I want to give praise to the Lord for the provision of the new pastor at Berean Baptist Church in Grand Blanc, Michigan. After spending nearly 36 years at Berean Baptist Church it was not an easy decision for Mary and me to pull up our roots and move south. Mary and I have poured the best years of our lives into our dear Berean family. I have made sacrifices, tried to serve faithfully, and sought to walk with the Lord in the spirit of grace, kindness, and holiness. As I have reflected on these precious years spent here in the service of our Lord I have been concerned that those who follow me will do a good job of loving the people, feeding their souls, and caring for the flock. Many times when a pastor leaves the church often suffers through a long process of trying to find the right man to replace the previous minister. It is often a time of confusion and division. I was well aware of this and at least tried to prepare our church and its leaders for a transition. However, the Lord had other plans. Once a search committee was formed I made it a matter of prayer and fasting to encourage them to find the right person to come in after me. It became apparent to me that the Lord had His man chosen in Eric Maynard. After the church had come to a decision to pursue Eric I had a wonderful spirit of peace that came over me. Mary and I took a couple of days and went up north to rest and spend some time on the great lakes. I commented several times as I drove up there that I was so very pleased with the choice of Eric Maynard and his wife Julie. The joy was full and I knew if the church chose him he would be a gentle, gracious, kind, and Christ-like pastor. When people desire to be in the office of the pastor they must be godly, spiritual and gracious men. The church needs bold leadership in these days in which we live. But that also means that those who lead the church in these days need to have the spirit of Christ about them. To me, Eric has that quality. Those who serve in the office of the New Testament Pastor must be patient, reasonable, kind and gracious men. It is with a deep sense of joy and satisfaction that I can depart and have confidence that the church is going to be in very good hands.
When I came to Berean back in 1982 I was taking the torch from a brother in Christ and was going to be serving in the pulpit that he labored in for the past 13 years. It is an awesome thing to follow another godly shepherd and to try serve in the pulpit he so faithfully labored in for those many years before. A pastor must seek to build upon the foundation that others have laid who have gone before him. Let me encourage all of our Berean family to get behind your new pastor. Pray for him daily. Seek for opportunities to be an encouragement to him. We are entering a period of history in the West and in our country that will surely be one of the most trying times in the history of our church and in our own personal lives. Now more than ever the church must be vigilant, Spirit-filled, and gospel-centered. The Lord has given you a shepherd. He is a shepherd. He is called to lead you and to feed you. Don't follow the hirelings, the voices of false prophets, or the wolves in sheep's clothing. In the years to come, they will arrive on the scene as Paul the apostle predicted in Acts chapter 20. You have your shepherd. Follow pastor Eric as he is following Christ. Your new pastor is not a novice. He is a seasoned minister who has been faithful for many years already. Praise God for him, encourage him, pray for him, and protect him. Don't let anyone harm your pastor. A pastor is a gift from the Lord. Cherish this precious gift. I have no doubts that Eric will faithfully feed and lead you. Be of good courage dear Bereans. The best is yet to come.
God bless and care for you all,
Yours in Christ,