Today’s post is an excerpt from my Friday E-note from January 11th, 2019 celebrating my friend and partner in ministry, Dr. Jim Conner.
I hope you had the chance to read yesterday’s note from our Executive Pastor Dr. Jim Conner. Jim shared that after 42 years of pastoral ministry he has made the decision to retire from full-time pastoral ministry effective July 1st, 2019. If you did not get a chance to read that, you can do so here.
We have had the joy of having Jim as a part of our pastoral staff since July 1st of 2016. In January of that year when our Bishop made me aware that our former Senior Pastor, Rev. Mike Ramsdell, would be stepping into a larger role with our Annual Conference leadership, Jim was one of the first names I thought of as someone who would bring incredible value to our church.
At that time I shared that, after having the honor of working alongside Pastor Mike for 11 years, no one would miss Mike more than me. He was more than a colleague. He was and is my mentor. No one has shaped my life as a pastor more than Mike.
I knew that no one could possibly replace him for us, but I had confidence that Jim’s gifts and graces would serve us well in a time of great transition.
I also knew that he was someone I could trust.
Someone you would quickly grow to love.
A leader who would positively impact our church.
Jim has shared many times that you have been an unexpected blessing in his life, but he has certainly been an incredible blessing in our life together as well.
We have a few more steps to take, but in 2019 we expect to begin a significant expansion project that will launch us into the next great chapter of our remarkable church’s story.
None of that would have been possible without Jim and his leadership.
Prior to coming, he had shared that he would want to retire sooner than many might expect in order to spend time with his two sons and his mom who is still living in Chicago. But he added,
“For as long as we serve together, I will do all I can to support you in your leadership of this church.”
Jim has been everything I expected he would be and more. His wisdom and counsel has been an invaluable gift.
He has been and will continue to be a great and dear friend.
Jim finished his note yesterday by saying, “Now is not the time for goodbyes. We still have work to do,” which we do.
Before he officially retires, I hope we are able to capture an image that I believe would be a perfect expression of his ministry here – a picture of Jim with a shovel participating in the official groundbreaking on the future we believe God has called us to pursue.
God knew that we needed Jim.
And as God’s provision has been faithful in the past, I know that will continue for our future as well.