A few weeks ago, Dr. Rick Wheeler brought a message and challenge to our church and to church planters Neil and Kaytee Jimenez. During his message, he shared his personal story of calling and the point where he "put his yes on the table."
As Christ-followers, we are called to be obedient, to make disciples and serve God in all areas of life. When a follower of Christ is called to serve Him in full-time vocational ministry, the "yes" must remain on the table at all times.
It's easier said than done.
Nevertheless, at the church I serve as Pastor one of our Associate Pastors informed me last Monday of a distinct call by God and an open door of service provided by Him.
Skipper Rodgers is our Associate Pastor of Small Groups and Children and a dear friend. We have served alongside each other for fourteen years. There have been adventures and challenges and God has done wondrous things over these years.
Skipper became our church's very first Children's Pastor and in that role built a ministry that impacted children and families for eternity. The camps, Vacation Bible Schools, recreational activities and other events and ministries Skipper has led for our church have been excellent and his gifts and talents have shined through.
Some of my greatest memories are of us laughing together as we took some time off one day to play baseball inside the church offices (this was while I was serving as Student Pastor. . .and our Senior Pastor was in another building.) It's amazing what can become balls, bats, and bases when you improvise. Other memories from retreats to Colorado, men's retreats in Tennessee and mission trips to Israel are precious for me.
Oh, and I must not forget the time when I was coaching youth soccer at the YMCA and recruited Skipper to be my assistant coach. It was a learning experience for both of us. I coached some years since and he has coached his children as well over the years. However, as I think back to that first season, I'm convinced that the total understanding of soccer and coaching that we collectively held could have fit in a thimble. Yet, our love for kids made it fun and memorable.
It's amazing how God grows a man, a ministry and a family. When Skipper and Tricia were first called to First Baptist Church of Orange Park, they arrived as a couple with a vision and a desire to plant themselves in our church and community. Over the years, God blessed them with children (three boys and two girls) and we have literally been able to watch them grow.
It's a bittersweet moment now, knowing that God has called Skipper away from FBC Orange Park to a new place of service at FBC High Springs.
I will miss having my friend serving alongside me here at First, but understand that the God we serve calls us where He does for His glory.
Skipper put his "yes" on the table and God spoke clearly.
I'm praying for my friend and this new chapter in this adventure called life. His "yes" will remain on the table, I'm sure. In the midst of transition, we are convinced that "the best is yet to come." God has great things ahead of us. . .all of us.