As has been announced, Pastor Leonard is completing his employment as the Co-Lead Pastor at the end of June. He will be sharing a few memories and reflections on our website during the next few weeks.
July 1, 1995 was my first official day as King Road Church’s youth pastor. Yes, that’s correct. I started my first job post college on a stat holiday. I have been on staff at King Road for 21 of the past 25 years (the other 4 years were when I completed my graduate studies while serving as a volunteer here at King Road). A quarter century is a long time.
For today’s reflection, I am drawn to the word “People.” I love the way the Apostle Peter states it in 1 Peter 2:9:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
People. I have so many memories associated with people. And this is great, because the church is people. And the people of King Road have played a huge part in making me who I am today. As I am sitting here at my computer, name after name and name is popping into mind. I wonder if anyone has any idea of how many different people my path has crossed here at King Road during these 25 years. Who wants to count, or guess?
Pastors. I specifically think back to a long list of pastors who mentored me, taught me the ropes, supported me, challenged me, believed in me. For some of you long-term King Roaders, this question should be easier: how many pastors have I served alongside of while on staff at King Road? (I’ll give you time to guess, and reminisce…but I will share the answer soon.)
Partners. Okay, I’ll admit I needed to find a 3rd word that alliterates with people and pastors. But perhaps partners is the best word to use anyway. I think of so many partners in the ministry with whom I’ve served, whether formally or informally. And this is what fills my heart with joy. Yes, joy! Not every memory or experience was positive or easy, but my understanding of the church as the “priesthood of all believers” leads me to be so thankful for the partnership we’ve had, whether for 25 years or a mere few months. Everyone of you has had an impact on my life, and for that I’m grateful. Very grateful.
Allow me to conclude with a challenge. Over our years at King Road, Bonnie and I have been a part of several different care groups. These smaller settings have been opportunities to develop friendships, to practically care for each other, to laugh and to cry together, and to grow in our understanding of who God is and what He is calling us to be and to do. I have two questions for everyone who is reading this. The first one is similar to the earlier ones: with how many different people have we been in a care group? But the second one is the important one: are you intentionally gathering with a small group of believers to be, learn, grow, and serve together?
Whether you’ve been at King Road longer than me, or you’ve just arrived, step out and connect with others. Do it. Take the risk, regardless of how introverted you are. Invite someone over. Give someone a call. Connect. I think the way of the future for the church is to be intentional about gathering in small groups.
Feel free to share any people memories you have of my time with me (or with others). I’d appreciate that!
PS Who knows what year the above picture was taken?