Growing up I would often ask my home pastor what his favorite verse of scripture was and he would tell me, “and it came to pass.” This phase of scripture occurs numerous times in the Hebrew Bible and can arguably be one of the most repeated phrases in the entire Christian Bible. My home pastor Wayne Taylor would continue this phrase by stating “and it came to pass in the process of time.” His point to me was things always change, and nothing is constant. Well today it has come to pass, today will be my last Sunday as an associate pastor at Lea Joyner United Methodist Church it marks the ending of a beautiful season of life for my family and I.
When I was only sixteen, I was called into ordained ministry while attending a United Methodist Church. I was mentored, encouraged, and supported by an incredible group of colleagues over the past ten years. Two of these great men are Rev. Wayne Taylor and Rev. Ben McGehee these men have been wonderful friends, mentors, and colleagues who have supported me through the good times and the bad.
This Sunday also marks the end of an eight-year season for me as the direct pastor in charge of youth and children’s ministries and this season marks the end of my formal relationship with the United Methodist Church. It also changes my relationships with many wonderful friends and colleagues who continue to serve faithfully as pastors in The United Methodist Church.
This season marks a new beginning for my family and I as we venture back to South Florida where I have accepted my first solo pastorate at Living Word Lutheran Church in Lantana, FL. It marks a new beginning as I relearn what it means to be a pastor, teacher, and leader in a new denomination called The Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ. It marks a new beginning as I venture into a new theological family and embrace new ideas, concepts, and understandings in how ministry ought to be done.
My family and I are excited as we begin this new adventure filled with uncertainty but also with amazing clarity. As we begin this new adventure, we ask for your prayers and thoughts as we begin our ministry with this new congregation, new community, and new denomination.
Be filled with Christ and his peace,
Pastor Richard Blue
If you are interested in learning more about The Lutheran Congregations in Misison for Christ go to http://www.lcmc.net/
On March 1st, I got out of my comfort zone and took a leap of faith. I left my home, family, and my stability to pursue a position at Lea Joyner United Methodist Church. This decision for this move was not an easy one for several reasons my parents just moved to LaBelle on January 1st, we had great jobs as teachers, and we owned a beautiful home.
However, I took a leap of faith, and I got out of my comfort zone because I knew I was not being obedient to God’s call on my life. I knew that I was not called to be a teacher. My mother remembers me telling her when I was ten years old “I was going to be the pastor, and live in the country.” Even though I do not remember this conversation with her, God was preparing my heart even then.
Although this move is incredibly hard and in fact, my family and I are still in the midst of processing this transition. We all know this is God’s calling on my life, and within that call comes acceptance of the sacrifice.
I figured when I would start my first appointment I would be a “big boy” have my small church somewhere in the middle of nowhere. However, God sure has a sense of humor see six years ago or so I was told by then the associate pastor of Saint Francisville United Methodist Church “that I would really like Monroe.”
That Pastor is now the Senior Pastor of Lea Joyner UMC, and here I am in Monroe serving as one of his associates. The irony in this is beyond anything I could have imagined. I also would have never guessed that I would be serving as a pastor serving Youth and Children. However, on July 1st, I will transition from being a director to a pastor. Nothing really will change in how I approach ministry, other than I now can baptize students, serve communion, and maybe perform a wedding of a few of my former kids.
However, in reality, it changes everything that I do. It makes me want to strive to do better than I have done anywhere else, it keeps me accountable not only to my Senior Pastor but also to the District Superintendent, The Bishop, and the Board of Ordained Ministry, it gives me the freedom to grow as pastor and learn in ways I have not been able to until this point. Most importantly it allows me the opportunity to grow in my personal faith.
I am excited that God has given me this opportunity to continue along the path of ministry which I admit I ventured off for a while. I am excited to be at a place where I have the opportunity to learn, and despite the hard things that won’t go away, I can walk by faith and not by sight.
And in 15 more days, I will be reunited with my wife and son. For only God knows what will take place in the months to come, but here I am.