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Dearest Springdale Family,
  
Forty-one years is definitely a long time, but looking back it seems to have gone by so fast. Aundrea and I have spent most of our adult lives at Springdale and we have had a blessed life. I can still picture us as twenty-six year olds driving up to Springdale for the first time to be interviewed by the Search Committee. I also envision your love, support, and excitement for us as Aryn and Cole were born into our family and yours. Then I see the smiles on your faces as I try to get my grandchildren’s names into my sermons. I love you, Springdale, every one of you.
  
God’s call on my life has been for His church. Since I was nineteen years old, I have known that God has called me to serve, equip, and minister in His church. I truly love the church of Jesus with all my heart.
  
It is absolutely true that life in a church family has its good points and bad, its highs and lows, and its delights and disappointments, just like life with people everywhere does. I have thoroughly enjoyed my life as a leader in the Body of Christ. The church has some of the greatest people in the world and, yes, at times, some of the “not-so-greatest.” But that is because the true church of Jesus is to be a place where broken, sinful people can find help, hope, and life in God’s family, and family can be messy at times. We are all sinful people longing for the love, forgiveness, and life that come through Jesus. Thank you for allowing me to feel, to know, and to grow in God’s love, forgiveness, and life with you.
  
Being somewhere for so long has its positives and negatives for everyone involved. Most of you know all of my stories and sayings and can quote them before I can, and I know most of yours as well. However, I want to leave you with a few thoughts for the days ahead because they are important to me. First, as disciples of the Lord Jesus, do all that you do with excellence unto the Lord. When you finish be able to sign your name at the bottom of it and lay it at the foot of the cross. Second, on your journey with Jesus, don’t be in such a hurry to finish everything so fast, but humbly slow down, enjoy the journey, and be at peace in becoming like Jesus. (Remember, process is your friend!) We all have things in our lives that God wants to change; most of them start with an “s” end with an “n” and have a great big “I” in the middle of it. Don’t make excuses. When you know God’s will, but want to do something else realize that everything after “but” is sin. Finally, as His disciples, if we will confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We can start over new and clean each day. That is what Jesus did for us on the cross.
  
Springdale, through our years together, we have known ups and downs and successes and failures, but I can honestly say that our hearts have been for God and He has always been faithful to us and seen us through.
  
So many of you have touched and blessed my life that if I started naming people I would have to list scores, no, hundreds of your names. Please know that I love you all; I thank God for all of you; and I will continue to pray for you and serve God with you. My earnest desire is that you have been able to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and that you continue to become more like Him. Stay on the journey with Jesus all the way to the end!
  
Thank you for all the ways you have changed my life and walked through life with me! I am excited about the days ahead and what God is doing in our church. I know that Don is God’s chosen man to lead our church into the future. God is good and He has good plans for Springdale.
  
It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve with you. You are my family and have been a gift from God to my life and the life of my family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
  
I love you, church,
Jerry
  

 

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