Dear First Baptist Family,
Twenty years ago the Pastor Search Committee of First Baptist Church entered into a dialogue with Joyce and me with God eventually leading us to accept the call to become pastor of First Baptist Church. Through these years, in God’s unmistakable providence and amazing grace, He has confirmed that call time and time again.
It has been an absolutely incredible journey. Words seem so inadequate to express the joy that is ours in sharing life, faith, and ministry with you. We have a deep love for you and have experienced your love for us in walking together as a community of faith. You are very dear to both of us. First Baptist Church today is nothing less than a testimony to God’s faithfulness and the loving commitment of His people!
Last night at a joint meeting with the Deacons and the Executive Council I shared that in seeking the same kind of guidance that originally led us to First Baptist Church both Joyce and I sense God is now leading us to a season of transition in our lives. We will step away from the demands of full time ministry with retirement at the end of September 2013. I will be sharing more about this journey and what God is saying to Joyce and me personally and to us collectively as a church family this coming Sunday, March 10 in both morning worship services.
In August of 2012 I asked five people from the church, Bob Durand, Dick Stratton, Ed Kilby, Sue Cameron and Adam Hargett, to be part of a Discernment Team to help me think through the nature of transition for our church in anticipation of my retirement from full time ministry. We asked many questions, reviewed steps various congregations have taken when a pastor retired, consulted with leaders in churches and pastors who have gone through this kind of transition, and prayed for God’s guidance. All of this has been an effort to learn the best practices to help shepherd our congregation into and through the upcoming transition period.
Two things in particular stood out in our time together: the need for (1) implementing a thoughtful transition plan with a goal to spiritually strengthen and galvanize the congregation during this period and (2) setting an optimal time frame for a healthy transition to take place. From all that we learned, we determined the months between now and September will provide the time needed to develop a healthy and productive process to lead the church through this transition until the call of the next Senior Pastor. I shared what these thoughts and what we learned with the Deacons and the Executive Council in our meeting. The Executive Council will develop and present a transition plan to the church at a later date.
As we take these next steps in our journey together, I’m looking forward to seeing the amazing future God has in store for us, building on our solid foundation in Christ. As His Word says in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” We look forward to the remaining months as we continue with you on mission with God. I am convinced the future of FBC of Asheboro is as bright as the promises of God!
For His Glory and in His Love,
Dr. John S. Rogers