Parting Words from Pastor Ian
Dear Church Family,
I wrote my final report to the board for their meeting this past week. I’m compelled to share it with you as my final FreeMail letter. Over recent months I’ve been reading and meditating on Acts 20, which is Paul’s farewell to the elders at Ephesus, and used it as a template for my final board report. Please understand that I do not see myself as an apostle, nor am I presuming to write Scripture. If I am to identify with Paul, it is with his recognition of sin (1 Timothy 1:15) and the inner temptations of the mind (Romans 7). These too are my realities, by which I could have been disqualified from serving Christ, except for God’s amazing grace shown to me.
With affection and gratitude,
My life is an open book and you’ve watched how I’ve lived it, from the first day I came to Lethbridge nearly 20 years ago. I’ve served the Lord in submission and with tears (especially these last 3 years) in the midst of testing in various ways. You know that I have not hesitated to teach uncomfortable truths, with the desire that they be helpful to you. Both publicly and in person I’ve attempted to proclaim the gospel in all my teaching by being Christ-centered and cross-focused, based on God’s Word.
Being led by the Holy Spirit, I’m aware that my time with you has come to an end. While I have some tentative plans I do not know what the future holds, but I choose to embrace whatever joys and hardships the Spirit leads me to face. I am prepared to give up my life, should that be God’s calling. My goal is to finish the assignment that the Lord Jesus has given to me, while giving testimony to the good news of God’s grace.
I have attempted, to the best of my ability, to teach and preach everything that God has for you. You and I will never again serve Christ together in the way that we have over these years. That leaves me saddened, and a bit teary. In spite of the challenges, these have been the richest years of my life. I charge you to keep watch over your own souls, which is the basis for your leadership. As leaders of the church you lead out of the richness of your own soul. Be shepherds of the church of God, precious as it is because she is purchased with Jesus’ very own blood. I warn you that upon my departure there is potential for some among you to undermine what God has done. Be on your guard. There are some who would desire to see the church retreat into a legalistic, ultra conservative posture of irrelevance. There are others who would want to lead people towards a more open-minded and culturally acceptable posture, which may compromise the truth. I charge you to resist both by being grounded in the Word of God which is essential for all matters of faith and practice. Be on your guard against those who would draw the disciples away, and after themselves.
I commit you to God and to the word of his grace. That Word can make you what he wants you to be and give you everything you need to lead his church. I have not been motivated by material gain. You have been generous towards me and I have attempted to manage my material resources in a godly manner. I’ve tried to provide an example for all with hard work and sacrifice. I’ve been generous with all that God has given me – my time, skills, money, and relationships. I charge you likewise to be motivated by the spirit of generosity as Jesus demonstrated. It is he who said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
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