On my very first Sunday with you, two years ago, I preached on Philippians 1:1-11. We focused on Paul’s affirmation from verse 6, “I am confidant in this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” I shared that there are lots of “good churches” out there. These churches are busy working for God. But, what is needed in this world is a great church. The great church works with God. The Philippians understood it was God who brought results. We are co-workers with God in ministry. This takes more than the pastor. Being a great church takes more than you as an individual. It takes everyone relentlessly insisting on nothing less then God’s vision. But, this is
really nothing new for you. You have been busy working with God for a long time.
At the very first worship service of Tomoka United Methodist Church, held at Tomoka Elementary School, the newspaper said, “Tomoka announced its intention to become a vital part of the community.” The church decided from day one to be a great church.
In this time of transition, as I share my last worship service on June 11, and Rev. Jose Carrion begins in worship with you on July 2, the challenge is on you, the church, to hold fast to the vision to continue to be a vital part of the community. I have faith you will because this is who you have always been.
Words cannot express the deep gratitude and privilege I feel for serving alongside you all. We have shared our life and deepest part of ourselves through worship, community, service, friendship, and growth. Many of you have taught me so much about leadership, business operations, and ministry. You welcomed our son Sam in the world, showered him with gifts, and celebrated his baptism. You nurtured a safe place for our daughter Addison to embrace the faith. You cultivated a love for communion in her young heart. You gave my wife Melanie space to form a community of young moms, giving her the friendships she needed and desired. My time with you was short, but the impact you made on my family, my ministry, and my life is priceless. Thank you for following Jesus, and modeling a true Christian Community.
I am grateful for Rev. Sharon Dey providing worship leadership and care in the interim before Pastor Jose arrives. You can reach Pastor Sharon through the church office. Pastor Sharon will be leading from Monday, June 12 through Saturday July 1.
Deeply thankful to have journeyed with you,