Richland church honors pastor for 15 years of servicecomment (0)
January 27, 2005
By Sondra Washington
As the Andrews family arrived in Richland in early December, Kenneth and Evelyn Andrews believed their children and grandchildren were visiting to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary.
The couple had no idea that the congregation of Richland Baptist Church, Richland, had planned a surprise pastor appreciation day to commemorate 15 years of service to the church.
“We didn’t suspect anything,” said Andrews, a bivocational pastor and United States postal service worker. “I have never felt more appreciated in my life. It was one of the highlight days of my life. It was wonderful.”
Interrupting morning worship service, deacon chairman Lamar Steed and other members of the planning committee presented the couple with a plaque, 15 red roses for each year of service to Richland and a monetary gift. Church families also created for the Andrewses a scrapbook containing cards, letters of appreciation and pictures from the 15-year period.
“A lot of the families had a page in the scrapbook,” said Andrews. “It is a real treasure.”
The church also provided a catered lunch after the service.
“We only average about 65 on a good Sunday, but about 93 people ate lunch,” said Steed. “The whole community knew about it and kept it a secret.”
According to Steed, the celebration had been planned since October, which is when churches usually hold pastor appreciation day.
“Fifteen years is as long as any pastor has ever been in that church as far as records show and the church was established in 1830,” said Steed. “To be a good pastor you have to be able to relate to your congregation because every person thinks different and you have to be able to put all those thoughts together and keep them on one accord. He can do that. That’s why he’s been there 15 years.”
Steed, who was on the pastor search committee when Andrews took the job in 1989, remembered interviewing the pastor and told the congregation that the meeting had to be cut short because his first grandchild was being born.
During the ceremony, his now 15-year-old granddaughter visually reminded the pastor of his ministry at Richland.
“It brought back a very special memory of that night of meeting with the search committee,” Andrews said. “It reminds me of how long it’s been.”
He is also very grateful for the support of his wife throughout the years. “She has been a tremendous encouragement and support for me and for our children,” Andrews said. “I am really grateful that the Lord blessed me with her.”
Andrews received a general diploma from Bethany Bible College, Dothan, in 1986. For a few months, he served as interim pastor of the school’s church in Gordon and later led Dykes Baptist Church, Louisville, for three years.
“We had been at Dykes for three years and had a good ministry but felt like the Lord was leading us to move to a new church field,” he said. “We heard that Richland was looking for a pastor. We pursued it, prayed about it and felt like that was where the Lord wanted us to go.”
Andrews looks forward to many more years at Richland.
“It’s been a good 15 years,” he said. “They have been a real joy to serve.”