A week ago I submitted my resignation to First Baptist Church, Ridgway, Illinois. My last official day will be May 31. So, we will be moving to the Alton, Illinois area, where we will plant a church in East Alton. It’s a bittersweet experience. We are excited to begin a new phase of ministry as church planters, but I’m going to miss the Ridgway FBC family.
Twenty-two years ago I came to southern Illinois to serve as the Director of Missions for Saline Baptist Association. I spent nineteen years in that role. During that time I got to know the Ridgway FBC family and developed a closer relationship with them when I first served six months as their interim pastor. I made some real friends during that time and fell in love with the church family. When they called their next pastor I knew he would be serving a great church.
Several years later the pastor resigned to serve another church in Illinois and, again, the church asked me to serve as their interim. I served six months again and then became their pastor shortly after my interim with them was completed.
Two great interims were followed by a great pastorate. When I became their pastor I assumed I would spend ten years with them and then retire. God had a different plan. About a year and a half into my pastorate he began to speak to me about another change in my life. So, after three years as their pastor, I’m off to plant a church in East Alton.
Ridgway FBC isn’t a perfect church. I don’t know of one that is. But they’ve been a perfect church for me. They have loved me and allowed me to share God’s word with them every Sunday for almost three years. I’ve ministered to them and been ministered to by them. We’ve been family, and that’s why I’m going to miss them.