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Bittersweet Goodbye

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by Ian Kayser

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, [4] always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, [5] because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. [6] And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:3–6 (ESV)

As most of you know, I have accepted a call to Providence Presbyterian Church in Clinton, MS to be their Senior Pastor. This means lots of goodbyes for Harper, Ruby, Julia and me. And I have to say that these goodbyes are bittersweet because we have really come to love Westminster Presbyterian Church during our short time in Greenwood. Yes, we are excited about the call that God has sent our way, but we are also very sad to leave our friends and church family. So here are just a few things that we have grown to love about our Westminster church family: 

  1. The Community - the sense of community in our church has been very sweet. Westminster is a church where people love one another and have loved one another for many years. You welcomed us into your lives and into your church family and you treated us like we are one of your own. The irony has been that I have been attempting to lead people into community for years and thought of myself as an expert in this area, yet Westminster has taught me so much about how to do community in the family of God.

  2. The Music - The music at Westminster has been a blessing to me. I feel like our music team has walked the tightrope really well. They have worked hard to honor our past while introducing the best of what is new. I came here not knowing ANY hymns - I know you find that hard to believe but that is the truth. I had previously only served in churches that only played contemporary music. The hymns have been a joy, and it has been good for me to sing what is new as well. I also love the way our music represents The Delta - it sounds like Southern Folk to me! All this to say that we are spoiled with our music at Westminster and I’m thankful for all of our musicians!

  3. The Youth Group - The session brought me here to lead a youth ministry and do a few other things as well. I hadn’t worked in youth ministry for 15 years! I didn’t think I could do youth ministry and I thought the youth group would likely reject me. I felt like the “Dad Youth Pastor” at times and felt out of place at the beginning. But after some awkwardness, I have to say that I have really enjoyed our youth group and have loved working with this group. They are great kids and I really think they all have a great future. I’ll be keeping up with them as they hit college, get married, and journey through life!

  4. The longing for more - Westminster is a church that longs for more. This can get frustrating at times, we can think that we are missing the mark, we wish we were doing more, and it can even make us angry. I think this is a good thing. There is a holy discontent in our leadership because we don’t want to be a church that settles for the status quo or just “plays church”. Though we can get frustrated with this or with that, I think this is a good sign that shows we care. May we always long for more!

  5. Richard and Annie - I have learned so much from Richard and Annie about pastoral ministry. It has been a joy to watch Richard grind as he preps a sermon week in and week out while shepherding the flock. And he does it all so well in my opinion. He loves Jesus. He loves this church. And he knows this church inside and out. Westminster, be thankful for Richard and Annie. They are a blessing to Westminster and to Greenwood! They have also become dear friends to the Kaysers and I know we will be talking shop and encouraging one another as we both lead our flocks.

  6. My sending church - I have sensed a call to be a Senior Pastor for quite a while now. And I also sensed a call to pastor a PCA church. This seemed impossible to me as I was serving at a non-denominational church in Missouri. This church took a risk on me. This church brought me into the PCA. This church helped me get ordained by having me meet with Gene Stansel every week. This church showed me not only Presbyterian beliefs but Presbyterian Practice. This church welcomed me and my family. This church gave me a place to serve and heal from a really tough season of ministry. And now this church is sending us to Clinton. I am so thankful for Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greenwood, MS. I can’t wait to see what’s next for this church and I will definitely be keeping in touch!

3 Comments

Ian, Thank you AND Harper for becoming a part of us. Even though you're leaving, in Christ you are never gone. The Warrens love you all!!
Ian, we have enjoyed you and your family from the first day we met. Thank you for your service to Westminster and for such kind words about our church. Your observations are very encouraging and remind me of how important it is to keep our church strong and to follow Jesus wherever he leads us. You will be missed!

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