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Rod’s Ramblings

I'm Passing the Baton ...But I Need Your Help

(An excerpt from a recent sermon)

 

When runners compete in a relay race they carry a stick called a "baton."  The baton is passed from one member of the "team" to the next one after another until the baton has successfully completed the course.  The baton is key. The individual runners are not. If the baton is dropped, or if the handoff from one runner to the next is fumbled, the chances for success are greatly diminished.

Next month I will be "passing the baton" of ministerial leadership to Jeff Randleman.  I am concerned that I pass the baton of leadership to Jeff cleanly. I don't want to "get in the way" of the overall ministry and growth of Parkview Christian Church.  This has been a special concern of mine for some time. It is why I informed the leaders and congregation of my approaching retirement nearly 3 years ago.

In his book, When God Builds a Church, Bob Russell writes, "I have watched closely and have yet to see a retired minister remain in the church he pastored for a long time and not be a burden to his successor."  Likewise, in giving Six Pointers for Leaders Getting Ready to Retire, LeRoy Lawson relates, "In my own case, my wife has insisted with every retirement that I must leave town.  She said that for my sake, for the church's (or college's) sake, and for my successor's sake. ... She gave wise counsel." (Christian Stndard, May 2016)  But Freida and I will continue to make our home in Sedalia.  Parkview will be our church home, and Jeff will be our minister.  So I am especially concerned that I not become an obstacle or detriment to the ministry here.  Will you help me?

Jeff is a scholar, loving husband & father (with 7 children), dedicated minister, and generally good man.  I like him a lot. I know Jeff will have some new ideas, and I welcome them. (After the last 26 years, we could certainly use a few new ideas at Parkview.)  That means there will likely be some changes in methodology and routines. Things will be "different." Let us all remember that while "different" may not at first be "comfortable," it can be helpful, better, more conducive to growth in the long run.  

 So I urge you to be patient with Jeff.  After he arrives, please treat him (not me) as your minister.  Resist the temptation to say, "That's not the way Rodney did things."  If you have problems, prayer needs, and other concerns, call Jeff first.  Ask him to conduct (or at least participate in) your weddings, funerals, baptisms, etc.  I love you all and will continue to be your friend, Christian brother, and fellow worker.  But if I ever start to hinder the church, do what I have often told Freida to do; "Just shoot me."

 

Rodney Brown, (Retiring) Minister

   

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