September 4, 2016
Dear Members and Friends of Bergen Park Church,
We have been with you now for 19 ½ years; a good portion of our 45 years in ministry. We love being part of this Body. We have laughed and cried together, prayed for, encouraged and challenged one another. We have dreamed big dreams together and it has been a joy and a privilege to serve the Lord with you. God has blessed us abundantly. He has met our needs many times over, whether they are physical, spiritual, financial, or other.
We have seen God honor our prayer for a new facility in which to serve Him better. That was many years coming to fruition but He built our faith every step of the way. We have welcomed new people to BPC over the years. People who have walked away from the church and their faith are finding a place to reconnect and renew their hearts. We have seen God develop our worldwide and local missions through strong teams of people and are continuing to grow in our love for the world around us. We are committed to being an intergenerational church and welcome people in different stages of life. Our growth groups are the heartbeat of the church and are taking people deeper into relationship with God and one another. We are a church who seeks God continually through His word and prayer.
It is with profound gratefulness to God and to you that Barb and I announce our retirement from Bergen Park Church with the planned date of August 20, 2017. Remaining in a ministry for over 20 years is rare. It is to God’s honor and your credit that we have been in ministry together for so long.
In 2010 with the commitment to building our new facility and the clarification of the future direction of our ministry, two things became clear to us:
- We would remain through the new facility process with an extra two years beyond to provide known leadership to this body.
- Bergen Park Church would need a new pastor sometime after those two years.
After prayer and consulting many wise leaders, the elders agreed to a non-traditional transition. Most often a pastor resigns and then goes to a new position. An interim pastor is hired and the search process begins. We believe Bergen Park Church would be better served if we begin the search a year before our retirement takes effect and, if God allows, Jim would serve with that new pastor for a period of time before formal retirement. The potential for continued health, growth and unity make this option worth the earlier announcement and working with you in the transition.
These last 19 ½ years have been years of blessing for us and Bergen Park Church. God has been so good in leading us and reaching people in this time. We know it will only continue. He is faithful to us, and as we are faithful to Him, he will reward our efforts.
In the months ahead we ask that you join with your leadership in praying for the transition team and its search for the new pastor. Let’s make the search more than a human process; let’s make it an answer to prayer.
We would also ask you to pray for us as our future is an open door through which we do not yet know what waits for us. We know we will find new paths for serving God and proclaiming his Son. We promise that when we know what’s next for us you will know also.
We trust that you are in for one of the best seasons of your lives in following Jesus. It is when we cannot predict what is next that we learn to trust Him more. He will be faithful and honored for it. Thank you for your labor of love, your steadfast hope, and your sheer, dogged endurance over these years (1 Thessalonians 1:3). You have touched our lives in so many ways and our faith has been built as we have seen you reach out to one another and to the world we live in. Let’s work together in these next months to be people of unity who love one another and who desire to pursue Jesus with joy and abandon.
With high expectations and gratitude,
Jim and Barb