Here I am with my 2 sons in 1995, the year I began working at Dallas Baptist Association.
A YouTube exercise coach I follow concludes each session by saying “We’re done, but we’re not finished!” That’s how I feel about my retirement on July 17.
I’m done, but I’m not finished. I’m done with my 25-year season serving with some incredible people on the Dallas Baptist Association staff. But those relationships aren’t finished. God willing, these coworkers will continue to be my close friends. I’m done consulting with churches about how to share Christ and serve their communities, but I’m not finished joining them in some hands-on ministry. I’m done organizing conferences and committee meetings, but I’m not finished learning more and more about how to be part of what God is doing in my city.
Twenty-five years ago, when I received a call from DBA executive director Gary Hearon asking me if I would be interested in interviewing for the director of community ministries position, I actually laughed. Why me, a single mother with no seminary training? I was the children’s minister of a small church in a low-income neighborhood in Oak Cliff. But what did I have to lose by interviewing? So, I did it. Bob Dean was a member of the Administration Committee that interviewed me. I wasn’t even nervous because I didn’t think I had a chance. I remember frankly telling them what I thought about Jesus’ mandate to serve others, and how churches often fall short. To my surprise, I was offered the job. I accepted it immediately and never looked back. It has been an incredible honor to serve alongside the churches of Dallas Baptist Association.
Serving with DBA churches has taught me about perseverance, grace, forgiveness, and kindness. I’ve watched pastors serve faithfully for years even though they don’t always get a paycheck. I’ve met Sunday School teachers so burdened for the spiritual health of their classmates that they show up for training events year after year. I’ve shared meals with women, just out of prison, who were being mentored by strong Christian women from our DBA churches. I’ve prayed with students serving as DBA interns who are now vocational ministers. I’ve watched pastors’ wives handing out food to hungry families. I’ve celebrated with proud students who’ve just graduated from English classes taught by patient volunteers from DBA churches. I’ve seen our churches reach out their hands and hearts to refugees, foster children, people who are homeless, and people trapped in addiction. I have seen God’s healing in your lives and in mine.
So, to the association staff and our DBA church leaders, I say thank you. To my husband, Roger, who has served with me and supported me for the last 15 years, thank you. Thanks to all of you for the countless expressions of Christ I have witnessed over the last 25 years. Thank you for allowing me to learn from you. Thank you for letting me walk alongside you.
I’m done, but I’m not finished.