From guest blogger Pastor Keith Albert
Pastor of Missions for Family Church, formerly Pastor of Jog Road Baptist Church for 26 years
Change is Difficult
A well-meaning and well-trained greeter was the first contact my wife had as we entered the building. As she was welcomed, the realization that she was an unknown visitor took hold. After almost 30 years, she was no longer “the pastor’s wife.” My family and the Jog Road family were now guests at another church. It was going to be different. Former roles and responsibilities had ended. The month between our decision to partner with Family Church and our final service as Jog Road Baptist had allowed us to prepare for the transition, but until you lock that door for the last time and walk away you don’t realize how much the “place” has become a part of you. My wife has compared it to the flood of emotions you feel in that last walk through the empty rooms of a house where your family grew and memories were made. When you close that door for the last time, you feel you are leaving a part of yourself behind. The change has been difficult and the grief has been real.
Resiliency and Maturity
Jog Road Baptist Church is no longer a church. Some of our people went to recommended churches, most went to Family Church, but everyone went into a new building with a different pastor, a different worship team and people who did not know their names. Although in some respects I will always be their pastor… I am no longer their pastor. I have heard many thoughts and opinions as we have readjusted, but no one has said we made the wrong decision. I have appreciated the resiliency and maturity of the Jog Road family. The church has been strengthened and the Kingdom has been advanced.
A Place to Call Home
For over 26 years, Jog Road was an ideal place to raise a family. We were respected, yet not put on a pedestal. The expectations of the people were realistic and compassionate. It was a safe and secure place for our 4 children to grow up, make mistakes and be loved. I believe other families would agree. Friendships that began in our church nursery still flourish today. Our commitment to a partnership is being confirmed as one of my daughters and her husband form close relationships at Family Church and see that it is also a great place for their children to grow up.
Lose Your Life to Save Your Life
Luke 9:24 teaches, “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” I could not be more proud of a people who were willing to give away a place called Jog Road – a community that many have called home for years – to join God in building His Kingdom in a new place, with a new people, in a new church culture. I am especially grateful and have the utmost respect for those who did not plan to attend Family Church but knew it was the right decision. They stayed to celebrate God’s work through Jog Road until the very last Sunday. May their tribe increase!
The former Jog Road campus now overflows with a new people who praise and worship God in the Spanish language at Iglesia Familiar. It really is true, to save your life, you must lose it.
Coming soon: Part 4, “Revitalization Requires Change”