August 5, 2017
Dear Allen Temple Family,
This letter is to inform you that I have been led of the Holy Spirit to retire as your Senior Pastor, effective January 31, 2019. While this has been a difficult decision, it is one with which I am at peace, as a result of much prayer, and in consultation with my family, and our very supportive Deacons leadership team.
Eight and a half years ago when I answered the call to serve as the Senior Pastor of this wonderful church, I made it very clear to everyone that based upon my mature age at that time, I would not be able to plan for a long tenure, but would run my leg of the race as best I could, and then hand the baton over to a younger, fresher runner. Indeed, I have repeated this message to the church at strategic points along the way.
I have tried my best to run a good race, with my “eyes fixed on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith”. Now, I am at that point where I am growing older and have increased health challenges that would impede my ongoing effectiveness as your pastor if I were to stay beyond my effective date for retirement. I don't want to diminish the ministry of this great church by hanging on beyond my time. Further, as the church draws near its 100th Anniversary and the dawn of a new era, I believe that the Lord has new vision and new leadership in store for Allen Temple.
With this notice of retirement, the church must now pursue guidance from the Holy Spirit in calling a new Senior Pastor, in accordance with the detailed process spelled out in the church constitution, Article VII, Section 1. Should the church complete the process in advance of my effective date of retirement, I am willing to move-up the date to as early as September 30, 2018, which would be in-line with my full retirement age. In whichever case, during this season of transition I will continue to carry out my role as Senior Pastor. I am committed to give of my best to this church until my last day of official service.
In conclusion, I am reminded of Paul’s farewell words to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:19-22, wherein he said, “I have served the Lord with great humility”. I have tried to do likewise, and like Paul, I will be going to my Jerusalem, to enter into my season of fasting and praying, seeking God’s direction for the next chapter of my life.
encourage you to continue the good works, ministering to the hopeless, caring for the sick and shut-in, providing food to the hungry, speaking up for those who cannot do so for themselves. My brothers and sisters, “Do not grow weary in well doing for in due season, you shall reap if you faint not” (Galatians 6:9). God is still blessing Allen Temple and as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor has entered into the human heart
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
(1 Corinthians 2:9)
J. Alfred Smith, Jr.
Pastor Smith Retirement Letter PDF