I have just learned that some dear friends and folk in our church are going to be moving from the area in the next 6 months.
I’ve known actually for some time that they were moving, but now that a house has been sold and a house has been bought reality sinks in!
This is bittersweet for me! As a friend I am extremely happy for them because they are moving to be close to kids and grandkids. But as a friend and also as a young pastor my heart aches! Since my arrival at The Visalia Seventh-day Adventist Church Chuck & Darlene have been true mentors & friends to me in my ministry.
Yes they are in their 70’s–But I feel like they have as much joy and enthusiasm for ministry and my ministry success as I ever have! Many, many a time I have enjoyed sitting at their feet soaking up their wisdom.
They have always encouraged me even when disagreeing and at times gently correcting me.
They have modeled for me an openness to the will of God in all things, even when that will may push them out of their comfort zone.
They have modeled for me unconditional support to the cause of our Lord through their weekly service to the church, their generous giving to their church, and their unendning love for the people in the church.
A church that has a Chuck and Darlene is far the richer for it.
I think of the young pastors that don’t have Chuck & Darlene in their congregation. I wonder what struggles they face and what challenges they fall to, because of not having the wisdom of years?
I dread to think of ministry here without them and pray for God to send someone in their stead!
As I think tonight about Chuck and Darlene I would give this word of advice to folk out there.
First to young pastors: If you have a Chuck or Darlene in your midst spend time with them. Learn from them, if they rebuke you in love, accept the rebuke. If they disagree with you find out why and see what steps you should have taken so you won’t repeat the mistake in the future. Include them in your leadership team (Darlene is one of my Elders & Chuck sits on our finance team). If they have been at that church for some time, Chuck and Darlene have been in Visalia for almost 40 years, ask them about the history and how things have moved and shook in the past. Most of all thank them as they encourage you and help you to grow as a pastor.
To the elderly in the church: Be gentle counselors to your pastors. Be appropriately critical, but not overly so. Encourage, encourage, encourage. Defend your pastor against the attacks of others in your generation who don’t like things simply because they are “new” and “different.” Embrace change and support your young pastor in that change. And most of all pray for your pastor and let him/her know you are doing so in love!
Chuck and Darlene I’ll miss y’all! If it wasn’t a sin I would covet the new young pastor you will be mentoring!
I love you both, thanks for making the Visalia SDA church and my ministry so rich by gracing us with your love!