Over the past seven years I have had the privilege of serving and attending at Dublin Baptist in Dublin Ohio. Yesterday morning our senior pastor, Darrel Gabbard, announced he will be retiring in September.
Pastor Gabbard is one of the most sincere and loving shepherds I have known in my life, and he will be greatly missed. He has been a faithful man, and his faith has flowed from his love of Jesus – a supernatural love that only our God can create and supply.
During my deepest valleys, and as I surveyed the landscape from the highest peaks, Darrel has faithfully counseled and encouraged me. As I took ordination as a deacon I had the privilege of seeing how he served up close and personal – what a Godly example! His love for God overflowed in His love for others.
The church of our Lord Jesus needs more men like Pastor Gabbard who love the truth, and don’t compromise the message of the gospel. I know he will continue to preach and teach the word because of something he told me as he confirmed my own calling to ministry, here is a paraphrase of that quote: “You know you’re called to preach if you can’t help but share the gospel. If you can never imagine holding in the wonderful truth of the good news – it burns within you and you have to share it!”
For the members of our congregation I have posted his farewell announcement below:
Dear Church Family,
Yesterday, I announced at the end of the second service that I will be retiring from full-time pastoral ministry at the end of September of this year, 2013. I will be age 68 this month and I am convinced that I no longer have the physical and emotional stamina needed to fulfill the responsibilities I believe being the senior pastor of Dublin Baptist Church requires. To be honest, I am exhausted and I have had to face my limitations due to age and and health concerns.
I have spent much time in prayer about this decision and I truly believe this is God’s will. It has been a difficult process for me, but He has confirmed this decision with His peace.
I also believe the Lord is leading me to spend more time with my family. Brenda especially has supported me selflessly and without complaint, as I have given my all in pastoral ministry for forty five years.
I want it to be clear that I am not retiring from proclaiming God’s Word and serving the Lord. My call as a minister of the Gospel has not ceased. I hope to continue to have opportunities to preach, teach and serve, but no longer as a full-time pastor. I also want to make it clear that neither my family nor church leadership has pressured me to make this decision. It has come from the Spirit’s prompting within my heart.
It has been an incredible privilege and blessing to pastor Dublin Baptist these past 24 years. This is a great church filled with godly leaders and genuine followers of Christ who have shown Brenda and me, as well as our children, so much love and support. If I thought I was able to continue in full-time ministry, there is no other church I would rather serve than Dublin Baptist Church. Brenda and I truly love you and are grateful to you from the depths of our souls. I wish I could have spoken to each one of you personally to share this decision, but that was not possible.
The ministry of Dublin Baptist Church is not about one man. Christ is the Head of this church, not me nor any other person or group. Until He returns, I believe Christ plans for Dublin Baptist Church to have a greater impact than ever before in building the Kingdom. I am convinced that the greatest days of ministry are still ahead for this wonderful church. I believe God has already chosen His servant who will be your next senior pastor. A Pastor Search Team will be formed in the near future to begin the process of finding that man. The church Constitution and By Laws describe that process. Until a new pastor is called, we have a great ministerial staff who are deeply committed and very capable of shepherding the flock.
In the meantime, I look forward to continuing to serve as your pastor for the next four months and will do my best through God’s grace to prepare the church for this time of transition. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel in my heart for the privilege God has given me to serve as your pastor. I love you!
Yours in Christ
Pastor Darrel Gabbard