My Last Newsletter Article

May 14, 2018

I’m having a lot of last experiences as the pastor of a church, and I’m finding those moments to be very gratifying. I don’t want to convey the idea that I haven’t gleaned a lot of satisfaction from my work as the preacher, but I’d be lying if I didn’t own up to being pretty giddy about having a new life with less responsibility. I don’t think of myself as an irresponsible person, but I take my responsibilities seriously, and I’m ready to have fewer of them. I’ve been on duty for 31.5 years, and I’m looking forward to not being the person in charge of an important institution.

Maybe my problem is that I never quite mastered the perfect balance between feeling responsible for the wellbeing of a church and trusting that God’s truth will prevail either through me or in spite of me. I like to think I’ve operated with a sense of trust in God, but I never really wanted to be the obstacle God had to find a way to work around, so I’ve always felt the full weight of a sacred responsibility.

I believe we have different work to do at different times of our lives, and as surely as I felt called into the work of professional ministry I’m currently feeling called out of it. It’s a subtle voice that we hear from God, but I believe God finds ways to guide our hearts and minds. God’s direction isn’t always as clear as we would like for it to be, and I’ve certainly experienced extended periods of time in the fog, but we also have moments of clarity and this is such a period for me.

I’m happy that you will be receiving a pastor who is at the relative beginning of his work in ministry. In fact, Jeremy has recently had his calling for ministry confirmed by the Arkansas Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, and he will be ordained as an Elder in the United Methodist Church at Annual Conference in Hot Springs this year. The service will be on Tuesday evening, June 19, if any of you are able to attend. This is a special time in his life, and I’m glad you will be the church that he first serves with this significant affirmation.

I feel blessed to have been your pastor. I couldn’t have asked for a more gracious church to have served for the past 3 years, and I will enter retirement with great fondness for Newport and this community of faith. I cherish all of the ways you have shown appreciation for my work. I feel that my time here has been well spent, and while it may seem that I’m leaving prematurely I assure you that the time is right. I’m leaving the role of professional ministry, but I’m not abandoning the call to serve God and my neighbor, and I look forward to seeing the form that this will take. I also trust that new things are in store for this church, and I will be paying attention to the ways in which you continue this work to which we have all been called. I genuinely wish you well, and I look forward to seeing you every now and then. This is my final newsletter article, but it’s not my final breath.

God bless you and keep you!





2 Responses to “My Last Newsletter Article”

  1. Earl Says:

    Wonderful obviously from your heart and soul. Happy trails to you and yours.

  2. Jack Williams Says:

    Thompson, Well said.  Love, Jack  

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