Originally published in the October 2014 Explorer

“Does ten years as pastor at River Road Church, Baptist seem like a long time, or does it seem brief?”

Over the past several weeks, as I neared and arrived at the ten- year point in my tenure as pastor, that question was posed to me by several church members.

“Both,” is the honest answer.

When I reach back and recall the early weeks of my work, I remember how I staggered under the daunting responsibility of this position. I could not see beyond ten months, much less ten years, of sermons, visits, committees, and plans. After more than 12 years away from the pastorate, it took some time to get back into the rhythms of pastoral ministry.

Texas Tavern, a ten-seat greasy spoon in Roanoke, always posted a sign that read: “We seat a thousand people…ten at a time.” I decided that was the way to approach my tenure here—a day at a time. Not a bad approach, by the way, for any outsized challenge in life.

From the vantage point of September, 2004, ten years is a long time.

But from here, with ten years in the rearview mirror, it seems like no time at all. It has been an honor to be among the company of the four revered pastors who have preceded me in this pastoral office.

I write to express my gratitude for entrusting me with this ministry opportunity, and for the good wishes, patience, encouragement and hard work of this congregation over the past decade. A church is only as vibrant and healthy as the people who make up its membership, which accounts for the excellence that characterizes this fellowship.

The tenth anniversary reception following worship was a memorable event. Vivian and I felt loved and valued by your expressions, tangible and intangible. With reference to the pictures of my life prior to River Road, that was long ago and far away and, had there not been photographic evidence, I would have said it probably never happened!

As I said at the reception, with God’s help, and with your permission, I plan to continue to serve as pastor of River Road Church into God’s unfolding future.