Dear First Pres,

   Meagan Bergem, our Junior High Ministries Director, was recently expressing a little sadness. She said, "This time of year is always a little hard for me. I've come to love the 8th graders so much. It's hard to see them transition out of Ignite" (our Junior High ministry). But she followed that by saying, "One thing that helps is seeing the excitement of the incoming 6th graders." In a month, my son will be among those who are transitioning out of 8th grade, out of Ignite, and into high school, into Rooted (our High School ministry). His involvement with Ignite has been a wonderful blessing to him. And in a month, my youngest will be one of those 6th graders stepping into Ignite for the first time. She is super excited. So, to say it colloquially, I was feeling what Meagan was saying. It's hard to see those 8th graders transition out, but as they move on to their next great experience, there are 6th graders walking in wide-eyed and a bit anxious about "youth group," and there are 7th graders picking up the mantle of leadership. And that's the way it supposed to work.

    But our student ministry isn't the only place that's happening in our congregation. We have a handful of longtime leaders in our congregation who are transitioning out of their current roles.

Rod Kellenberger has been serving as our head usher for decades. He has been incredibly faithful, showing up on Sundays and for memorials, making sure everything is set, recruiting a team of ushers, and welcoming the people of God into worship. But Rod and Felicia have decided it's time for him to step back from these duties.

Dick, Kim and Scott Lee have been a part of FPC for something like 40 years. They have served in countless ways. Kim has been a pillar in our Children's Ministry, serving for the last several years as a Sunday School teacher. Dick is currently on Session and is a regular behind the scenes volunteer in our finance office. Scott is always ready to lend a hand. And they all serve at ArtHop. But God has called the Lees to move to Colorado this summer.

Koby Johns has been a worship band leader in our second service for the past 12 years. Week after week, he's prayerfully chosen songs that he believes will help the congregation experience the awesome grace of God; he's gathered the band and rehearsed so that they can lead with their best; and he's led us with his tapping foot and a heart for worship. But, Koby feels the Lord asking him to step back from this area of service.

Ron and Sheree Dull have been Junior High ministry leaders for 32 years. That means that they would have started volunteering when I was in Junior High. It's astounding to think about the impact they've had with the kids of this congregation as they've led in youth group, Sunday School, discipleship groups, spring break trips, retreats, summer camps, and more. But, Ron and Sheree have decided that it's time for them to step back from leadership in this ministry.

   Do you have a lump in your throat? I do. I am extraordinarily grateful for these wonderful servants of God. They exude what faithful ministry in the church is supposed to be. And I totally respect their decisions (as long as we can all agree that God isn't done with them yet). I encourage you also to express your gratitude to these fellow FPCers.

   And I encourage you to consider if you might be one of those "wide-eyed and a bit anxious" ones to step into these areas of ministry. Doing ministry in community is the best way to grow as a disciple of Jesus. Right now we have opportunities for ministry in our children's ministry (Kingdom Kids), our worship ministry, our student ministry (Ignite and Rooted), our hospitality ministry (ushers, greeters, Link Crew), and in our newly formed Go Teams (ministering to those outside the congregation). Inspired by the service of these faithful ones, will you ask God where He wants you to serve?