Copied from LBC Mid-Week Informer May 7, 2012
Dear Friends and Family of LBC,
With a heavy heart but a rejoicing spirit, I offer to you my last Mid-Week Informer article. My final day as interim pastor of LBC will be Sunday, May 27, and since I will be out for two weeks on the study tour of Greece and Turkey, this will be my final weekly installment.
When I arrived back in August 2011, only 10 months ago, I found a church in need of love and care. From all accounts, emotions were raw, tension was thick and conflict was brimming on all sides. Walt Browning and Bill Oliver tried to prepare me for the difficult situation the church was facing. I sensed I was coming into a battlefield.
Yet when I arrived, I found something very different. There was an immediate connection between us. I didn’t find a church engaged in battle, I found a people wanting to love their leader. I was told by Walt early on, “Our people want to love their pastor and want to be loved by their pastor.” Those words became the hallmark for what I believed God was calling me to do at LBC – simply love the people.
And you, my dear brothers and sisters, returned that love immediately back upon me and my family. There wasn’t a Sunday or Wednesday that went by where I didn’t “feel the love” in our midst. In our times of worship, in prayer, in Bible study, in meetings, when eating around the table, with the children, the teenagers, the senior adults, the various Sunday school classes, with the staff, the deacons, the ministry teams, everyone showed us amazing, abundant love.
I’ve often been reminded of Paul’s words to the churches in Galatia when thinking about you, my LBC family. He writes, “For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me.” (Gal 4:15b) I think you might have done the same for me if I asked.
Deep love and kindred spirits are hard to come by these days. For that I am so grateful to have shared this time with you. I will look back on our Wednesday night studies with sincere fondness and a smile on my face for every time I made you do something new. I will cherish the times I spent with Pastor Nehemiah & Stephen on our Google+ video conference staff meetings. I will remember with joy walking up and down the aisles on Sunday mornings talking with you, shaking hands, asking how your week has gone. I will continue to celebrate the increase in giving and attendance, the number of children baptized, and the explosion of community awareness and outreach.
Pastor Harold & his family are going to be so blessed because I know you will extend to them the same love you’ve extended to our family. I love each of you and will be praying God’s best for you in the days to come.
Grace and peace, Shane