It was sometime in the spring of 2011 that I received a phone call from the search committee at FBC Tishomingo, wondering if I would be able to come down and speak with them. I replied that I would be glad to, right as soon as I figured out where Tishomingo was. Even after spending most of my life in Oklahoma, I don't think I had ever been here before. I found that Tishomingo was not on the way to anywhere, and that you had to be going here to get here. I guess that's why once I came I just decided to stay. I came in view of call and my first official Sunday was Easter, April 24, 2011.
God has been good to me and my family and blessed our time here immensely. I didn't know how hard it would be to stay here this long, and I didn't know how much of a blessing it would be either. It's only by God's grace that I have been able to stay here and continue to minister. As I reflected over the last 10 years I also put together a few statistics about my time here. Although most of the stats revolve around Sunday morning, there are so many other things that I get to do as pastor.
For most of my 10 years I preached Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. When we take weather, summer breaks, and vacations into consideration I'm positive I've preached over 1k sermons at FBC Tishomingo.
In those 1,000+ sermons we have covered completely the books of:
- 1 Peter
- 1 John
And covered in part the books most of the other books including:
- 1 and 2 Kings
- Song of Songs
- 1 Corinthians
- 1 Timothy
I have spent about 3 full months of those 10 years at camps, almost 90 days. I have spent over 10 weeks in VBS, been to countless Noonday meals at the BCM, and been a part of too many fellowships to count. I wish I had kept track of the funerals and hospital visits more closely, but by my count it's over 4 dozen funerals and a dozen or so weddings. There have been almost four dozen baptisms, and too many birthdays, school plays, football games, FCA, and so many other events. We have given almost $20k to the Lottie Moon Missions offering, over $50k to the SBC Cooperative Program, and supported the Food Bank, the BCM, the Ministerial Alliance, and many other local ministries. We have fed the teachers, fed the football team, fed many sports teams at Murray State, fed students from over 2 dozen different countries, and so much more. We like to feed people it seems!
My family has grown and shrank in that time. At least three of those funerals were for my own grandparents. When I came I had two daughters and now I have three. The Lord gives and takes away. I've shed tears with members in hospitals, celebrated at new births, buried spouses married 70 years and renewed vows for another couple on their 50th. I have shared meals, visited at houses, hospitals, ball fields, and grave yard. I have counseled, encouraged, rebuked, and exhorted. Sometimes all in the same visit! I started and finished a masters degree, led the Ministerial Alliance and local Association, and led the church on mission trips near and far.
If there is a season for everything under the sun, then over these 10 years I feel like I have seen all the seasons. I have even lived and pastored through one pandemic. That number is not the largest but it feels like the biggest of them all!
Too much reflection can be dangerous for the soul, but in the right amounts like this it reminds me over and over of how good God has been to me. Praise God for his mercies that are new every morning.
I can't wait to see what God has in store next. Tishomingo is home to my family. Hannah started pre-k when we came and now she's a varsity cheerleader. Elizabeth was barely on year old and starts 6th grade next fall. Miah makes our life and church full of joy and laughter.
Through all of these things, one thing has remained the same. I have had one wife, one partner, one person to cry with, laugh with, and get mad with. Sara has been at my side through all of these things, and I couldn't have done it without her.
Praise God for his wonderful gifts. Praise God for allowing me to be pastor here and for this flock he has given me care of. I know I have failed in so many ways, but by God's grace we can look to the future together. I can't wait.