preacher (merlin mccon) served at judson baptist for 32 years! and has been in the ministry for a total of 48 years! i can't even begin to imagine what an outstanding feat that is.. and like one of the speakers said tonight, 32 years at one church is an incredibly remarkable testimony to the kind of guy preacher is. its unheard of for pastors to stay anywhere near that long at any church, in fact, the average tenure right now for southern baptist preachers is something like 3-5 years at one church.. it was also said preacher baptized over 1300 people and preached roughly 3000 sermons during his time at judson.. how incredible! God certainly used him to be a tremendous impact to the community and he definitely didn't stop at anything to reach out to the hurting and the lost with the love of Christ. for that, he is to be highly regarded. he definitely made a lasting impact on my life in the first 20 years of my life that when i attended judson. it is very safe to say that without his leadership and example in my life, i would likely not be where i am today.
but, i'm not intending on writing this as a memorial of sorts for the man that is merlin mccon. he'd be the first person to tell you, "i didn't do all that much while i was here.. it was ALL God." He certainly placed him in the church for a reason and He has definitely placed on preacher's heart a burden for another area of ministry, still yet to be seen. but i know that whatever preacher ends up doing, God will certainly be at the forefront and His name will be proclaimed!
throughout the entirety (is that redundant?) of tonight, i was admiring his service, of course, but also praying that God would use me in the way He was able to use merlin. but i know merlin was so successful only because of his focus on God, not by his own efforts. his ministry and his impact can be used as an example of how to truly serve God with all you have and to show the significant ramifications that ministry can have in people's lives and in the community in which God places you. it is a charge on my life not to let myself get in the way of the ministry God has called me to and to seek His passions only.
the service started off with the reading of a verse that summed up preacher's ministry well and the verse should definitely be used by all in the ministry as a cognizant reminder of how we as God's chosen leaders are called to serve. "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away" (1 Peter 5:2-4). i intend to continually read this verse that my ministry might reflect this charge from Peter.. not to get caught up in the ministry being a job, but being a passion.. a yearning for God to work in lives.. to love those whom i love.. to lead the lost to Christ.. to be an example of Christ's love in the best way that i can in order that His name might be lifted up.