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The Pastor’s Pen

Well, how’s the note-writing going?

As I confessed this past Sunday during worship, I’m way behind. I’ll catch up for sure, but it’s important to be mindful that this is grace offered and not something for which to beat ourselves up about if we don’t do things perfectly or right on time. Indeed, that sort of negative pressure can sink the whole project!

On Sunday I challenged everyone to write someone from the past—maybe decades ago—that has been the source of incredible blessing. Maybe a teacher or coach comes to mind. Maybe an aunt or uncle. It’s not too hard to think of people who have provided us with deep grace and blessing over the course of our lives.

This particular type of thank you note is extremely relevant for me this week. I received word that Dr. Steve Shapard is retiring from ministry in the Memphis Conference after more than 40 years of faithful service. I had the privilege of serving as Steve’s associate pastor for four years during my seminary studies at Memphis Theological Seminary. While my primary responsibilities focused on youth ministry, Steve was generous in letting me preach frequently and practice other pastoral duties. He showed patience and grace when I made mistakes, and more than any other pastor, helped to form me vocationally.

You better believe that Steve will receive one of my 365 notes. In fact, his retirement has made me aware that there are others from that period of my life I need to write as well.

Whom are you writing this week? Who is it to whom you need to go back and say thank you?

We’ll talk more about this Sunday!