Today is my last Sunday and my last day as pastor at Antioch Bible Church. The last 7.5 years have been the best of my life. I sat down and made a rather stream-of-consciousness list of 50 things that I will miss about Antioch. More things could be added, but these are the things that have been on my mind during the last couple days.
Getting to morning prayer at 5:25 am and wondering if anyone else was going to come then being surprised and blessed by the people who come.
Watching students start their own prayer meetings and consistently meet to pray on their own.
Listening to students pray, and hearing how their vocabulary of prayer changes over time
Laying hands on students to pray for them
Hearing students pray for me
Prayer times when we surround people to send them off to college, to marriage, to missions, etc.
Trying to think of songs that everyone knows that I haven’t played in awhile for prayer meetings. The list seems so small.
Watching the awkward yet genuine attempts of students to love and welcome new visitors
Setting up chairs before Sunday service in an OCD way. (There are lines on the floor for a reason, people!)
Giving the opening pastoral prayer at each service
Being led in worship by students that I’ve seen grow and mature (Kevin Oh, David Choi, David Park, Paul Yang, David Yoon, Brian Lee, Shawn Kim, Grace Nam, the list could keep going…)
The five-minute-long extended greeting and welcoming time prior to the sermon. I’ve never been in a church with such a long and genuine greeting time. It is a blessing to experience and raises the energy up for the sermon.
The moments in sermons when it is so still and focused in the room and it feels like God is speaking to his people.
Seeing students take notes during sermons
Giving this benediction at the end of every service: “Go now in the strong name of the Godhead, three-in-one. Go in the name of God the Father, who (application from the sermon), go in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, who came, lived, died and rose again for you, who (application from the sermon). Go in the name of God the Holy Spirit, who goes with you, who (application from the sermon), who opens your eyes to see more of Christ, who opens your heart to receive his love, who opens your hands so that you can embody him to a hurting and broken world. Go in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
The excitement when we announce our mission trips or summer plans
The nervousness of students during mission interviews
How the first person to complete the workout during missions training goes to get water for everyone else
The intensive discipleship that occurs in preparation for and during mission trips
The last night of the mission trip when everyone receives their “word”
When the plan lands in America after the mission trip and everyone is on it.
When students contact me about wanting to be student leaders
Trying countless ministry experiments with the full support of student and leaders.(Remember when we had everyone bring their instruments and play during worship?!)
Driving the church van while everyone else falls asleep, especially the person next to me who is supposed to talk to me to keep me awake
“My soul / longs for / you Lord / in a / dry and / weary land” I never get tired of that song.
Hearing the basketball bouncing in the parking lot behind my house at all times of the day (especially back when it was Tony Pak vs. Peter Pak)
People stopping by my house (the parsonage) almost every day for the last six years to say hi, to get keys to the church, to work out, or to see the kids
How everyone hangs out at the church until late at night during the summer
Having everyone pack into our house for worship and fellowship
When a student (usually Jess) asks me a “quick question” that actually takes several hours to answer.
Mafia (Jenny Lee is always the mafia, Josh Hwang is always the cop, Paul Yang is always a troll. All should be eliminated as soon as possible)
When Jean Kim always pretends that I’ve caught her doing something wrong
How students always awkwardly say hi to me every single time they see me because they’re not sure of what else to say
EM feasts where we bring our own meat
Teaching students how to eat Oreos the “correct” way
Talent show on the last night of the Winter Retreat
Waiting for photographers (usually Peter) to post the pictures after big events like the Winter Retreat, summer missions, senior banquet, etc.
Watching people limp across the finish line at the end of the Amazing Race
Cheering for the KACY basketball team
Watching students minister to each other
The unthanked and unseen service of our teachers over the years
The way that Sandy takes care of everything.
Feeling slightly annoyed when people crack the Communion cups after drinking the juice
The way everyone loves Ben and Sophia
How everyone crowds around the baptismal and then cheers after each baptism
When students return from college after being away and seeing how much they’ve grown
Preparing, praying and preaching. I have loved preaching to Antioch so much.
Each and every person that God has brought into our ministry. Thanks for letting me be your pastor. The best is yet to come!