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A Grateful Transition

Over the past few months, several people have asked me how it feels to be transitioning to a new role at Creekside. My typical response is I feel grateful, encouraged, and, if I’m honest, a little tired.
As I reflect on my thirty-nine years at Creekside, I am so grateful for the role this church family has played in my walk with Christ. I was a college student wrestling with my faith, questioning whether the Church was a place you could really live out your life. Jesus used the people at Creekside to show me that not only was this possible, but that a church community was exactly the best place to do that. Creekside then went on to encourage me to pursue pastoral ministry when the very thought of it terrified me. Over the next twenty-nine years of pastoral ministry (yikes!) two things have been made clear to me: One, pastoral ministry should scare you, and two, it can also be wonderfully rewarding.

I am grateful and encouraged because I have had the privilege of a front row seat to watch Jesus at work in so many of you. I have seen Jesus change people, soften hearts, restore marriages, sustain people through dark times, bring peace in the midst of firestorms, and take people home to be with Him. Yes, like any family, every church has its crazy uncles, its opinionated cousins, and its quirky individuals. There are times of disagreement and, sadly, even separations. But the church, especially this church, has some of the absolutely finest people you will meet anywhere in the world. Serving this family, getting to see Christ at work, has been deeply rewarding and encouraging. I’ve told people over the years that Creekside has given me the longest runway possible to get my ministry plane off the ground. For your patience, kindness, and encouragement, I sincerely thank you.

We all know the past couple of years have been difficult for everyone. Please know that as I transition to an associate role here, I am very encouraged with the ways I see Creekside growing and Christ at work in us:

  • for brothers like Mike Roop and Steve Lammers and the gifts they bring to bear.
  •  for the staff and leaders we have on the elder and deacon boards and the wide variety of gifts they bring to serve the church.
  • for the amazing network of churches with whom we have genuine relationships, starting with City Church, our sister Free church in town.
  • for the financial stability God has provided: the mortgage being paid off, the pastoral residency program being fully funded, and the capital improvements we have been able to make.
  • for the successful transitions of long-term staff.

All these things are amazing blessings, and while it can be hard to see people change churches, be encouraged also that God is adding people to the Creekside family and our membership is increasing.

I want to say again how grateful I am for the elders allowing me to transition to a 75% role in the fall. This will give me more time with my extended family, the option to add a second trip to Hungary to pursue more opportunities there, as well as provide time to hopefully catch my breath a little. My retirement, God willing, is still many years off in the future. Please be excited that this is the way all of this is supposed to work, and that Jesus is doing a good thing here with us. I am excited to see how Jesus will be at work in us in the future!

Creekside, our city is filled with people asking the same question I did forty years ago: Is the church a place for people to find life and fulfillment? Let’s continue to be that kind of church for those folks when they walk into Creekside.

Grateful for you all,
Pastor Steve