they followed you.


It has been an absolute honor to receive the watering can from you. It’s been so much fun to water and nurture the seeds you planted in this community. I got to watch some people bloom and come alive in these five years, due to seeds you planted decades ago.


I’m so thankful to be in this work together.


Second, a word to the pastors to come. Wow. First, I apologize for the lack of filing abilities. I love people and the idea of organization, but the actual organization of the work? The team saved me every single time. So thanks for your grace on pastoral records from 2015-2020.

Thank you for the work you will do in this place and with these people. They’re amazing. I’m excited you’ll get to water seeds that I helped plant. I’m thankful you’ll throw more seeds with wild abandon.


There are things we worked on in these five years that mean the world to me. I want you to know you have all the freedom in the world to let those things go. If you don’t sense the energy is there and there are new rustlings of the Spirit, follow those!


Thank you for caring for these people I’ve come to love. I’ll miss them dearly. Knowing you’ll stand by their bedside, officiate at their weddings, and welcome their babies gives me unspeakable joy. What a beautiful story that we get to partner together to love this community without serving together at the same time.


Social distanced staff meeting with Pastor Jenny & Pastor Mary

Take them on wild adventures! A few of them may grumble, but I think they secretly liked being stretched and challenged to take big risks. Or at least, that’s the story I’ll tell myself for years to come.


Thank you for teaching them to rest, play, and not save the world all the time. I hope the love of sustainability echoes in their hearts for years to come.


Thank you for taking care of this staff team. They’ve been a highlight of our time here. They’ll cheer you on, offer grace to your flaws, and trust God in you. Feed them well and you’re set.

The leaders in this church community are ridiculously wise. They’ve led this body through challenging seasons and somehow emerged with hope and possibility.


One day, many years from now, I’ll wander the halls of this church building. The memories will come rushing back. I’ll smile. Laugh. Tears will fall. And I’ll remember. All the incredible work that went into these five years and I’ll thank God for the seeds planted, watered, and harvested. I’ll thank God for the people we all got to love for this season.

We thought we were teaching them about the love of God.


Turns out they were teaching us too.


Take care, future lovers of this community. I release them to you. Love them well. It might just be the adventure of a lifetime.

 

 

© 2020 by Jenny Smith

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