ONE LAST WORD
How often have you heard it said, “Winstanley is not like any other church I know”?
That is what I was told when I came here as pastor seventeen years ago, and I still believe it to be true.
I know Winstanley is not like any other church I have pastored. With its choir, unique missions focus, openness to the community, and unique collection of believers, so far as I know, it is not like any other Baptist church in the Metro East. To that end it serves a vital role.
It is true that you have different feelings about the shape of worship. You have different musical preferences. You come from a wide geographical area. You have a variety of political opinions. You do not all look or sound alike. Yet all those things mean little, compared to the fact that you all profess faith in Jesus.
Frankly, I am grateful for the mixture of lives that is Winstanley and think that mixture is the way God’s church should be. I value the fact that this family, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, is who it is. To me you sound and look a lot like the church described in Acts 2. You sound like Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
As I depart, I am praying that you will bear in mind this profound biblical truth. Jesus is and wants to be Lord of our individual and collective lives, future, thoughts, and opinions.
Please hear this.
Every one of you is part of this fellowship for a reason. You are not here by accident. God called you here. Every one of you contributes something important and vital to the church. Winstanley would be a diminished body without your presence and your service. You are the congregation’s present and you are its future.
In my judgment, during the coming interim you must keep asking yourselves in what ways you can work together. A church does not exist for what any one of us can get out of it. It exists to serve God, to offer honor and praise to Him, and to minister to the many who do not yet know Him. God is first. Others are second. We are third.
I am praying that you will keep your minds and hearts outward-focused. When God is receiving from His church what the church is supposed to offer, I suspect that the congregation will in return be blessed and grateful. You will realize that God’s Kingdom is even larger than the church.
You can do it, my friends. I love you.
Proud to have been your pastor,