Signing Off

Sometimes there are no words.  None suffice for Sunday evening.  None except, perhaps, “Thank You,” and most definitely, “Thanks be to God.”  

Rarely do pastors experience what Ann, our kids, and I have experienced for these nearly 18 years in Orange City.  God has done a remarkable thing, and we are privileged to have had a front-row seat to God’s marvelous work.  

Pastors function a bit like coaches.  As with most winning teams, coaches get far more credit than they deserve.  These are three observations I made Sunday evening, and I want to leave them as reminders or, as in the case of Joshua, “Standing Stones” of God’s goodness:

PRAYER - It’s all about God

Photo Nov 30, 1 08 28 PM.jpg

I do not know the complete genesis of the prayer cards the church passed out sometime in 1998, before any pastor was interviewed.  But, when Betty Korver pulled her original prayer card out of her Bible last Wednesday, a flood of joyful emotion flowed through my veins.  The prayers of God’s people waft like incense before his throne.  And God hears our prayers.  THANK YOU all for your prayers.

TEAM - It’s all about team

There is no solo success in ministry.  Trinity’s Leadership Teams brought their A-game every single month, leaning in with the staff to leverage vision, planning, and hard work.

The Facility Oversight Team met WEEKLY for nearly 7 years!  That group saw through a vision to it’s completion!

And staff… From my first days with Bev and Karen, to Jeff and Laura, to Jon and Rob, to today’s amazing team, and many in between, God brought some great people together.  “Everything is better when you’re part of a team,” and I’ve been with some of the best.  Thanks, teams!

MISSION - It’s all about the mission

A phrase that I’ve come to use this year is: The mission is great because the stakes are high; the work may be hard, the but the fruit is sweet.

November 20 painted a picture of some fruit I’ve tasted as a 5-generation church follows Jesus together.  We baptized 3 children in 3 families.  During the 8:30 service, Steve and Rebecca Bogaard added child number to their 5th-generation Trinity Family.  Through all the changes in church life, Trinity is still a church for the generations to pass the faith from one to the next.  Thanks be to God!

At 9:50, we baptized the second child for Tom and Angel Clarey.  These two grew up in Orange City, both from families who had moved to the area from elsewhere.  In my mind, their growing up fit with one of our mission statements — raising up faithful servants for the harvest

And at 11:10, Patty Luken brought her grandchild Hope to be baptized.  Patty is Hope’s legal guardian.  Patty lives in Remsen and came to Trinity because another daughter, Breanne.  Breanne lives in Hospers and came to Trinity first with clients at Hope Haven who wanted to come here.  Breanne and Jake decided to come together to Trinity even after her job ended.  I love this story because it represents Trinity’s vision to reach a broader area with the gospel and to be a place where more people feel welcome.  

I end with this story for three reasons:  first, to thank those who were here for the last 18 years — you sacrificed much in resources and preference to see a larger vision become reality.  Second, that it might grant you courage to continuing pursuing a grander vision for God’s glory and the salvation of souls.  And third, to simply testify that “Jesus is worth it.”  Whatever your “it” is for the Kingdom of God, Jesus is worth your sacrifice, your hard work, your prayers, your dedication. 

So, with that, I’ll sign off for now.  I trust God will continue to have our paths cross.  I am no longer your pastor.  God will grant you a new pastoral leader.  But we will continue to be brothers and sisters in God’s family, citizens of a heavenly kingdom, and friends in life’s journey. 

Thank you and Thanks be to God!

Jon

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one while will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you with his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

(Zephaniah 3:17)