Grateful Just Doesn’t Seem To Say It #TraditionallySouthside

I was just sitting here and felt like I needed to put some words down and I realized this might be a pretty good blog post. It’s a strange kind of blog post, but since it’s my blog, I guess I can post it if I want to. Nobody says anybody has to read it, right? So here it is.

Words are often not adequate to express the emotions that rise up within. For pastors, that is hard to admit. Words are our “bread and butter” so to speak. But to listen to an 80 something year old lady who can barely hear or see talk about wanting to share her testimony or to see the joy in the eyes of someone who has shared her testimony for the first time – these are things that take your breath away. To listen to another woman claim the salvation of a lost young man in a worship service full of people – well that’s just something special. But when I looked out into the congregation this morning while we were singing “Jesus, We Crown You with Praise” and saw a man who on Friday had 3 vertebra in his neck fused together, I could almost not contain myself. What a miracle! It would have been so easy for him to sit at home, but he wanted to come to church to give God the glory for what He had done. I’m telling you, this old pastor could almost not contain his emotions. Glory to God!

Then to come home and start reading through the scores of cards given by our members on this pastor appreciation day was almost too much for me. To the people of Southside, I cannot begin to express my gratitude for your generosity. Once again you have overwhelmed us with your gifts and your very gracious words. This is the ninth pastor appreciation day that we have experienced with you, and I have never received so many cards, and I can tell you that the words have never seemed so heartfelt and sincere. For that, I am deeply grateful. As I said, sometimes what we in the ministry need is a kind word and an arm around our shoulders. Thank you for providing both today.

Today would not have been possible without the hard work of our Hostess and her helpers. Mrs. Sandra Clemons, thank you for all you do for our church. To the Personnel Committee, you went the extra mile this year. Thanks for all you did.

Finally, I am grateful to the Lord for calling me into the ministry and giving me this opportunity to be your pastor for the last nine years. As Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:12, my job is to “equip the saints to do the work of the ministry.” That’s why I have been focusing on ways to share the gospel over these last six weeks because the only true way to grow the church is through evangelism. Anything else is just swapping sheep. Think about it. If we get members from another Baptist church, our church gets larger, but someone else’s church gets smaller. The Church doesn’t really grow. So true Church growth only happens through evangelism. There are some other things that I am going to share tonight in our evening worship, so come and join us at 6 p.m. I really didn’t intend to make this post preachy or an advertisement, but by the way, this is another way to grow the church – come to every service and use every opportunity to invite someone to come to every service. Whew! Anyway, looking forward to seeing you in just a couple of hours.

Thanks again for a great day. I really do love you folks.

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