Dear Church Family,

Kay and I began our 29th year of ministry with you in April. We were honored and grateful to the Lord when you called us to come live among you and pastor this wonderful church. We have been blessed through these years as we have seen God work through outreach and ministry beyond our ability and means.

The Lord led us as a church to start the Butler Thrift Store and help begin the Butler Food Pantry. Our goal was not just to help with the material and physical needs of people in Bates County, but to also share with everyone who came through the doors the wonderful Good News of Jesus Christ.

Later, the Lord led our church family to start the outreach ministry of Judgement House. God has used this effort to share the Gospel and see many souls come to a saving knowledge of Jesus.

The Awana ministry was begun to minister to children and families in our area. For over fifteen years we have seen God use this ministry to share the Gospel. Awana has also led children to know and live by God’s Word.

The youth ministry has been used by the Lord to disciple and involve the next generation in ministry and missions through our church family and beyond. The youth are not just the leaders of the church tomorrow, they can and are being used by the Lord now. They have helped in the nursery, gone on mission trips, helped with Awanas, VBS, parts in the choir and acting in Christmas and Easter dramas, leadership positions at Kamp Keirsey, and the Lord has called some into Christian ministry.

The music ministry has reached out to our community through playing at tent revivals, caroling at Christmas, music programs at Christmas and Easter, the Christmas Parade and other ministries. They weekly lead us in worshipping the Lord together through worship and praise.

The Bible Study ministry is anchoring its members to the Word of God and reinforcing a biblical world view among the class members. The Lord has also led the church to develop a Mentoring ministry where we can directly fulfill our call to disciple those who have accepted Christ as Savior and Lord.

Most of all, we feel blessed in knowing and loving you, our church family, through these years. You have supported the ministries the church has been involved in, and you have supported Kay and I through some wonderful times and some very difficult times. When the Lord took Cathy and Ashley home to be with Him, you were wonderful in your expressions of love, comfort and care. You were God’s instruments to minister to us, and we will always be grateful, and love you for it.

I have been praying for the Lord’s direction for several months now. I believe it is time for me to retire and step aside as pastor of First Baptist Church. My last day as pastor will be June 30th. Until then, I will work with our staff, our deacons, and pertinent committees to facilitate a smooth transition. We are not quitting the ministry that the Lord has called us to. Kay and I plan to fulfill a dream of traveling and going on short-term mission trips. I will continue to fill the pulpit and do interim ministry as the Lord leads. We anticipate continuing to be members of First Baptist.

We know that our Lord will be faithful and give us a fruitful ministry during our retirement years. After 50 years of serving the Lord, we are excited to see where the Lord leads us next, and what He does in the years ahead through the ministry of First Baptist Church.

We were blessed when you called us to First Baptist a little over 28 years ago. We knew it was God’s will at that time and have never regretted the decision in all these years. We have loved serving here with you.

You have encouraged us and followed the Lord’s leadership as we have sought the Lord’s direction together. You have forgiven my failings and overlooked my shortcomings. I could not have asked for more. I have nothing in my heart for you but love and gratitude to God for the opportunity He has given me to be your pastor. For any lasting good that has been accomplished, to God alone be the glory!

As always, we cherish your prayers. In conclusion, my thoughts are summed up in this passage of Scripture that means so much to me. Acts 20:32.