"Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;
not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” 1 Peter 5:2-4
Dear members of Trinity,
Before heading to the seminary, my pastor said to me, “Noah, when I think of what a pastor should be, I think of whom I would want at the bedside of my grandmother as she lives her final days on this earth…a caring and compassionate pastor who brings the Word of God to her and sings the timeless hymns of faith to her.” This stuck with me throughout my seminary studies and now as I have served as your pastor.
To be the shepherd my pastor spoke of, one must be willing to sacrifice oneself out of love for others. He must be willing to do this not out of compulsion, but eagerly, not complaining. Not looking for fame or fortune, not domineering over the flock, but in compassion and love for the flock God has entrusted to his care.
It has truly been my honor to be your pastor the past two years. I have loved being your pastor, more than words can describe. For this I thank you for affording me this opportunity.
Over the past couple years, you have trusted me to walk with you through your lives. You have permitted me to celebrate with you the accomplishments and joys of life. You have welcomed me into your homes. You have trusted me to be at your bedside in your time of need and when the time of death drew near for your family members. And it has been my honor to bring the most precious Word of God to you and to sing the great hymns of comfort for you and your families during these times.
The verse above is one that is often spoken at ordinations. It outlines what a pastor is to be. Undoubtedly, I have failed in areas at one point or another during my time at Trinity. These moments provided opportunity for growth and maturity as an under-shepherd of the Chief Shepherd. They have afforded opportunities for confession and absolution among pastor and church. For your patience, kindness, and understanding, I thank you.
In just a few days, my family prepares to depart Fergus Falls. While we begin our travels to our next stop in life, we ask for your continued prayers. We encourage you to stay in touch with us and say hello if you ever get out to Washington, D.C. over the next couple years. You could even join us for the National March for Life and LCMS Life Conference in January to speak up for the sanctity of life.
Our family's geography may be changing, but our status as baptized children of God is not. Whether near or far, we're able to continue to pray for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Thanks be to God that we are all counted among the saints, may we together look forward to a heavenly reunion with our Lord and Savior.
Your brother in Christ JESUS,