I, Shannon, an apostle of Jesus Christ, bring you greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior. I thank God every time I remember you for your enduring love and perseverance throughout the years. Your goodness proceeds you and I pray that it always will.
It’s pretty easy to write like Paul isn’t it? Declare who you are in the name of Christ and offer thanks. It’s a fairly standard structure to open a Biblical letter. It’s easy to write like Paul but not easy to live like Paul.
Paul left a prominent role as a Pharisee in order to spread the gospel as the world’s first church planter. Because of him and his bringing the hope of the gospel to the Gentiles, we have a faith to be thankful for. He left behind a legacy for which we can build a foundation upon.
My high school had a tradition with graduating seniors. Each year our school newspaper would publish a “last will and testament” of each of the seniors. We got to choose the content (although it was edited as needed). We left things to our friends like:
- Our lucky pens that helped us survive AP English.
- Our eternal gratitude to the teacher who graded on the curve.
- Our memories of early morning study sessions that were also last-minute studying.
- Advice on what to eat and not eat from the cafeteria.
It was filled with humorous and heartfelt items, both tangible and intangible. So in the spirit of leaving behind the wisdom of a Pauline letter and/or a graduating high schooler… I offer the following:
- To the staff: I leave each of you a special tumbler as a reminder that we all work with legends, and we are called to be one as well. You do work every day that I’ll always remember as legendary.
- To Sean Robinson: I leave you with two memes and a challenge:
- To Matt Stone: I leave you my “Awesome Citation” awards and the regret that I didn’t get more time working with you. You are one of the best senior pastors I have ever worked with, and it is my goal to take much of your example with me.
- To Kids Ministry volunteers: an endless supply of patience and tchotchkes. You make faith come alive for our kids with each object lesson you deliver. You answer a plethora of unanswerable questions. You make a difference for the future…which also makes you a time traveler. Way to go!
- To Student Ministry volunteers: I leave you with a six pack of Coke. You’ll need the sugar and caffeine to make it through future lock-ins, Road Rules, retreats, and late-night text messages. Keep up the good work…the future needs it!
- To Group Leaders: a magnet. You are what keeps people connected and coming back. You facilitate life among people who need abundant life.
- To those who asked the question, “When are you getting your own church?”: I leave a voice recorder. I was listening then. It may have taken awhile but it finally sunk in. Feel free to record that message for future pastors and remind them often that you asked!
- To everyone who calls PTCUMC home: an example for living. Be like Paul…Thank God every time you remember one another. Every. Time.
You will always be a part of me and for that I am truly grateful.
“I thank my God every time I remember you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.”