Sunday my church celebrated our pastor’s retirement. Charlie Martin has pastored my church for 37 years, and he is now going up to North Carolina to pastor a little mountain church up in the hills, as he puts it.
My husband and I sat in the back of a packed sanctuary and alternately blew our noses and wiped tears from our eyes as so many people told what a blessing Charlie had been to their lives.
He’s been a blessing to us, too. Twenty years ago he interviewed us for the position of middle school pastor-and-wife, and so we moved to Florida, where we’ve been serving alongside Charlie for all those years. We’ve watched his children grow up and now we see them with children of their own. I’ve worked alongside his wife in planning women’s activities, and Charlie and Stephanie will always be precious to us.
Our church, under Charlie’s leadership, has already called and “installed” a new pastor, Jeff Parrish, so the church is humming along quite nicely. We love our new pastor, too, and are looking forward to many more years of service here, Lord willing.
But we’ll miss Charlie and his family. And it is truly heart-warming to see a servant of the Lord humbly accept well-deserved thanks and move on to a new challenge. I’ve never met anyone with a bigger heart for evangelism and inviting people to trust Jesus.
Thank you, Pastor Charlie and Stephanie. We’ll miss you.