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…And Finally

It's hard to believe that this time next month my Pastor, friend and mentor, Dennis Harrell, will no longer be the Pastor of Hyde Park Baptist Church. Over 10 years ago our paths unexpectedly crossed and the truth is I will never be the same. I have learned so much by serving under this man of God, so much that I will lean on through my years in the ministry. There is so much that I could thank him for but I'm going to share a few with you off the top of my head:

  • I thank Pastor Dennis for letting me become the man that God was creating me to be. Pastor had the position and the influence to mold me into his image instead of God's – he never wanted to do that. As I was growing Pastor encouraged me to grow, learn and take in new experiences. Pastor often encouraged me to check out what it happening outside of our little church bubble – to learn from other leaders and churches – and in the process greatly influenced me to see bigger visions and dream bigger dreams.
  • Pastor let me make mistakes. Pastor Dennis believes in taking risks for the glory of God – he's not afraid of new things and breaking new ground. He also understood that the only way to NEVER make mistakes is to never try anything new. So we tried stuff – some of it paid off greatly, others not so much. I'm so thankful for a man of courage who knew that if we didn't try big stuff with God we were already failures.
  • Pastor trusted my knowledge and my heart. I'll never forget a very early conversation we had; as I consulted him on something that fell under my leadership he said something to the effect of, "Mike, I don't know the answer to that. The way that I look at this is that in your area you're the "expert", if I was an "expert" in music and worship I wouldn't need you". Now, I know that I wasn't an expert (and still am not one) but the point was taken and well received. He freed me up to lead.
  • Pastor took shots for me and never told me. How do I know this if he never told me? I guess I don't, but… Because there is NO WAY POSSIBLE that in 10 years of ministry with me and my edginess and with all the change that we've seen that he didn't have to defend me to people. Instead of coming to me and letting me "have it" because of the abuse he took he instead took it upon himself and saving me the anguish. Kind of reminds me of something Someone else once did for me over 2,000 years ago. :)

These are just 4 things but how HUGE are they? These four things helped shape me into the servant of the Lord I am today and for that I am so thankful. My prayer is that as I grow as a leader that I will exhibit and demonstrate these excellent traits to raise up Godly men and women for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Thank you Preacher – you may be retiring as the pastor of Hyde Park but you will always be my pastor.

(By the way, this weekend marks the 1st of Preacher's final 3 weeks – He will share his final series with us, "…and Finally" as he talks about hyde park, our next pastor, our role as the church and our exciting future – I'm sure there will be some reminiscing about where we've been as well as we look towards the future)

"Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you." (2 Cor 13:11)

2 Comments on "…And Finally"

  1. Deb C says:

    This post brought tears to my eyes. Preacher Dennis is the ONLY Pastor I’ve ever had. He will remain the most precious minister to me all the days of my life. He has allowed Hyde Park to evolve with our culture in a positive way that brings people to Jesus right where they are. I would boldly say God is proud of him and so am I.
    Great post, Mike
    You and he both mean a great deal to me!

  2. mike p says:

    Thanks Deb – I believe I can speak for him when I say that we both love and miss you as well.

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