October 14, 2010
I love living in Maryland for a lot of reasons, primarily because God has called me to serve Him here, which in and of itself should be and is for me more than enough reason to love it. Every reason I can come up with beyond the call of God is icing on the proverbial cake. I’ve come to embrace our field of service in so many ways over the last 21 months mainly because of relationships we’re establishing and it’s wonderful to have access to so many regional interests. It doesn’t hurt to have a great football team to root for in the Ravens and I enjoy seeing the team spirit as purple becomes the order of the day. (This is especially good for me seeing the Cowboys are currently in the cellar!)
One of the things I love about Maryland is the true four season climate we enjoy here. Reasonable winters with enough snow (or as in last winter an abundance of snow) to enjoy, but then it goes away. A gorgeous springtime as trees blossom with beauty that is difficult to describe. How can you not love seeing those cherry trees in front of the church in full bloom? Nice hot summers to enjoy the water in the pool, on the lake, the bay or the beach with sky blue cloudless days for extended periods and rain when needed to cool off and replenish the soil. And now we’re entering fall. Cooler mornings and evenings, training myself to remember to take a jacket out to watch my boys play football and the leaves begin their turning process. Each day reveals more color and each bend in the road reveals another splash of beauty. Raking leaves at my house is another story altogether!
The point is to some extent, as seasons we love go by like summer, there is a degree of sadness which takes place but our Lord brings the new season for us to embrace and look forward to for its own unique blessings and benefits. I’ve learned through my ministry there are definite seasons in the life of the church as well. New eras and periods on the horizon but with the fading of one season there is a degree of sadness that goes along with it. With Dr. Carter’s retirement after 20 years of faithful ministry, Dr. Jackson’s steady transitional interim ministry, and my arrival and efforts to get up to speed with a new system and church family, many changes afoot, and your kind patience with me as your new pastor; we’ve been in an extended season of change. One of the reasons from my perspective my transition to Calvary has been so smooth and such a blessing is because of the steady, faithful and wise ministry of our Associate Pastor Bob Brown. Bob has helped me learn the church DNA, helped me understand some dynamics I couldn’t have known had he not given me insight. He’s provided me with a completely opposite perspective I may not have considered which has helped me and our staff make wise decisions and plans.
By the time you read this article, Bob has notified the church of God’s call upon his life to pursue a new ministry opportunity. He personally shared with me his call to this and how the Lord orchestrated his being accepted into a chaplain internship in York, Pa., at the hospital there. Obviously this represents a huge change of seasons for us at Calvary and for Bob and Jenny. On one hand we are sad because they have both been tremendous servants here to our Lord and church family. On the other hand we are excited for Bob and Jenny as this will be a great blessing to their family and their future. I want us as a church family to see this call upon Bob’s life as a great thing for the work of God’s Kingdom. To my kingdom way of thinking, I see Bob going as a missionary to a new field of harvest. I can totally see Bob in this role as I’ve watched his pastoral care and how he thrives in this environment. I have no doubt that Bob will see many people come to know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because of his care for them and witness to them. The wonderful news for all of us is we’re partners together in ministry and we’re sending the Browns out as missionaries to the hospital and medical community along with all the patients and their families. We’ll have a church wide reception for Bob and Jenny on Sunday night Oct. 31st immediately after our church in conference business meeting to celebrate God’s working in their lives.
I’ve also been notified formally by our Administrative Secretary Jean Carr that she plans to retire at the end of the year. Jean has served Calvary for 18 years and had told the personnel committee when hired for the position she currently holds she’d serve for 2 years so we’ve known her plans for some time. No doubt as we draw closer to her retirement we’ll honor her service and ministry in a special way.
For several months already, I believe the Lord’s guidance has been preparing us for these staff changes. I’ve been working with the personnel committee to rewrite Bob’s job description and divide the multitude of responsibilities he carries. We were already in the planning stages of adding a family and discipleship pastor to our team because of our growth and intentional desire to reach and disciple young families. God’s timing is perfect and we can be confident as He’s calling Bob to a new field of service and prompting Jean to retire; He already knows what His Bride at Calvary is in need of and He will make known to us His will as we seek His direction for these positions. The job descriptions may in fact look completely different to what we’ve had but we have a marvelous team serving on our personnel committee and I’m confident in God’s provision for us as a church family. I’m also confident that you’ll encourage and support the Browns and Jean and that you’ll begin now to pray for them and our church family as we walk through this season of change together. I echo the sentiments of the Psalmist in Psalm 118:23 “This was the LORD'S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.” The changing of the seasons can be a beautiful thing to behold if we see it as the Lord’s doing. It is marvelous in my eyes from my little corner of the world to yours…Pastor Ralph Green
Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church www.calvarybelair.com