Thank You, Corn Creek Baptist Church

Yesterday, standing in the pulpit at Corn Creek Baptist Church, the place where I have stood and preached hundreds of times, I gave one final sermon to the congregation that I have served since late 2003.  Taking Romans 5:6-11 as my text, I proclaimed the love of God for the ungodly revealed in the cross.  After that we shared communion together, had a traditional Baptist potluck, and then said our goodbyes.  My ministry there is now finished.

I thank God for Corn Creek Baptist Church: for its history, its heritage, and most of all, its people.  When I first came to the church as a young seminarian, I felt a bit like I was out of my element.  I’m not the kind of person you would typically associate with a tiny, rural congregation in the middle of nowhere in northern Kentucky.  But early on I convinced myself that I could love these people because God loved them.  And I convinced myself that I could love this place because God had sanctified it to his name.  And through the years, through the experiences, through the ups and downs, through the frustrations and triumphs, I have grown to love this church as I have loved no other church in my life.

Pastoral ministry has made me a better person.  It has humbled me.  It has made me more dependent on God.  It has caused me to love the gospel more.  It has forced me to see the ubiquity of grace in this world.  It has shown me the beauty of the “little places” that I previously ignored.  It has brought me face-to-face with death and with the process of dying.  It has taught me more of what it means to love others.  I will be forever grateful to God that I had the opportunity to become who I am today in large part because a small church in northern Kentucky decided to open itself up to a young seminarian. 

Yesterday after church I came home and mowed my lawn.  Ministry and mowing will always be linked together in my mind because of an illustration that Albert Mohler once gave at a preaching conference that I attended.  He said that when you mow a lawn, you can look at the finished product and enjoy your accomplishment.  But ministry is different.  When you serve a church, you never reach the point where you can sit back and say, “Now, look at that.  Everything has been accomplished.  My work is done.”

After mowing the lawn yesterday, I felt the satisfaction of an accomplished task.  And then I couldn’t help but notice the irony.  Only a few hours before concluding a finished task in my yard, I had concluded an unifinished task in Trimble County, Kentucky.  I had ended my part of the work at a church where the work will continue to go on, day-by-day, year-by-year, until Jesus comes to make his bride spotless.  I don’t have a finished product to show for the last six years.  Nor do I have, at present, a report card from Heaven telling me how I did.  I must go on now, leaving that matter to the day when the fire will test each man’s work.

So thank you, Corn Creek Baptist Church.  One day, sooner than we know, we will all be together again.  And this time it will be forever.

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3 Responses to “Thank You, Corn Creek Baptist Church”

  1. Ali Says:

    A lovely tribute. From the little I know, I’d think they will miss you, Aaron.

  2. fenderpooh Says:

    I know they will, and the feeling is mutual. But they seem to be in good hands now. Several months ago I took the initiative to motivate the church to have a new pastor in place even before I left. They called a new pastor about two weeks ago, and he and I have been working together to make the transition as smooth as possible.

  3. Ali Says:

    Very smart move. It’s not every church that can get a pastor that quickly! Perhaps it’s different in your area considering the number of students nearby.

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