The First Five and Those Who Follow

I have a confession to make. As the new pastor of Memorial Baptist Church I must say, the church's conference room gives me the heebie-jeebies. It's not the paint or the furniture, and it's certainly not the people, our great staff and dedicated lay leaders. But I do have that uncomfortable feeling of being watched. You see, there on the walls hang the large portraits of my predecessors, five stately gentlemen who invested much of their lives and ministries in this fine church. It's a thoughtful and entirely appropriate way to remember their faithful service, yet it does give me pause.

During our first staff meeting I found myself wondering how those men felt on their first day as pastor of Memorial. Most sobering of all was the thought that some day in the distant future, my big smiling mug will be up there, too.

It seems to me that there are two groups of people who should always have our attention: those who we follow and those who follow us. May we never forget that someone went before us, some bold spirit blazed the trail, and what we have today is due to the hard work and sacrifice of others. We all have big shoes to fill.

But even more critical is our responsibility to those who come after us. Someone, someday, will inherit our efforts and move into whatever world we leave behind. Come to think of it, my picture is already hanging on the wall at First Baptist Church in Sedalia. Before long, another pastor will be putting his books on the shelf and his name on the church sign. I hope and pray that I have left a strong and sturdy foundation on which to build.

Those we follow and those who follow us - God bless them all.


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